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
1/2 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

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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 34 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
  • ½ 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?

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, Iโ€™m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the bodyโ€™s detox organsโ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

140 thoughts on “Date Energy Balls (Vegan, Paleo)

  1. Kelly

    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.

    Reply
  2. Ellie

    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!!

    Reply
  3. Dalena

    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!

    Reply
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  9. Robyn

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Just super hard to form into balls and I never get more than 18

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      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! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
    2. Kirstie

      I had this problem the first time too. I found that buying pitted dates just doesn’t work. I buy regular dates and “pit” them myself. Sooo much easier and makes for a stickier consistency. I’m addicted, I make them at LEAST once a month;) hope that helps!

      Reply
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  11. Tania

    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!!!!

    Reply
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  15. Cristy

    My husband and I loved these! But I had to add like 3tbs of coconut oil.I processed it for like 7minutes and it just wouldnt get to a sticky consistency.any tips?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      It sounds like your dates might have been on the drier side. Try soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes beforehand to soften them up, then drain before adding them to the food processor. That should help!

      Reply
    2. Dorothy

      Adding a very small amount of warm water to the processing helps a lot if you are using pitted dates. I made them with Tangerine Olive oil instead of coconut oil, and used raw almonds. Delicious..

      Reply
  16. sabijo

    So….I’ve been reading a lot about how we should soak or even sprout grains and nuts before using them. This has really become a bit of an obstacle to using nuts in recipes b/c after I soak them, I have to decide how to dry them off. I have tried drying them in the oven at the lowest setting, but they still have a very different texture than raw nuts. I have a whole bag of pre-soaked and dried nuts in my freezer now. I will try to just use them directly in the recipe, but I was wondering if you had experience using soaked nuts in recipes like this. Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Juliana Langley

      Put them in the oven on the lowest setting for 24 hours. I got this idea from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and it always works for me. The nuts come out crisp and better than raw!

      Reply
  17. Eleanor

    I substituted a cup of ground oatmeal for one of the cups of nuts,to give extra slow-release energy for my daughter’s snack box. And a splash of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. Yum!

    Reply
  18. Arnie

    I prefer to soak walnuts for eight hours. Only thing I wonder if I should dehydrate at 105 degrees the walnuts prior to food processor or other process? I usually use a blank in my twin gear juicer vs. food processor for a more refined creamy texture. I like combination of 1 Cup Walnuts, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup raisons and/or 1 cup of dates. HOWEVER, I prefer above recipe for better balance of ingredients. Thanks for sharing. I am thinking about making it happen for vegan bake sale benefiting local wildlife center. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  19. Afton

    This is a great recipe! I think you could cut back on the salt, probably only using about 1/2 tsp for a lower sodium version. Also, there is so much oil in the walnuts that coconut oil really isn’t necessary, so I made them without it and they are still very fatty (and delicious!). Overall very tasty, will be making them again! Great snack on-the-go.

    Reply
  20. L. Davis, Willits CA

    I’m not a vegan but was looking for a nice “sweet” treat for a boxed lunch. As a caterer we must look for ideas for our clients that may have different food orientations than us carb-evours, I found that this recipe was easy and very well liked, had a wonderful review from my client. And complemented my other vegan/vegetarian options! Will use this recipe and also share with others!

    Reply
  21. Allie D.

    These are SO GOOD! I’m off refined/added sugar of all types and was looking for something sweet. These are so amazing and delicious. You don’t need salt at all and I added a little more vanilla, but that’s just my taste. They’re very satisfying, too. It really helps sate my sweet tooth.

    Reply
  22. Stacia

    YUM! I also was looking for something healthy but sweet. These are so delicious. Almost too sweet. I will eat them in moderation. The little amount of salt is a nice addition. It gives it a sweet-salt taste.

    Reply
    1. Darline

      Were the seeds used in substitution for something listed on the recipe? Or were they in addition to what the what it lists?

      Reply
  23. Andrea

    Thank you for all your wonderful & delicious recipes – this one in particular is our favorite! My 3 year old eats up to 4 a day & I serve it as desert to all our guests along with fresh berries. Everyone who tries them asks for the recipe so I forward the link to your site everytime!

    One tip that I would offer is that I find leaving out the coconut oil to be much nicer – the shredded coconut, dates & walnuts are enough to bind it all together without it becoming so greasy when you roll them into balls.

    Thanks for your great work!

    Reply
  24. Bobbi

    These are super yummy and so easy to make! My 3 year old and 1 year old love them as well. My 1 year old loved them so much the first time I made them he cried when I wouldn’t let him eat more of them. I’ve made them with pecans and with almonds. Every time they turn out perfect. Great healthy treat to keep on hand!!!

    Reply
  25. Laura G

    These are absolutely delicious! I used table salt instead of sea salt (tho less than recommended) and found them on the verge of being too salty – won’t make that error next time! I think I may use a little less coconut oil too as my hands were super greasy after rolling them out ๐Ÿ™‚ My tip is use the most succulent dates you can find and add a small handful of cocoa nibs to the mix – they add a lovely bit of crunch!

    Reply
  26. Martin

    The key is using “Medjool dates” as the recipe specifies. They are always super soft and delicious and never need soaking. I get them at Costco!

    Reply
  27. mari

    I just made some “date energy balls” Soo delicious and filling.
    I didnt have Medjool dates in store cupboard so used ordinary no soak prunes instead with a mix of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds – delicious.
    (Medjool dates are now on my shopping list).
    Would love to know how many calories if followed your recipe?

    Reply
  28. Pam

    I did not have 2 cups of anything. So I used some pecans and some almonds. Some dates and some dried cranberries. When I mixed it the paste was a little dry. After reading other posts I added about 1-2 tbsp. Of hot water during the process. Only cause I didn’t know it was going to be dry till I started mixing. Did not use the oil only because I forgot it.
    These little balls are amazing, and so simple to make. I will definitely be making them again, and again, several times.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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