Man, oh man. It has been far too long since I’ve shared a new energy ball recipe with you.
Over the past few weeks I’ve felt like I’m a bit stuck; maybe it’s the changing on the seasons, but I am feeling pulled in several different directions and struggling to feel motivated to do much of anything.
Usually I find inspiration in the seasons- the seasonal produce, the weather, the amount of daylight, and the general mood of the season all impact the foods I’m craving, and this eventually translates into the recipes I make and photograph to post here. And I’m not exaggerating when I say I get excited about every single recipe I put up on Baked Greens. The whole process of developing recipes, testing them until they’re perfect, styling the photo, and eventually sharing it with the world just brings me so much happiness.
But lately? I’m just feeling kind of blah. Like, peanut butter toast will suffice for lunch and, okay, sure, I’ll make a salad/pot of soup/pasta/ whatever for dinner, and fine, I’ll eat some chocolate if I have to, but nothing is overly exciting to me (dramatic, much?). I’m not struck by pumpkin spice fever (though, I never really was in the past, either…), and while we just went apple picking and loaded up on butternut and acorn squash at our favorite farm stand this weekend, I’m not even feeling particularly excited about making any apple or fall-themed recipes right now. And I have SO MANY fall recipes to test out.
I know. It’s weird, and I don’t really know what to do about it.
Typically I’ve photographed a recipe for the blog at least a week before posting it- ideally longer, if I’m on my game. These balls? I photographed them this morning. As in, two hours ago. Sure, I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for two weeks, and had several other opportunities to style and shoot them, but did I? Nope. I’m not in love with the pictures either, but I’m learning to live with the fact that life isn’t perfect.
The good news is, these balls are worth getting a little bit excited over.
Kevin recently discovered a store-bought energy ball that he loves, and, being the stubborn person that I am, I obviously took offense at his ongoing love for these balls that I could have easily made him myself. Not to mention they are almost $3 each and holy heck should I just start an energy ball company because $3 per ball is a crazy amount of money for a little ball filled with nuts and protein powder.
After force-feeding myself the aforementioned store-bought balls, studying their ingredients list, and grilling Kevin on what, specifically, he liked about them so much, I think I’ve finally cracked the code. The originals had upwards of 30 ingredients, but I decided to pare it down for a simpler, dare I say better, ball.
Cashew butter, raw honey, oats, pea protein, a few dates, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt are all you need to have your very own snack orbs full of protein, carbs, and heart-healthy fats (aka the essentials needed for fueling your body). These balls can be made in just 1-bowl in as much time as it takes you to measure out all the ingredients (so, maybe 5 minutes?), and are the perfect anytime snack. I used homemade cashew butter, since I find it oddly therapeutic to turn nuts into paste at home, but you can certainly buy a jar of cashew butter, if that’s more your style.
Lately we’ve been trying to explore a different hiking trail in our area every weekend, and having a stash of these balls in a backpack has been a lifesaver for those mid-hike-I’m-starving-moments.
I highly recommend making these balls with unsweetened pea protein powder like this one for an added boost of plant-powered protein and an undetectable flavor (I also find a tub of unsweetened pea protein at Trader Joe’s for a great price, just FYI). The store-bought balls I based the recipe off of used pea and whey protein powder, so feel free to play around to suit your family’s needs. Just know that a flavored protein powder will change the flavor of these balls, which could be great if you love the flavor of the protein powder, but could also be a little weird if not.
These Cashew Butter Protein Balls are the perfect snack for this season of life. They’re nutty, subtly sweet from the honey, a little warm and comforting from the cinnamon, studded with little bits of caramel-sweet dates, loaded with protein, and several of them can suffice for a meal if you are feeling overly apathetic about cooking. And, despite being the same tan, blah color as my soul right now, they’re packed full of nutrients from the simple, high quality ingredients used to make them. You can even roll them in crushed up cashews to make your life more exciting.
If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below, or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram. And don’t forget to check out my PANTRY STAPLES page to purchase all my favorite ingredients for this recipe!
- 1 cup roasted cashew butter*
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and finely diced (can sub 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit of choice)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pea protein (or other unsweetened/unflavored protein powder of choice)
- 1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cashew butter, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Then, add all remaining ingredients and stir well to combine using a sturdy wooden spoon (or even your hands, to make sure everything gets mixed well).
- 2. Portion out the dough into 16 balls (I used a 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop), and roll each ball between the palms of your hands. If desired, finely dice some cashews and roll each ball into the cashews for a crunchy coating.
- 3. Balls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- I make my own cashew butter, but you can find it online and at grocery stores, as well. I usually find the best price at Trader Joe's. If desired, another nut butter like almond or peanut can be used instead.