By: Soha Darwish

Food writer & Critics – Menu Consultant – Diploma in Food Journalism – London, UK

I am sure you’ve come across those delicious healthy treats, which are miraculously gluten free and dairy-free. Most recipes for these bites are also vegan, as long as they don’t include bee honey, which is essential for taste purposes as well as for boosting the nutritional value of some recipes. They will certainly seal the deal for you; a perfect end to your healthy meal, without throwing away all the good work that you’ve been doing to your body.

These treats are incredibly packed with proteins, fibres and essential fats – no wonder they are called energy balls – I want to say energy bullets as the energy surge they provide our bodies is incomparable to their small size. Nevertheless, you should always be conscious of the quantity you consume. Even though no sugar is added, they still have a significant number of calories. We are relying here on the natural sweetness of the components, which is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet cravings.

They are also perfect for snacking; one or two balls along with a cup of coffee or tea will do the trick. Also, a perfect companion for gym addicts before and after working out. If you are having them as a pre-workout snack then allow 1-2 hours before you start exercising, it will boost your energy setting up for a successful gym session. As for post workout snacking, they will effectively repair muscle tissues and replenish glycogen stores.

Luckily, they are so easy to make, store and are done in batches.  The varieties for these divine treats are infinite, I am suggesting 4 recipes here, and will then leave you to unleash both your imagination and cravings!

Chocolate Lovers:

A vegan delight for chocolate lovers, delivering bittersweet notes of cocoa and dates. Just what you need to soothe your chocolate desires and even sometimes to reassure you that things will eventually get better.

Shopping Basket:

½ cup cashews – ½ cup almonds (peeled) – ¼ cup dark cocoa (sugar-free) – 1 cup mejdool dates – ½ cup of oat bran – ½ tsp vanilla extract – 3 tbsp nut milk or water – pinch of salt.

Steps:

 

  1. After soaking or roasting depending on the recipe, throw all ingredients in a good food processor until reaching a smooth paste.
  1. Wet your hands, and form small balls about 1 inch each, then lay them on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  1. Freeze the balls for about 2 hours then store them in plastic bags in the fridge. They can last for weeks.

The Exotic One:

Trying to capture here some exotic flavours that will take you right back to those sunny relaxing days of your island getaways, on a gloomy winter day. The recipe is still the same, leaving all the magic to the food processor, but first soak the mangoes in warm water for about 10 minutes.

Shopping Basket:

1 cup roasted cashews– 1 cup dried mangoes – ¼ shredded coconuts–  ½ cup cashew or almond butter (unsweetened) – ½ cup flaxseeds – ½ cup oats – 3 tbsp coconut milk or cream.

Apple Pie:

In this recipe we are trying to replicate a dessert favourite. Again, dried apples need to be soaked in warm water before blending. The cinnamon here is not only a delicious ingredient but also has a great impact on our health.

Shopping Basket:

½ cup walnuts – ½ cup roasted almonds –

1 cup dried apples –  ½ cup almond butter (unsweetened) – ½ cup oats – ½ cup mejdool dates – ½ tsp. cinnamon powder – 2tbspwater.

Nutty Night:

For all peanut butter lovers out there, when all you just want is to have it smeared on your toast before ending a long hectic day, this recipe is just what you need. Honey here complements the ingredients perfectly well, yet for strict vegans, it can be substituted by maple syrup. But I have to say honey is the clear winner here!

Shopping Basket:

½ cup almonds (peeled) – ½ cup peanut butter (sugar-free) – ¼ cup honey –

1 cup oatmeal – 1 tbsp chia seeds.