Peanut Butter Cocoa Protein Balls are a homemade version of your favorite protein bar! These tasty treats have peanut butter, chocolate and chickpeas for extra protein and fiber and no refined sugar! Tasty, Healthy treat for the family! V+GF, too!
Are you a snacker? For me, it’s that 4 O’clock rumbly in my tumbly that makes me want to snack. You know that feeling – you just want something
healthy quick and sweet or salty that will get you through until dinnertime. And, usually, “healthy” doesn’t fit that type of craving. Until now. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls provide the best of everything a good snack should be: protein, fiber, satisfaction, and most of all: flavor!
Now, these are not candy, so even though they have salty peanut butter and some chocolate (in cocoa form), they do not taste like a peanut butter cup. Sorry (not sorry!). Although, page down, you can make those lovelies, too, way easier than you thought! Just click the link for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups! But these do have peanut butter and chocolate flavors, but have taste and texture similar to a Luna Bar.
Now, just to break down where all the goodness is from, just take a look at the short list of good ingredients:
- Peanut Butter – rich in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, what’s not to love?
- Chickpeas – the low glycemic index of these will help with blood sugar and good amounts of protein and fiber make these helpful for cholesterol levels and digestive health!
- Cocoa – good for you cognitive health, immune function, muscle and nerve function and heart health. We all could use more cocoa powder, it seems.
- Dates – Although relatively high in natural sugars, Medjool dates, from the Date Palm Tree, also contain ample fiber and minerals.
- Flaxseed – One of the best sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and loads of lignans than other foods, flaxseeds are thought to protect against common cancers, high cholesterol, and blood sugar. They aid digestion and potentially reduce inflammation, thought to be a common driver of many diseases.
So, next time you want a healthy snack, you should try these Quick, Easy, and Healthy Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls! What’s not to love?
Looking for other healthy-ish snack foods? Don’t miss these:
How to Make these Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Some things you might need:
- Blender or Food Processor – I use this Food Processor, I love that it also comes with a small bowl for smaller jobs.
- Small Cookie Scoop – holds 15 ml, 1 Tbsp
- Parchment Paper – You won’t be sorry if you buy in bulk!
Step-by-Step Recipe Overview:
These healthy energy balls (or bars if you want – just press the dough into a square baking pan) take just 5 minutes to make, then a few minutes more to shape. You’ll then want to refrigerate, or freeze them, before serving!
But, just a few easy steps. First, gather your ingredients. You’ll want to pit the dates, and if you buy whole flaxseeds, grind them to flaxseed meal. One-third cup seeds, when ground, will yield 1/2 cup Flaxseed Meal. You’ll begin by grinding the dates in the food processor or blender, until they are close to a paste consistency. Then, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, and process another 30-60 seconds until the dough is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, pulsing until a pliable dough forms. That’s it!
Form into balls. Roll in ground, dry-roasted peanuts, coconut, nonpareils, or anything else you want- or nothing at all. Cover tightly and place the balls in the fridge for an hour or two. Or, put them in the freezer. For some reason, frozen treats always feel more decadent!
- Don’t want to roll them into balls? Just press the dough into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan, chill, then slice into squares or bars.
- Prefer another nut butter, like Almond Butter or Cashew Butter? Go ahead and use it instead of peanut butter!
- No chickpeas on hand? Feel free to use white beans (Cannelini).
Questions you may have about making Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls:
- Can I make them bigger? or smaller? Yes, you can make them any size you want. I wouldn’t make them bigger than a Medium cookie scoop size, which is about 2 Tbsp or 29 g. You could also just press the dough in an 8×8 pan and then cut into bars after refrigeration.
- Do I need to peel the chickpeas? I did not peel them, and they ground up smoothly even with the skins. If you prefer them peeled, just give them a gentle squeeze, and the skin should begin to peel off.
- Can I use another sweetener, like honey? I did not try this, but you could likely use honey as it is a thick sweetener, and adds moisture like the dates do. But since I wanted to make a Vegan recipe, I chose the dates.
- How long do they keep in the refrigerator? If covered in an airtight container, they will last about a week. If you want them to last longer, I suggest freezing them – I actually like them better frozen!
- I don’t have Dutch Process Cocoa, can I use it anyway? Yes, you can substitute regular cocoa for Dutch-Process in this recipe. I like the Dutch Process for its smooth flavor, so if you use regular cocoa, you will get a nice bitter note as well! Delicious! They will also be lighter in color.
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Vegan Peanut Butter Cocoa Protein Balls
V+GF Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls provide protein, fiber and flavor. With no artificial ingredients or refined sugars, these tasty orbs are Vegan and Gluten-Free! Great refrigerated or frozen.
Perfect for snacks, treats, lunchboxes or late-night snacking! Will keep covered in an airtight container for a week or a month in the freezer! So good frozen!
Equipment needed: Food Processor or Blender
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 20 min
- Yield: 32 Balls 1x
- Category: Snacks
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: International
- 15.5 oz (439g) can (cooked) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup (150g, 8-9) Large, pitted Medjool Dates
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) Water
- 3/4 cup (192g) Peanut Butter, any type (I used salted all-natural, but any will work)
- 1/2 cup (55g) Flaxseed Meal (grind about 1/3 cup flaxseeds, if whole)
- 6 Tbsp (45g) Cocoa Powder, Dutch Process preferred
- 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- (optional) 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Place the pitted dates into a blender and food processor. Process 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and the water, and process until the mixture is thick and looks relatively smooth. (It’s not necessary to have it completely smooth.)
- Add the Peanut Butter, Flaxseed Meal, Cocoa, Salt, and Vanilla Extract. Continue Processing, in 30-second increments, until the mixture forms a “ball” or comes together into a single mass. Remove to a bowl.
- Using a small (15ml) cookie scoop, or your hands, measure out 3/4 oz. (22-23g) portions of the dough, and shape into a ball. It’s good, but not necessary, to weigh each if you want to have all similar sizes.
- If desired, roll each ball in crushed peanuts, or whatever you like, such as non-pareils or even chocolate chips, pressing them into the ball. Refrigerate in a covered container an hour or two before serving. Or, freeze! These are delicious frozen, too!
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