Easy vegan chocolate pumpkin protein balls that are grain-free (made w/ coconut flour), gluten-free, no-bake, Paleo & only 45 calories each!
Healthy Protein Chocolate Treats
The season of candy is upon us, with bowls of wrapped treats placed on every vacant surface at work, the dry cleaners, school, and even the gym (yes, the gym–sheesh, no fair!). What’s a chocolate lover to do?
I suggest fighting the sugar onslaught (for me, kit-kats and skittles) with my protein-packed, chocolate-rich, delectable energy balls, which curb the urge to eat heaps of candy by keeping you satisfied and happy throughout the day, as well as energized to conquer your to-do list.
They even have a dose of vegetables. Take that, kit-kats!
I know you’ve seen a lot of energy ball recipes. But this one is a little bit different.
Ingredients for Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Balls
Google “energy balls,” and the overwhelming majority of recipes include the following: (1) Oats, (2) Nut butter, and (3) Sugar or syrup,
That’s fine, and I’ll be the first one to say that I love a peanut butter-oat-honey energy ball. Nevertheless, it’s fun to use some of the other ingredients in the pantry to create a tasty, nutritious treat.
For example, the coconut flour that’s sitting on the shelf, waiting for a new use. Or the pepitas in the freezer. And how about unsweetened cocoa powder? It’s great for so many recipes beyond brownies.
Here is a complete list of the ingredients you will need to make these lovelies:
Further, I added a hefty dose of protein. I used a plant-based chocolate protein powder, but vanilla will work beautifully, too (you may want to add an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder, depending on how strong you like your chocolate). You can use any protein powder you have on hand, or prefer.
Because protein powders vary significantly, I’ve given a range of for the amount of coconut flour you’ll need. You begin by blending all of the other ingredients, and then a little bit of coconut flour at a time until you have a roll-able “dough.”
If you add too much, flour, fear not! Nothing scary here. Simply add a touch more pumpkin, or a splash of milk to the mix. It’s almost impossible to go wrong!
You can roll the balls in chopped pepitas, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, coconut, or whetever you like. If you are no-frills, anti-crumbs kind of eater, keep them plain; they are great without any adornment whatsoever.
In a food processor, process the pepitas until finely chopped. Add the pumpkin and dates. Process until mixture is a smooth, thick puree.
Add the protein powder and cocoa powder to the food processor; process, using ON/OFF pulses, until mixture is blended.
Add the coconut flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until mixture comes together into a cohesive dough (the amount of coconut flour will vary slightly according the type of protein powder used). If the mixture becomes too dry, add a bit more pumpkin puree.
Roll the mixture into 20 balls. Roll balls in optional coatings, if desired, or leave uncoated.
Hi Camilla! Thanks again for the abundance of great recipes. Your site has helped me to go grain freefor which my digestion and taste buds are grateful. In this recipe you are using chocolate or vanilla " protein powder ". Do you mind explaining what that is?
Monday 1st of March 2021
Hi Seweryn! Protein powders are powdered forms of protein that come from plants (soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). The powders may include other ingredients such as added sweetener, flavorings, vitamins, and minerals. The amount of protein per scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. They used to be used by body builders when they first came out , but now they are widely used and available by a broad range of people. You can find it in most large grocery stores here in the US (in the health food section), or in natural foods stores, or online. I used plant-based protein powder for the vegan chocolate pumpkin balls. Hope that helps!
Thursday 8th of October 2020
I have made these so many times now! They’re my go to for snack balls😋 I am so thankful for your recipes. Many of them are staples in my diet.
Friday 23rd of October 2020
You made my day, Katrina, thank you!
Sunday 29th of October 2017
These are delicious! What do you think about storage options? Thank you for sharing!!!
Tuesday 31st of October 2017
Sorry Cathy, I spaced on adding the storage! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months (wrapped tightly/airtight container). Now that it is cooler, you could probably keep them out on counter for a day if your house is on the cool/cold side :)
Tuesday 24th of October 2017
This seriously marries almost all of the things I love in life, in one recipe!
Wednesday 25th of October 2017
Yay! We have great taste :) Let me know if you give them a try!