Some people like chocolates and cupcakes. At the risk of sounding like healthy-eating uber-nerds, we Veggie Runners love a good protein ball. Yes, really. But there’s a reason for that: these Roasted Nut Protein Balls are absolutely delicious. They’re sweet, moist, tasty, vegan and incredibly good for you – what’s not to love?! No added sugar either, just dried dates to satisfy your sweet tooth the natural way.
They’re packed full of protein, with nuts, chia seeds and hemp protein powder, and they certainly did the recovery trick for me at the weekend. I made them to have after I’d ran the Humber Bridge 10k, a beautiful and bonkers race is ever there was one. Here’s the lowdown on it from my running buddy, Rose. In distilled form, the views were amazing, the atmosphere was lovely and the heat was a little bit more than I could handle. These lovely protein balls – really, they’re seriously good – set me right back on track in no time though.
Try them rolled in chopped nuts, chia or sesame seeds, cocoa or cacao powder. You could dip them in melted chocolate. Or you could leave them plain. You can use any protein powder you like; I choose hemp protein powder from Naturya, which packs a hefty protein punch (49g per 100g!) but has quite a neutral flavour. I flattened these protein balls into little patties – they were easier to pack for a picnic that way. I can guarantee that whatever you do to them, they won’t last long. I’m suddenly really looking forward to marathon training again just so that I can have these for recovery… 😉
- 50g almonds
- 50g hazelnuts
- 100g dried dates - soaked in 200ml boiling water for 10 minutes
- 30g chia seeds
- 3 heaped tablespoon peanut or other nut butter (we used Meridian Foods)
- 15g hemp protein powder (mine was from Naturya)
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
- *Optional coatings - chia seeds, sesame seeds, cocoa powder or flaked almonds to roll the balls in when they're ready
- Roast the hazelnuts under a medium grill until they start to brown slightly. Use a clean tea towel to rub off the skins and place in a food processor (or large bowl if you're using a stick blender).
- Chop the soaked dates (keep the soaking water to use in a smoothie) and add to the food processor.
- Add all of the other ingredients except the optional coatings and blend well. It may take a little while as there are a lot of different ingredients, but bear with it - you'll be glad you did! Leave some texture if you like though; it doesn't have to be totally smooth.
- Squeeze tightly between your palms and form into small balls or patties (balls are a bit tricker but doable if that's what you prefer).
- Leave plain or roll them in one of the option coatings.
- Place in the fridge for about an hour before eating.