The World Most Nutritious Snack: Hemp Seed energy balls with Cacao and Dates
Craving something sweet? How about something chocolaty? What about something rich and decadent? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I’ve got you covered! These cacao and hemp seed energy balls contain just five ingredients, can be made in less than 15 minutes, and will satisfy any sweet and chocolaty craving without undermining your health. In fact, they are loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, and wholesome energy. Enjoy them as a healthy dessert, quick snack while hiking, or pop a few for some clean pre-workout energy.
Hemp is one of natures finest superfoods. I am not talking about the stuff that gets you high. I am talking about the hemp seed that is available in any good health food store; the tiny, nutty, seed that has the perfect balance of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fats; the delicious little gem that is jam packed with antioxidants and other nutrients; the complete protein filled treasure trove of goodness.
Raw Cacao: chock-full of antioxidants, healthy fats, protein, polyphenols, minerals and vitamins, cocoa brings yet another incredible line up of super-food nutrition to these protein balls. The theobromine in cacao helps to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles and dilate the blood vessels. Chemicals naturally present also encourage serotonin and other neurotransmitters that help inspire a good-mood and relieve depression. Cacao (which is the raw form of cocoa) contains various components like alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health.
Almonds: with an impressive line of up minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, almonds also come as a desirable addition to this medley of super-foods. They have a pleasant, nutty sweetness that works well here. I use freshly ground almonds, which helps to retain their awesome nutritional profile, whilst helping to hold all of the ingredients together.
Sun-dried Dates: make the perfect sweetener, providing an infinitely better alternative to regular refined sugar. They are also jam-packed full of beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also act as an fantastic binder in this recipe.
- 1 cup (tightly packed sun-dried) medjool dates, pits removed (even if you buy them pitted, check them for pits before using)
- ½ cup cacao powder (you can sub cocoa powder, but cacao is healthier)
- 5 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp warm water
- About ⅓ cup of hulled hemp seeds and ¾ cup ground almonds
- Add the dates and almonds to a food processor and pulse until a ball forms.
- Add the cacao powder, vanilla, salt, and warm water. Blend until smooth (less than a minute). A soft paste should form. If it’s too dry, add a little more water. If it’s too wet and sticky, add a little more cacao powder.
- Scoop out one tbsp of the date batter, roll it into a ball, then roll it in hemp seeds. Do this until all the batter is gone.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate and enjoy over the next few days.