These no-bake Cherry Cacao Energy Balls combine fresh pitted cherries with dates, almonds and cacao for a delicious and nutritious little morsel.
I don’t know about you, but I love ripe cherries. There’s something about sweet summer cherries that just makes me happy. Maybe it’s the fact that I can only get them in the Northeast for about two months or that they lend sweetness to recipes without any added sugar.
Either way, cherries are a daily staple for me during the summer. [Related: Cherry Coconut Yogurt Bites]
That’s why I’m really excited to bring you this new energy ball recipe, featuring fresh cherries, cacao, almonds and dates.
How to make energy balls
When I think of an “energy ball”, it has a few major components– carbs for energy, protein for sustained energy and little added sugar. They should also be easy to make and yummy to munch on. These Cherry Cacao Energy Balls check off all those boxes.
Making them is simple– just combine pitted cherries, dates, almonds, oats, cacao and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until sticky. Then use your hands to form golf-ball sized balls and refrigerate for at least an hour to set.
The nutrition of cherries
The shining star in this recipe is undoubtedly the cherries. I love this delicious stone fruit so much because it’s naturally sweet and packed with nutrients. One cup of cherries has:
- 100 calories
- 2 grams protein
- 25 grams carbs
- 3 grams fiber
- 18% of the Daily Value (DV) of Vitamin C
- 10% daily value of potassium
Cherries are rich polyphenols, otherwise known as plant compounds that fight inflammation. Too much inflammation in the body is associated with a higher risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, Diabetes and certain cancers. Therefore, eating anti-inflammatory foods is good for overall health.
What is cacao?
The one ingredient on this list that may have you scratching your head is cacao. Chocolate and cocoa powder actually comes from the cacao tree. The difference between cacao and cocoa is the processing after the bean is picked.
Cacao is very minimally processed and has no added sweetener. That means it’s extremely high in antioxidants and has all the good-for-you elements of dark chocolate without the added sugar or fat.
On its own, cacao tastes bitter. But when you mix it with naturally sweet ingredients, like dates or cherries, it gives off a chocolatey flavor without the extra calories of sugar.
What if I can’t find cacao?
Cacao is available in most supermarkets, but it’s a bit expensive. If you can’t find it or don’t want to buy it, you can use dark chocolate chips. Just know that the balls will be higher in calories and fat if you use chocolate instead of cacao. Plus, they will be sweeter.
How to store Cherry Cacao Energy Bites
These vegan energy bites will stay in the fridge for up to a week. Store them in an air tight container or a sealable baggie.
Cherry Cacao Energy Balls
These no-bake Cherry Cacao Energy Balls combine fresh pitted cherries with dates, almonds and cacao for a delicious and nutritious little morsel. (Makes 8 balls)
- ⅓ cup pitted dates
- ½ cup pitted cherries
- ⅓ raw almonds
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoon cacao nibs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Add dates, cherries, and almonds to a food processor and pulse until a sticky homogenous mixture is formed.
Add rolled oats, cacao nibs, cinnamon and salt to the food processor and pulse until mixture looks evenly distributed and well combined.
Use your hands to roll mixture into golf-ball sized balls. Place on a parchment lined plate. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.