This weeks recipe by nutritional therapist Pamela, is Cacao Tahini Protein Balls. Perfect for gym goers and athletic folk, pre or post training.
I’ve been getting lots of requests from my athlete friends for some decent protein/energy balls. Tired of spending a small fortune on processed protein bars, and not so much fans of sugar-laden chocolate milk drinks, I have been tasked with the job of creating some tasty protein balls with enough carbohydrate for replacing post-training muscle glycogen. To make things more difficult, there was a specific request for a nut-free recipe!
These Cacao Tahini Protein Balls are just sweet enough without being sickly-sweet. In place of nut butter I use light tahini (a calcium rich sesame seed butter) and coconut oil (coconut is not a true nut…botanically its a ‘drupe’ or fruit, nut & seed!). Nua Naturals raw organic cacao powder and cacao nibs provide a gorgeous rich chocolatey flavour. Cacao provides a natural (and less potent) caffeine hit which can be useful pre-training, but is also rich in blood oxygenating iron and chromium, which regulates blood sugar.
Dried dates lend their sweet caramel stickiness into the mix, whilst scoring additional points for being particularly rich in potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc…all of which are vital co-factors involved in cellular energy production. Chomp these pre- or post-training. The recipe makes about 16.
To make the balls:
- 10 dates
- 2 scoops (50g) of vanilla pea / hemp protein powder
- 1 cup Nua Naturals raw cacao powder
- 1 heaped Tbsp Nua Naturals cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup light tahini
- 1 heaped Tbsp coconut oil (room temperature/unmelted)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Chia Bia whole chia seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Desiccated coconut
- Cacao Powder
- Ground almonds
- Put the dates in a glass bowl and pour over a half-cup of hot water. Allow to soften for about 10 minutes.
- In a food processor briefly blend all of the remaining ingredients.
- Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Blend the mixture until it resembles a slightly moist gravel or clay that when pressed together, will hold.
- Roll into individual balls (should make about 16 balls).
- To coat the protein balls, spoon out your chosen coatings onto individual saucers and get rolling.
- Chill the balls in the fridge for an hour before eating.
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA