Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)


These little gems have been a lifesaver for me during this time that I like to call “nursing boot camp.” SONY DSC

Thanks to my new sleep schedule, or lack thereof, I am up in the wee hours of the night nursing our little guy on demand–> which leaves me with a huge appetite!

And only one hand to feed myself.

These bite-sized treats are just what I need to power through these all-night sessions, giving me a burst of energy with a healthy dose of fat, fiber and carbohydrates. You can use any nut or seed combination you like in this type of snack, but I chose walnuts because of their high omega-3 fatty acid content, as well as their antioxidant and phytosterol content, which have been linked to a reduction in breast cancer. Paired with fiber-rich dates, which are thought to bring relief from constipation, heart problems, anemia and intestinal disorders, these treats are something I don’t mind eating after midnight! (Or at any other time of the day.)

I hope they prove to be helpful when you need a quick snack, too!

Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups walnuts, or other nut/seed of choice
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups soft Medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed.Mix

 

Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer to set for at least an hour before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. (I prefer them frozen, myself!)

SONY DSCFor a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling!

4.7 from 17 reviews
Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
A quick and easy treat, perfect for snacking!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups walnuts, or other nut/seed of choice
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, process the walnuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform batter is formed.
  2. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons, then roll between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer to set for at least an hour before serving. Store the balls in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. (I prefer them frozen, myself!)
  3. For a gourmet-looking truffle, you could also roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling!

Substitution Notes:

  • This recipe is easily adaptable, so feel free to use any other combination of nuts and dried fruits that you like. The combinations are endless!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite go-to snack for energy?

Comments

  1. Penny says

    Hi, Megan!
    It sounds like you are embracing and loving being a new mommy, and I’m so happy for you! My toddlers are 3 and 1 now, but I vividly remember those early days! When my son was new, I ate chocolate chip granola bars during those late night/early morning nursing sessions, but these would have been so much healthier. With my daughter, I discovered co sleeping and dozing while nursing and I’m pretty sure that it saved my life LOL
    Sniff that baby head a ton for me, please! I still can’t believe how fast it flew by. Now I have to sniff friends’ babies. I hope that you are having a wonderful baby moon!
    I’m looking forward to making these one day when I have a food processor :)

  2. Bri says

    Yum yum these look delicious, thanks for sharing. Congrats on your new baby, definetley need to keep your energy up feeding all day and night! I’m still feeding my 5 month old so these will be great little snacks to nibble on as well. I love your blog I’ve been making the vanillacado and chococado shakes all the time and my favourite meal is vegetable masala. Keep up the great work!

  3. Cynthia says

    I just found your blog last week and adore your recipes! Congratulations on the birth of your first child…I nursed both of my boys for a year each and it is an incredible bonding experience…with that being said, you are so smart to start planning ahead for those times when hunger strikes. I ate like a linebacker when I was nursing and was tinier than ever after my kids..you burn so many calories while breastfeeding it is truly incredible. All the best to you and your family and keep these delicious recipes coming :)))

  4. Sarah says

    Hi! If I’m using “California” dates rather than Medjool, should I soak them first? Looking around quickly online I couldn’t find any good comparisons of the two types of dates. Of course I’m just going to use what I have on hand…and maybe dunk them for a while first. Thanks and I love your website! :)

  5. says

    Oh I can’t wait to try these! Love that they have no added sugar. I am a big fan of using dates. I will definitely try them with walnuts. Thank you for sharing. I know this must be a busy time for you! Enjoy every second!

  6. Abbi*tarian says

    I love all of these ingredients! Thank you for sharing this; it’s very impressive how you are keeping your blog so active while being so busy!

  7. Crystal says

    A mama friend of mine made me something very similar during my second enlistment of nursing boot camp and they were a life saver for those first few weeks of all night feedings!

  8. says

    I make these using figs, and truly, they’re so amazing to have around, right? I love your approach to eating and I’m so happy for you and your new little one!:) Great recipe and thanks for the update on how you’re doing!

  9. Sherie says

    I didn’t like the sound of these at first but just made half a batch and they are delicious!!! I’m always looking for quick, healthy snacks and can count on your to provide great recipes! Thank you1

  10. JC says

    Hi Megan,
    I saw on one of your other posts that you have a favorite Vitamix blender…But when I clicked on the link it wouldn’t work…can you repost it? It is definitely on my with list but there are so many options I don’t know what to choose…thanks for you input and your receipts are awesome (especially since I can’t have gluten, dairy, refined sugars, and limited corn and potatoes) your website has given me so many more options! Thank you and congrats on your little boy :)

  11. Gina says

    Hi Megan,

    Congrats to you and your family on the birth of your lil one! I have a 2 1/2 yo and they sure do grow fast! I BF for 18months and I’m so glad I stuck with it! I love your blog and can’t believe you are blogging still! Enjoy every moment! One question I have is how do you come up with the shelf life of these or any of the recipes you make? I never understood that. I am going to make these for sure! I am planning on making your eggplant lasg. later for the second time. I love it, but the first time I made it I left the skin on and think I will make it w/o this time. Thanks again for your recipes and time you put into this site!

    Gina : )

  12. Tina says

    I made these without the coconut oil and they are super oily with oil dripping everywhere. Am I doing something wrong? Should I add more walnuts? They are very delicious though.

  13. says

    holy crap these are tasty! to sweet! totally quality controlled 2 of them before putting them in the freezer…hope i can keep away to see what they’re like in an hour! ūüėČ

    so fast to roll up (used my melon baller/mini ice cream scoop to assist in this process). might make up fancy like you suggested if i take them to a carry in sometime.

  14. says

    Great recipe! I added zest from one orange just because I love orange zest and think it fits into every sweet recipe! :) I would cut down on the oil a bit next time though. My hands were dripping coconut oil as I created the balls. They are delicious nonetheless! Thanks!

  15. says

    I just made these for my son who is body building..WOW ARE THEY GOOD!
    I used half pecans and 1/2 raw almonds and course sea salt. ..so every once in a bite or so you get a little sweet salty thing going on.I may never eat candy or dessert ever again. Thanks for sharing

  16. says

    and I’m going to try the same combo but maybe substitute organic peanut butter for coconut oil or do you think i can still add a Tb of coconut oil in addition?

  17. Leeann says

    This is such an excellent recipe that can be easily adapted I reduced the amount of dates to one cup – too much natural sugar and substituted with chestnuts (I get them in jars), which are an excellent source of vitamin c and other vitamins. With the cup of seeds, pumpkin, sunflower and chia are great. They still have a sweetness but not too sweet.

  18. Nadia says

    Hi, I tried making your recipe but the mixture is not binding it’s very loose so I can’t form the balls. Any suggestions?

    • Megan says

      I’d just try adding another date or two, or maybe just a couple tablespoons of water to make the mixture more moist.

    • Megan says

      Thanks for letting me know! I just recently used a batch program to compress all of the images on my site, and it looks like the program mixed up a few of my photos along the way… but the page has been updated now!

  19. says

    These are simply amaze-balls! A friend of mine introduced me to these and I found your recipe online yesterday, and made them last night. I was never a coconut fan when i was younger, but now, being an aspiring health nut, I love it. Your recipe is super easy to use. My wife absolutely loves these as well.

    Thank you!

  20. Lizzy says

    how would one adjust the recipe if they wanted to add bananas? and also, how to adjust if adding almond or cashew butter?

    Thanks!

    • Megan says

      Hmm, I’m not sure about the bananas. Let us know if you give it a shot! In regards to nut butters, I find that a good general rule is that 1 cup of nuts = 1/2 cup nut butter.

  21. says

    Hey! I love your recipes and I made this one we love and now can’t find it on your site! It was salted caramel dip made from dates. Do you recall this? How can I find it! You dip apples with it! Thanks!

  22. Anna says

    Thank you for sharing this absolutely amazing recipe. I loved it – it was easy to make and so incredibly tasty. I like them frozen too. I shared them with a few friends and they were complementing me non-stop.

  23. Jenna says

    These look so good. I was recently introduced to Larabars and this seems somewhat similar. As I had never really had dates before, I did a little research. I read that they are high in calories and carbs. Would you recommend using them in cooking when specifically making foods specifically for energy/working out?

  24. Stephanie Veljanovska says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I currently have a newborn and toddler and with so much breastfeeding I am feeling hungry a lot more. These are my saviour rather than reaching for something naughty. So yummy!!

  25. says

    I hate dates…like umm…ugh, can’t stand sight, texture or smell. BUT I am expecting a baby any day now and know the importance of compact energy sources so I ventured into making these. They are like crack! OMG…too good for words. I don’t even know what else to say but thank you, thank you, thank you!

  26. Skyler says

    These are amazing!! I cut the recipe in half because i didn’t need 2 dozen and the only recommendation i would make is to just use a little less than 1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt. Other than that these are great!!

  27. Katie says

    For my taste, this is the best healthy ball recipe I’ve found online.
    Delicious as is or add a tablespoon of your fav protein powder or cocoa nibs.
    A really good recipe to start with & make your own.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Mel says

    These are SO delicious! I didn’t use walnuts (I don’t like walnuts) I used cashews in their place but damn! I’m going to making these again for xmas!

  29. Kelly says

    Delicious, yum and thank you! I’m avoiding all sweaters, natural and otherwise for awhile but need a healthy sweet treat once in awhile. These are excellent. I love your recipes and am sharing your website with friends.

  30. Ellie says

    Thanks for this great recipe but you don’t need a food processor. I put nuts/seeds in a plastic snap bag and bashed them with a rolling pin and roughly chopped the dates/berries with a sharp knife, I added Goji berries and a handful of chia seeds. Perfect for people on the go!!

  31. Dalena says

    Thank you for the base recipe! I used the left-over crumbs in a cashew/almond cluster bag, added pepitas, walnuts, and almond meal until I had the 2 cups. I threw in some cinnamon and grated nutmeg. Tastes great!

  32. Robyn says

    I’ve made these twice now and I never get a “sticky” batter or 24 balls! What am I doing wrong? They taste great tho :) Just super hard to form into balls and I never get more than 18

    • Megan Gilmore says

      It sounds like maybe your dates aren’t soft enough. Try soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes before processing them to see if that helps! And I do make the balls pretty small, using my trusty cookie scooper, but I always eat at least two of them at a time, too! :)

  33. Tania says

    Thanks to this wonderful recipe, my 7-year old finally ate walnuts! He has some sensory issues with food so I processed for a lot longer until everything was really smooth. It’s already a favorite of his. Thank you so much!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] don’t appreciate a good, portable, high energy snack. A friend of mine found this recipe on Detoxinista and although the name of the site made me think these would be way too green and healthy for us, […]

  2. […] Oh, dates, how I love thee…. these things are a gift from God!¬†¬† In all actuality, they are termed the holy fruit of Arabia.¬† Seriously.¬† They are so sweet and often after dinner, when I am really experiencing my cravings, popping a couple of these does it for me.¬† Also, there are some really great recipes that include dates that are deliscious.¬† One being “date balls” which are so simple, it’s ridiculous.¬† But these beauty’s even pass for full-on dessert for my kids.¬† You can find the recipe for these through a website called Detoxinista. […]

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