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, most times they’re not. (In fact, it only took one month into pre-K to hear, “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…
Whipping these energy balls up in the food processor speeds things up a lot, but increases your dishes. 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.
(Update: I no longer rub off the skins and I don't notice the difference at all.)
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:
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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
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