These date and coconut balls are an easy, filling, and delicious snack packed with nutrients. They’re gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and refined sugar-free. You can prep these in advance and store them in the fridge so you’ll have a nutritious snack ready to go on busy days.
These are sweet enough to satisfy a dessert craving, yet nutritious enough to eat for breakfast. They make an excellent nut-free school snack too.
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These coconut balls are made with Medjool dates. There are many different varieties of dates, Medjool being the largest and sweetest I’ve found. You can substitute other types of dates if necessary, but keep in mind that most other dates are smaller than Medjool dates, so you’ll need to add more dates to achieve the same results in this recipe. Try adding 18 dates instead of 12 if you’re using a smaller variety of date.
Rolling these balls in shredded coconut makes for such a pretty presentation. Be sure to use an unsweetened variety with no added sugar.
This recipe calls for shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are full of valuable nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. They add a nutty flavour and rich texture to these nut-free energy balls.
If the pumpkin seeds you have are salted then you can still use them, but be sure to omit the salt in the recipe in that case. You can use either raw or roasted pumpkin seeds in this recipe.
You can substitute sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, or any other type of nut instead of pumpkin seeds if you prefer. Pecans or hazelnuts would be delicious alternatives.
These energy balls get their chocolaty flavour from unsweetened cocoa powder that has been dissolved in boiling water. If you don’t have any cocoa powder you can substitute two tablespoons of melted dark chocolate instead.
How to make them
These are quick and simple to prepare. Start by spreading the unsweetened shredded coconut in an even layer on a plate, then set that aside for later.
The next step is to dissolve the cocoa powder in boiling water. Mix the cocoa powder, salt, and boiling water in a small bowl until it’s thick, smooth, and lump-free. Add that mixture to the food processor.
Next you’ll remove the pits from the Medjool dates. Even if the dates are labelled pitted, it’s still a good idea to check to make sure no pits have been overlooked. A pit or two will sometimes sneak through the pitting process and you don’t want any pits to end up in the food processor.
Add the pumpkin seeds to the food processor and process until a sticky, dough-like texture is achieved. The dough should have a chunky texture with visible pieces of pumpkin seeds throughout.
Scoop out one heaping tablespoon of dough per ball and use your hands to roll them into ball shapes. Then roll the balls in the shredded coconut to coat them. Be sure to refrigerate the balls for at least thirty minutes before serving.
Store these date and coconut balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to seven days.
More gluten-free vegan recipes to try
These stovetop candied pecans have the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavours. They’re gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free.
Or try this chocolate buckwheat cake. It’s easy to make, nutritious, filling, and so tasty.
Date and Coconut Balls
- Food processor
- 12 Medjool dates
- 1 cup shelled unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- Pinch of salt
- Spread the shredded coconut on a plate in an even layer.
- Add the boiling water, salt, and cocoa powder to a small bowl and stir to dissolve the cocoa powder, then add this mixture to a food processor.
- Remove the pits from the Medjool dates, then add them to the food processor.
- Add the pumpkin seeds to the food processor.
- Process until a sticky, dough-like texture is achieved.
- Scoop out one heaping tablespoon of the dough and use your hands to roll it into a ball shape, then roll it in the shredded coconut. Repeat with the rest of the dough (one batch makes 12 balls).
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Store these date and coconut balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to seven days.
- You can substitute sunflower seeds or any type of nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts instead of pumpkin seeds if desired.
I’m Jennifer, the author at A Sweet Alternative. I create simple, gluten-free recipes made with nutritious ingredients.