One BIG challenge of being a food blogger is that you are always getting invites to amazing dinners and tastings. I’m not complaining, mind you, but sometimes it’s hard to fit in healthy eating in and around the fried chicken (which I ate last night).
It means more trips around Stanley Park on my bike, and really focussing on eating healthy at home when I’m not eating out. I eat a lot of salads topped with protein, wraps that incorporate a lot of vegetables, and stir-fries. Plus, of course, I’m a huge fan of smoothies and juices, and the incredibly humble, but still really tasty, celery sticks dipped in peanut butter.
I made this last week, and they’ve been sitting in my fridge for quick grab-and-go snacks or breakfasts. They’re almost the equivalent of a granola or protein bar. There’s no added sugar, as they are made with dates, which are both sweet, and also offer a ton of fibre. There is lots of protein in here, too, in the form of nuts and peanut butter, and dried fruits to offer texture and taste. These are also packed with healthy fats. As a bonus, they are raw, vegan and gluten-free (yay! no baking–it’s starting to get hot).
This is a very loose recipe. Take the base recipe with the dates, coconut oil and coconut flour, and then add whatever you like to it in terms of dried fruits and nuts. I used almonds and dried cranberries, because that’s what I had on hand, but dried blueberries, cherries or apricots (even raisins) would be just fine. Same with the nuts. Pumpkin seeds would be a great substitute for the sunflower seeds. You can substitute any nut butter for the peanut butter.
You could also add a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, or cacao nibs for the chocoholics amongst you.
Vegan, Gluten-Free Energy Bites
- 10 dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 tbsp flax seeds
- 1/2 cup peanut (or other nut) butter
- 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
- 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit: apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries or raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped nuts: almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts
Cover the dates in warm water and allow them to soak and soften for about 15 minutes. Drain, but reserve the water. In a blender or food processor, add the dates, and chop well, drizzling in enough of the reserved date water to create a thick paste. You should be able to work with it easily, but it shouldn’t be super runny.
Turn the date paste out into a bowl, and add the peanut butter, flax seeds and coconut oil. Mix well. Now add the coconut flour, a little at a time, until you get the desired consistency. You may not need the entire 1/2 cup, or you may need a little extra. The final consistency should still be wet, but not so wet that it sticks like crazy to your hands. You should be able to easily pick up a blob and roll it into a ball without it leaving lots of dough on your hands. The ball should also be wet enough to stick together, though.
Once you have the desired consistency, add in your extras, and mix well. Scoop the dough and roll it into balls, and then place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, until they are firm.
Transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge.