Friday, September 19, 2014

Vegan MoFo 2014 Day 19: Oh Balls!

Scroll down for video, and recipe.

If you look on the internet, it seems like there's billions of recipes for vegan raw (and almost raw) energy balls. Snow balls. Bliss balls. Budda Balls. Yoga Balls. Whatever ya call 'em, they're of the same family. I have some recipes that are a little more complex which I use for people who guest here, but for my own preferences, I'm a simple gal. After the basics of organic nuts, dates, organic unsweetened flaked coconut and cocoa powder, it's free-for-all and ends up as a "what do I have in the pantry" party in my food processor. You can add cacao nibs, seeds of choice, Matcha green tea powder, vegan protein powder of choice (especially nice for people who workout if you want to amp up the protein a bit more), peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, or anything else you think might work. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, I don't typically omit that tiny bit of oil, coconut oil is a wonder food (in my opinion). Sea salt is optional, but I never use that in any of the energy ball recipes I make. Ever. Simply unnecessary.

If you're looking to keep the fat content lower, you can choose organic powdered peanut butter (here I use Just Great Stuff organic), which is just like PB2, but organic. If cocoa isn't your thing, try carob. If carob isn't your thing, make them vanilla…. no cocoa at all. Switch up the nuts (walnuts? hazelnuts? almonds?) If you're allergic to nuts, how about substituting seeds instead of nuts as the base (mmmm., pumpkin seeds and tahini sounds great about now!) Also, if you run low on dates, raisins will work as a substitute just fine, probably a few other dried fruits would be nice mix ins…. cranberries come to mind. I tried to make versions of these commercially available down here in the Keys under my own label, but it's cost prohibitive for me to do so, even buying the materials wholesale. Organic nuts are a pricey item, but they are NOT a luxury in my opinion. Pecans (conventional) are one of the most heavily sprayed crops around, ugh. You can find energy balls in almost every health food store, and yes I do buy them pre-made from time to time. I don't always have time to make every single thing around here from scratch, so I'll reach for the pre made ones in a pinch. Mostly, if I just plan ahead, I can have a stash in my freezer all year round, they freeze so well (up to a month or more) and certainly keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. They won't last that long, trust me.

This is a short video. Drag out your food processor and get going.

Recipe (my variations)

1 cup organic pecans
2 cups dates (unpitted!)
1 cup organic unsweetened dried coconut flakes
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
1/4-1/3 cup raw organic cocoa powder or carob powder (raw, if you want them  "officially" raw)
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract or some scraped organic vanilla bean (optional, but nice)--try other extracts to if you'd like
sea salt (optional, I never use)
optional spice to try: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg (not all of them, just 1, if any)

Optional mix ins: tahini, powdered peanut butter, cacao nibs, vegan protein powder, Spirulina, super greens powder, Matcha green tea powder, chia, flax, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds… you are getting the drift….)

Place all ingredients into food processor (except water). Pulse or run the processor for just a moment, it will crumble very fast, add water to get the mix to bind… start with 1 tablespoon, and add more 1 tablespoon at a time, I find I usually eyeball this at about 3-4 tablespoons. Don't overdo the water, just enough to make the hold together. Form into balls, roll into topping of choice (coconut, cocoa powder, seeds, blah blah). Eat or hold in fridge til ready. These freeze nicely.

Mad vegan love til next time.


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