These Chocolate Protein Balls are nutritious and easy to make in 10 minutes. They taste like brownies yet are high in fiber and protein and so delicious. No bake, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and a nut-free option. View step by step video in this post.
Chocolate Protein Balls
One way these Chocolate Protein Balls are different is they are DELICIOUS. They really taste like rolled brownies. And that's hard to do, to make an easy, no bake, nutritious snack that tastes great, like a dessert. Because all those healthy ingredients together don't always taste great, certainly not like a brownie.
So how do I get that flavor and nutrition. These protein balls contain only 4 familiar ingredients in this recipe, but - as with all protein balls - the recipe is extremely customizable to I have included a list of suggested add-ins below.
Table of Contents For this Post
What are Protein Balls?
Protein balls, sometimes called bliss balls, energy balls, date balls or even chocolate balls, are basically a few wholesome ingredients combined in a bowl and molded into a ball that results in an energy-boosting treat. They can be stored frozen and eaten at will to provide energy for a workout, reverse an afternoon slump, fire up the brain for a study session or meeting, or just anytime you need a healthy boost or to tame hunger.
Before we dive into the recipe, I'd like to invite you to sign up for my free chocolate course. Five lessons hit your inbox with detail on how to create your own simple healthy chocolate desserts.
Okay, so back to this recipe...
How Do These Protein Balls Taste?
Like fudgy no-bake brownies! You have probably heard that protein balls, especially commercial ones, don't taste so great because creators are trying so hard to stuff nutritious ingredients in there that they forget flavor.
These balls are delicious because I supported the chocolate with vanilla, salt, cinnamon and coffee.
The salt is not at unhealthy levels, only a pinch and you can leave it off. The cinnamon is a bonus because not only does it add flavor but also helps balance your blood sugar. The coffee is only a small amount so too little to introduce significant caffeine, but the flavor brings out the depth of the chocolate, helping these protein balls taste like brownies.
How Healthy Are Protein Balls
This easy snack, made with only 4 ingredients, is so healthy because all ingredients are raw, the snack is not baked or cooked, and all ingredients are plant-based with all the natural nutrients that provides.
Specifically, these protein balls are high in protein - of course! - with 8 grams, 6 grams of fiber, and low in sugar - only 4 grams! They are vegan, gluten-free, and can be nut-free by using a seed butter instead of a nut butter, such as sunflower seed butter.
The Best Time to Eat Protein
Protein is essential to your diet. The average person should eat around 50 grams of protein daily. However when you eat that protein has various impacts.
So when should you eat your protein balls?
1. If you eat protein balls in the morning, your body will store the energy and release it slowly, energizing you all day.[source]
2. If you eat protein balls an hour after exercise, your body will extract the optimum amount of nutrients that you need to recover from your workout.[source]
3. If you eat protein balls at bedtime, you will be doing your muscles a favor, providing them with energy during sleep to help your overnight recovery sessions and boost the process of muscle growth and repair. [source]
4 Simple Ingredients in These Protein Balls
Oat Flour - oat flour is the perfect addition to a nutritious snack because it's gluten-free, high in protein and fiber and other essential nutrients. It helps both to energize, relax and even supports your sleep.
Nut or Seed Butter - Use cashew butter or almond butter, or sunflower seed butter to keep this snack nut-free.
Maple Syrup - This anti-oxidant syrup comes straight from a tree if you buy organic, and although it contains sucose it had many antioxidants that fight disease and essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
Cocoa - I used a high quality unsweetened cocoa to support the flavor of this snack, but you can use cacao powder instead. Cacao is more raw thus retains more nutrients but it is not as rich in flavor. If you use cacao powder, add a bit more (3 tbsp) of brewed coffee to deepen the chocolate flavor.
I also suggest adding vanilla, cinnamon and salt to boost the flavor of these delicious balls.
How to Make Protein Balls
1. Begin by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and measure out the ingredients.
2. Make the protein balls by mixing ingredients into a bowl with a spoon or hand-held mixer.
3. Use a medium scoop to create scoops of batter, and then roll each in clean hands until you have round smooth balls.
4. Make your crumb coating. I provided a recipe for a nut butter coating, but you can use anything really, including crushed cookies or granola or even peanut butter powder. Roll the balls in the coating.
5. Store the protein balls at room temperature for about 1 day covered. Or freeze them for a month, again well covered. They don't do well refrigerated as the oat flour makes them dry out faster.
Healthy Additions to Protein Balls
One mistake a lot of people make when creating protein balls is they add too many healthy ingredients to make them even more nutritious but this ruins the flavor. So I suggest adding only one of the following at a time. You could make several batches, each with a single extra ingredients, and freeze them all, alternating which ones you snack on.
1. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. I use HU or Enjoylife, but you can use your favorite chips or even a dark chocolate bar chopped up.
2. crush nuts - walnuts, almonds or even pistachios would work well
3. flaxseed or chia seeds would add to the nutrition and not impact flavor if you only add 2 tbsp of each.
4. dried fruits, especially cranberries, chopped, would add flavor and nutrition.
5. powdered peanut butter is useful to use as a coating.
Additional Protein Snack Recipes to Try
Tropical Protein Cauliflower Snacks
Cashew Spirulina Protein Snack
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Chocolate Protein Balls
- ½ cup oat flour or almond flour if you don't need it to be nut-free
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- ½ cup nut butter or sunflower seed butter to make it nut-free
- 3 tbsp maple syrup Or use three dates, soaked and blended with 4 tbsp water into a puree, i.e. date paste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp brewed coffee
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup peanut butter powder
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure out ingredients.
Make Protein Balls
- Mix all protein ball ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a spoon or hand-held mixer.
- Use a medium scoop to create scoops and put them on the cookie sheet.
- Roll each round and smooth with your hands.
Make Crumb Coating Or Use PB Powder
- To make the homemade coating, combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix until you have a small crumble. You will have more than you need.
- With either coating, just roll each protein ball in the crumb, pressing lightly to coat.
- Protein balls store well on the counter for 1 day. Or in freezer for a month. Don't refrigerate or they will dry out.