No Bake Protein Energy Balls with Chickpeas
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Want a guilt-free snack that won’t ruin your diet? You’ll love this all-natural, protein-energy ball recipe made with chickpeas, peanut butter, and oats.
Energy balls have become my new go-to snack. They are healthy, versatile and tasty. They’re also quick to make (which may be my #2 reason for making them…#1 being that the healthy part.).
I started making them as a healthy snack for my kids in school. Ideally, I’d love for my kids to be content with the fruit, carrot sticks and edamame I give them, but, let’s face it, sometimes they’re not. (In fact, about one month into pre-K, I heard, “But M’s mom gives her Goldfish and Oreos. I want those tomorrow.” Four years of healthy eating thrown out the window!)
Despite all that, my kids love the energy balls – especially the ones made with peanut butter. My husband also loves them, so I wind up making several batches at a time. Lately, these protein balls have been great for the following, especially since they are so easy to transport:
1. School lunch boxes
2. Long car trips
3. Post sports practice
4. The beach/park
5. Post gym workout
6. Anytime you need a healthy, protein-rich little pick me up
They’re perfect for kids who need healthy snacks during the day to keep up their higher energy demands and for adults who need a portion-controlled snack to fuel their metabolism and ward off sluggishness.
The first protein energy balls I made had a base of peanut butter, oats and honey. That’s it! Clean and natural. (And you can substitute any nut/seed butter (like almond/soy/sunflower butter) for the peanut butter.) I mixed it by hand, but I found it a little annoying as the sticky batter always sticks to my hands. So, I started adding it to my mini food processor instead. Much better! Although my kids like them better when I mix them by hand. 😒
Then, I read how the energy ball base could be chickpeas! Whaaat? Fiber, protein and vitamins in my energy ball snack?? A dietitian’s dream…
The chickpea energy balls have to whipped up in the food processor or blender, which is super quick. Rubbing the skins off the chickpeas took the most time, but it’s really not so bad. Doing this allows for a smoother consistency, but it’s not necessary. And, usually, I cut the sugar (in every recipe), but these definitely needed the sweetness, so I compensated with adding some chocolate chips.
There are so many varieties of energy balls, you’ll never run out of snack ideas! You can also make them with a base of chopped dates. If you like these quick, healthy energy balls, try these:
How to make these no-bake chickpea energy balls:
Drain and rinse chickpeas. Rub off skins (optional). Add to food processor along with all ingredients except for chocolate chips. Pulse until blended. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry/) Avoid overmixing; mix just until batter is sticky and stays together when you press it together with your fingers. Scoop batter into tablespoon-sized balls.
No-Bake Energy Balls with Chickpeas
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup oats (can be 1 minute or 5 minute oats)
1/2 cup All-natural smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
For a smoother consistency, rub skins off chickpeas.
Add all ingredients to a food processor except chocolate chips.
Blend until combined. Add a little water if it's too thick.
Remove mixture to a bowl, mix in chocolate chips. Refrigerate until firms slightly.
Roll into tablespoon-sized balls.
Try not to eat them all at once!
Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 ball. Makes about 15 balls.
Calories: 104 Carbohydrates: 12.7 grams Fiber: 3.4 g Fat: 5g Protein: 3.3g Sugar: 6.5 g