Almond & Date Balls - Chef Abbie Gellman MS, RD, CDN

Almond & Date Balls

Chef Abbie Gellman RD

These Almond and Date Balls are chock full of protein and flavor! Great as protein-powered energy snacks or for breakfast. Nutritious and delicious! The combination of sweet dried fruit, protein rich nuts and seeds, creamy yogurt and crunchy rice cereal makes for a satisfying snack that you will always want to keep on hand!

 

Dates

Dates are a delicious snack by themselves, they have a fun mouthfeel and are super sweet and satiating.  They are clearly the star of the recipe as it is titled––Date Balls! Unlike most sweets, dates are more than just sugar. They are good source of fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium! 1 (168191) If you want to learn more about dates check out my post for Stuffed Dates!

When shopping for dates they can be found with or without pits. When the pits are removed it saves you the effort of taking out the pits. But, when the dates have their pits they tend to have a higher moisture content and be a bit fresher—your choice! If your dates are dry, you can soak them in water before blending to make the Date Balls. Simply put them in a bowl with water for at least 10 minutes, then strain out the water before blending.

Almonds

Almonds are a tree nut native to the Mediterranean region.  California dominates the global market, and is by far the world’s largest almond grower, producing over 2 million tons annually!  California has abundant sunshine, a mild climate, fertile soil and has developed sophisticated equipment to efficiently mass produce almonds.2

The edible part of the almond is the seed, which is accessed by removing the outer shell and hull.  The outer shell is often used for feeding livestock.  The rising demand for almonds keeps increasing the price of almonds, even with production doubling since 2008.  With my Date Balls, the demand is likely to increase even more!

Date Balls are extra tasty when the almonds are first toasted.  If I have the time, I toast all of my nuts and seeds before making a dish because it concentrates the flavor and makes them nuttier.  To toast, preheat the oven to 325-350° F and place the almonds on a cookie tray for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

To learn all about nuts and toasting, check out this great article from Bon Appetit.  The toasted almonds, along with the almond butter, will lend a nutty savory taste and make my Date Balls a satiating snack! Feel free to use peanut butter instead of almond butter for a more affordable option.

Almond Nutrition

Almonds have a sweet and distinctively rich taste that are highlighted in sweet and savory dishes and snacks like my Date Balls.  They are also healthy! The ¼ cup of almonds in this recipe has about 215 calories3, which may seem calorie dense, but more importantly, almonds are nutrient dense.4

Almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant and helps in the anti-inflammatory process and may enhance our immune response.  Almonds also are rich in biotin, a B-vitamin that is important for the health of our hair, skin and nails.  Biotin has limited sources for people on a plant-based diet, making nuts an important part of the diet!  Almonds are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which are the good fats!5

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have so many culinary uses, from an awesome egg substitute in my Vegan Meatballs, a thickener in my Blueberry Chia Jam and a delicious addition to my Apple Cider Oatmeal.  In my Date Balls they mix with the Siggi’s yogurt to help bind the Date Balls, and add extra nutrition.

Chia seeds when mixed with a liquid expand in size and turn into little Jello-like balls, try adding a teaspoon to a cup of water to see!  Chia seeds are incredibly nutrient dense, the 2 tablespoons added to my Date Balls (about 1 ounce) has about 10 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protei!6

Puffed Brown Rice Cereal

Similar to Rice Krispies®, but made from a whole grain, puffed brown rice cereal provides yet another healthy and delicious addition to my Date Balls.  I swear they are delicious, especially when first toasted with the almonds.  They provide a crunch and texture similar to what you would find in KIND® bars. Feel free to substitute with what you have or omit.

Let’s Get Mixing!

Date Balls is a raw recipe, except for toasting the almonds and puffed brown rice cereal.  They are a homemade version that rival your favorite snack bars, without all the artificial ingredients and added sugar! Store in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer for a few months. Enjoy!

Similar Pages

Looking for other tasty snacks? Try my Stuffed Dates, Chia Muffins, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

References

  1. FoodData Central. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168191/nutrients
  2. Where Do Almonds Grow? WorldAtlas. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-almond-producing-countries.html
  3. FoodData Central. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/784367/nutrients
  4. Boston 677 Huntington Avenue, Ma 02115 +1495‑1000. Almonds. The Nutrition Source. Published May 30, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/almonds/
  5. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Accessed June 5, 2020. http://ods.od.nih.gov/index.aspx
  6. FoodData Central. Accessed June 5, 2020. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170554/nutrients
almond date power bites

Almond & Date Power Bites

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: almond, date
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Abbie Gellman RD

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 Medjool dates remove pit, chopped
  • ½ cup dried apricots chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Chia seed
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup almonds toast first for extra crunch
  • ¼ cup Siggi’s Plain 0% Yogurt
  • 1 cup puffed brown rice cereal toasted

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except the cereal in a food processor and blend to desired consistency. Move mixture to a bowl and incorporate toasted cereal.
  • Form 1-ounce balls and store in refrigerator or freezer in wax paper.

Nutrition Facts: per serving
• 240 calories
• 7g protein
• 6g fiber

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