Hey guys! I originally posted this recipe back in 2018 and I thought this would be the perfect time to reshare it! Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, what better way to love yourself and others than by making a batch of Cacao Energy Balls?
Speaking of self-love, have you hopped on the superfood bandwagon? I thought I had…I mean I’ve been adding in kale and spinach to my recipes, enjoying various berries as they come into season, etc. But then I found a superfood that I’d completely neglected…cacao! I don’t know how it fell off my radar, but once it got my attention I couldn’t let go of it! Y’all, if you don’t know about cacao, it’s time to embrace this wonderful food gem.
What is Cacao?
Cacao is considered to be a more pure and raw version of chocolate because it’s not as processed as its food relatives–cocoa powder and chocolate bars. It originates from the cacao fruit tree, which produces cacao pods. The pods contain cacao beans (which are a high source of fiber, nutrients, and fats without the added sugar). These beans are used to produce cacao butter, nibs, paste, and powder.
Why is Cacao a Superfood?
Cacao earns the superfood distinction because it contains a tremendous amount of antioxidants (hello anti-aging), as well as iron and calcium. It has been regarded as the highest source of magnesium (good for bone strength) of all foods too! Cacao contains chemicals such as phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide which help us feel excited and alert. It’s a great source of flavonoids, which are great for cardiovascular health; and theobromine, which is similar to caffeine in that it boosts mood and energy.
My Cacao Energy Balls
This leads me to these no-bake cacao energy balls. I have been a long time fan of homemade energy balls for several reasons. First, having a ready-made snack makes it easier for me to eat healthy food and stick to my wellness goals. If I have to search too long for a snack, the likelihood of eating an unhealthy snack increases tremendously. Second, I like to know what I’m eating. That means I can control what’s in my food when I make my own snacks. Third, these energy balls don’t have any added sugar. I wish I’d had them during my 7 Day Sugar Detox! But now that I do have them, I can eat them in lieu of my after lunch chocolate treat.
Besides cacao, these energy balls contain 3 powerhouse ingredients: oatmeal, dates, and cashews.
I adore oats and I eat some every day in some way, shape, or form. Oats are a favorite of mine because they are a fabulous source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Plus, they are known to help with weight loss and decreasing cholesterol.
The other powerhouse ingredient in these energy balls is dates. The dates are what provide the sweetness (naturally occurring, not added). They have many vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Dates help reduce cholesterol, improve weight loss, promote skin elasticity, and improve digestion.
The third powerhouse ingredient, cashews, also have a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, some fiber, and protein. They do contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But, when eaten in moderation (and subbed for saturated fats), these fats can help improve heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke and weight gain.
So what are you waiting for? These no-bake cacao energy balls contain tremendous amounts of goodness. Plus, they are super simple to make. Have some fun with it and get your whole family involved, including your kids! Go get your ingredients and make them today!
Super Simple No-Bake Cacao Energy Balls
- 1.5 cups organic unsalted raw cashews
- 1/4 cup organic rolled oats
- 1 cup organic pitted dates
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp raw organic cacao powder
- 2 tsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- cacao nibs for rolling
- extra cacao powder for rolling
- ground cashew/oats for rolling
- shredded coconut for rolling
Soak dates in water for up to 2 hours
Place cashews and oats in food processor and grind into a meal-like texture. Remove 2 tbsp and reserve.
Remove dates from water and add to food processor (with ground cashew mixture)
Add coconut oil, cacao powder, water, and vanilla extract to the food processor and mix until combined. The result will be a paste-like texture.
Place mixture into the refrigerator for approximately one hour
Remove mixture from refrigerator. Using a melon scoop, make individual balls and place on lined cookie sheet
Roll balls into various mixtures (cacao nibs, cacao powder, ground cashew/oats, shredded coconut) until outside of ball is completely covered.
Place covered balls back on the cookie sheet, then into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Mrs. Traylor is a Fitness Instructor, NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach, AFPA Certified Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, wife, and momma who provides actionable advice for positive lifestyle changes with fitness, nutrition, and wellness. Read about Wendy’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey, and subscribe to Wendy’s newsletter here!