Loaded with almond butter, dates and cocoa powder, these nutritious almond butter balls are a quick pick me up, and make a nice addition to a healthy protein packed breakfast. The no bake Paleo bites (with Whole30 adjustments) are super easy to make and have a lovely sweet taste but have no added sugar.
I love making bite sized snacks. Sometimes, I find that all I need when I feel peckish is just a small amount of something that is sweet. But even a little bit of sugar makes my joints hurt, so I rely on energy bites made with medjool dates and some form of nut butter to give me the little ball sized snack that I am looking for.
No bake treats are some of my favorites. They come together in just minutes and keep the heat out of the kitchen. See my recipe for no bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies for another sweet treat that is gluten free and vegan.
Normally, I use sunflower nut butter. This creamy spread has the flavor most like peanut butter and is good for those with a tree nut allergy. (See my Sunflower nut butter energy bites here.) For today’s energy bites recipe, I chose to go this almond butter instead. It has a more savory taste than the sunflower nut butter does and that is what I am going for today.
Almond butter vs Peanut Butter
One of the questions I am often asked is “Is almond butter better than peanut butter?” It does appear that using almond butter has significant advantages over peanut butter.
One tablespoon of almond nut butter has 100 calories, with 9 grams of fat, (only 1 gram saturated fat) no cholesterol or sodium and only 3.4 grams of protein. So, in terms of protein, fat, and calories, both butters are about the same. The difference between the two butters comes in the micro nutrients.
Almond butter is lower in sugar than peanut butter and has no hydrogenated oil. It’s also a good source of fiber and heart healthy fats and has more iron, Vitamin E and magnesium than peanut butter. Since it also helps to control inflammation for me, almond butter is the one that I often choose to make energy bites recipes.
I like the gritty texture of almond butter in a rolled ball. It adds a bit more fiber and crunch to the finished bite. Some of the other nut butters have a more smooth texture.
These almond butter energy balls are super easy to make
As always, our little bites of heaven are all natural with no flour or refined sugar. They are made with just a handful of ingredients that you probably have on hand already!
I love what goes into these energy bites. Each ingredient adds something special to the taste. Almond butter, cashews, dates and cocoa powder (use 100% cacao for Whole30) form the base of these delicious balls of goodness. Sea salt, vanilla (omit for Whole30), coconut butter and coconut milk rounds out the flavor.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that it is no bake. That means no heating up your kitchen. The entire process takes just a few ingredients and minutes from start to finish and then you can relax while they set in the fridge or freezer. This makes this easy Paleo recipe the perfect choice when you know that friends are coming over in a short while.
All you need is 15 minutes and these tasty almond butter energy bites are done. Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. You won’t be baking the bars, but the baking sheet gives you a nice area to work on.
Place the dates and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture starts to get a thick coarse meal texture. These are the two main textures. The dates help the mixture bond and the cashews give the raw energy bites a crunchy texture.
Add the almond butter, almond milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt to the food processor and process until the mixture just starts to clump together. Be very careful not to over-process the mixture, or the finished almond butter bites will become oily. Look at that deep chocolate color!
Take 1 tablespoon sized pieces of the batter and roll it out in to balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Once the balls are all finished, place the baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer for 30-60 minutes or until they are firm.
Heat the coconut butter in the microwave and place it into an icing bag and drizzle over the cooled energy bites. Coconut butter has a lovely sweet taste and make the bites taste more like truffles. Allow the balls to cool and then transfer them to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. These bites also freeze well.
Repeat after me – truffle like energy bites…right? I cannot wait to try one. But into the fridge for a few minutes to set. Tapping fingers impatiently…
Tasting these almond butter balls
Honestly, there is so much flavor packed into one seriously chocolaty, deliciously fudgy, cashew infused bite that I could go on and on about them, but it really is time to taste one!
I love the crunchy, sweet taste of these delicious healthy energy bites. The medjool dates give a nice touch of sweetness and the coconut butter adds another sweet drizzle over the top of the bars that seems as though you are eating a truffle. Granted, it’s a no sugar truffle, but these things make a difference when you are trying to follow a healthy eating plan! You will be amazed at the sweet taste that dates can give to a recipe!
One thing I like most about these date energy bites is that the recipe is very flexible. I chose cashews since I had them on hand, but any nut variety that you have in the pantry will work. To make sure that the bites stay Paleo and Whole30, don’t use peanuts.
The type of nut butter is also interchangeable. You can use any nut butter or seed butter in the recipe. You can mix and match or pair them nut butter to the nut that you choose. In addition to coconut milk, cashew milk and almond milk will also work.
I like to add one of these homemade energy bites to a plate of sliced orange segments for a sweet and tangy dessert or snack. The combination is really nice!
My husband is a big fan of energy bites. Now all I have to do is get the bowl away from him! He saw them and said “they are mine!”
Calories in energy bites
These bites of goodness are not what I would call low calorie. But the calories come from good for you ingredients and one of these bites is very rich, so you won’t over eat on them.
The recipe makes 24 energy bites, each with 164 calories. The balls are high in fiber and have no cholesterol. This recipe is Paleo and Whole30 compliant (with the adjustments shown on the recipe care) and is also gluten free and fits a raw diet.
A note on Whole30
The official rules of the Whole30 plan state that followers should not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. However, they allow Lara Bars as part of the program. I will leave it to you to decide whether these energy bites, with the adjustments for Whole30 are strictly compliant. I believe they are as long as you don’t use them willy nilly as a snack which defeats the purpose of the program. Generally I use them as a part of a meal rather than between meals.
If you love no bake energy bites as much as I do, try one of these easy recipes:
- Pumpkin Nut Butter Energy Bites
- Lemon coconut energy bites
- Blueberry energy bites
- Cashew coconut energy bites
- Sweet Potato Energy Balls
- 2 cups pitted medjool dates
- 1 cup cashews
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Use 100% cacao for Whole30)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (omit for Whole30)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Coconut butter for drizzling
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the dates and cashews in the container of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the almond butter, coconut milk, cocoa powder, (100% cacao powder for Whole30) vanilla (Omit for Whole30) and sea salt to the food processor and process until the mixture just starts to clump together. Be careful not to over process the mixture, or the bites will become oily.
- Roll out 1 tablespoon size portions of the mixture into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer for 30-60 minutes or until they are firm.
- Heat the coconut butter in the microwave and place it into an icing bag and drizzle over the cooled energy bites.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. These bites also freeze well.