Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
I’ll go ahead and let you know that there isn’t any nutella in these energy bites. Sure, I love nutella as much as the next person but it’s not exactly a food that I want to be snacking on day after day.
I remember when I first realized that nutella was not the same nutritionally as other nut butters and I completely lost it. What? This chocolatey spread that I’d been smearing on just about everything was only made with a small amount of hazelnuts and a lot more sugar and chocolate? Major bummer. Of course, I still eat it on occasion as I believe that all foods can fit. But, I stopped pulling it out as an appropriate topping for waffles, bread, apples, crackers, pretzels, um… you get the drift.
These do taste like nutella! Thanks to a generous amount of roasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder and perfectly sweet dates. They are packed with fiber, plant-based protein and naturally sweetened. A delicious snack for you, for me and for our kiddos.
Dates are pretty magical. I like to think of them as natures caramel. If you haven’t had the pleasure of using them in energy bites before they not only provide just the right amount of sweetness but help bind the other ingredients together. If your dates are very hard, then you’ll want to soak them in a bit of hot water before processing. Otherwise, your food processor is going to get quite the workout.
You could use all hazelnuts here but to save money, I threw in cashews and slivered almonds to the mix. Regular almonds will work, but the slivered blanched kind are skinless and therefore won’t change the color. Whirl those together in a food processor until very finely chopped. Take care not to turn them into nut butter as you want actual pieces of the nuts in the final balls.
Add the processed nuts to the softened date mixture and combine into a dough. To make these balls extra creamy and smooth, I threw in a little peanut butter to hold everything together.
However- here’s where you can go crazy. If you can’t imagine the thought of nutella balls without nutella, then go ahead and swap some in for the peanut butter. It doesn’t even have to be real nutella, there are countless recipes for homemade versions and Justin’s makes a delicious chocolate nut butter. You don’t need much, just enough so that these are easy to roll together.
Roll and place in the fridge and you are done! We’ve been loving these as an afternoon pick-me-up snack or sweet treat before bed. However you enjoy them, I hope you love them as much as we do.
Need a healthy snack? Try these. Vegan and Gluten-Free Nutella Energy Bites! Made with nuts and dates, they are the perfect snack and great for kids!
The Ultimate Plant-Based Protein Cookbook + Course
(Includes 40+ recipes!)
FREE 7-DAY COURSE + COOKBOOK
(7 comments) leave a comment
Hello, I am wanting to make this recipe with the limited ingredients I have in my pantry. I want to confirm before I make it because you mentioned some substitutions I could try. I only have honey in my pantry and I’m not vegan. Would it be possible to remove the dates and coconut oil and use honey instead? If so, how much? Maybe ⅓ cup? If I use Nutella I still need the cocoa powder, correct? You mentioned in the paragraphs above the recipe that I can use Nutella but I’m wondering if there is still a need for cocoa powder when the peanut butter is taken away. Will you please confirm the modifications below?
1 and ¼ cup hazelnuts
⅓ cup honey?
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
⅓ cup nutella
Thank you! I’m looking forward to making it as soon as I hear back from you.
Hi Mara- not sure if all that will work as it’s different from the original recipe and hasn’t been tested. You can swap in nutella for the peanut butter– and I wouldn’t add the cocoa as it may be too much. Though– you’ll need to try it and see. Subbing honey may work for the dates– but again, I can’t confirm as I haven’t tried it. My rule of thumb when making balls: if it’s too wet/sticky, add more ground nuts (or oats), too dry: add more nut butter/dates/honey.
I haven’t made this recipe yet….but will definitely do so. I’ll probably roll them in coconut so no sticky fingers!!
I would just like to add that the reason a lot of us do not eat Nutella is that it contains palm oil.
Yes, great point. Thanks Sue!
SO yummy! I don’t know if they actually give me energy, life with a 2 year old and 2 month old has me constantly in a fog, but they’re so delicious and satisfy my sweet tooth!
So glad you liked it!
I love this method of making a high energy snack! Having them in a rolled up ball form makes it soooo much easier to just grab and go or to pack for whatever occasion. I think that this is fantastic! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the little pointers on optimizing the use of the food processor so that it doesn’t get overworked.