There are lots of recipes around for energy balls, but this one grabbed my attention for 2 reasons.
First they contain chickpeas!
Second they don’t include chocolate, which suits me as I am not a big fan of chocolate.
Energy balls are typically a mixture of dried fruit and nuts (and often also include chocolate). They are therefore quite healthy due to their (mostly) healthy ingredients, however are also usually quite energy (or calorie) dense. (Perhaps that is why they are called energy balls?) If you are including these as a snack you need to be aware of this if you are watching your weight.
Adding chickpeas not only reduces the total calorie count, but increases the protein and fibre of these energy balls as well as providing some moisture, helping with the binding and keeping them soft. Their nutlike taste and buttery texture team perfectly with the seeds, nuts and dried fruit.
Chickpeas are a legume, which many public health organisations recommend as a key food group for preventing disease and optimising health. They contain protein, low GI carbohydrate, fibre, folate, iron, tryptophan, phosphorus and manganese. Chickpeas help to support digestive health, reducing our chances of bowel problems, including lowering the risk of bowel (or colon) cancer. They contain antioxidants which are thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and their soluble fibre content can help to lower cholesterol. Chickpea’s fibre and protein content help to stabilize digestion and blood sugar levels which is beneficial for everyone’s health, but especially so if you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes. Plus they help to fill you up and keep you full, which is a great benefit for anyone wanting to lose weight.
This recipe comes from the McKenzie’s food website. Most of you would be familiar with their bicarb soda as well as their range of lentils, legumes and pearl barley which are available at both Coles and Woolworths. I have to admit that I didn’t use dried chickpeas when making these, I used a tin of precooked ones as I was in a hurry (and they are so convenient). I usually do prefer to cook my own chickpeas however, as I think they have a better texture, it is much cheaper and produces less land-fill (especially since the plastic lining in cans reduces their chances of decomposing).
These are delicious little balls of nutritious energy. I hope you give them a go…
- 1/2 cup raw chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until soft (approx. 20 mins) or 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup raw mixed nuts* (ie almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 cup whole rolled oats
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons raisins (or diced dried figs)
- 2 tablespoons dried apple (or apricots), finely diced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put the nuts, seeds and oats in the food processor and blend until coarse.
- Place nut mix into a large bowl and add coconut and cinnamon and dried fruits and mix thoroughly.
- Place chickpeas into the food processor with water, honey and vanilla extract and puree to a smooth paste.
- Spoon chickpea mix into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Mixture should combine to form balls easily.
- Roll mixture into balls approximately the size of a walnut and roll in extra coconut.
- Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge.