Vegan and nut free energy bites made with dates, orange, and raw cacao for a dessert-like treat high in protein and healthy fats.
An ongoing theme in my kitchen is thinking up new energy bite flavours every week, and these raw chocolate orange bites have been a fast favourite since I first made them a couple of months ago. Just made with hemp hearts, no nuts or sunflower seeds, to make them even quicker than usual and a little creamier. The orange adds a little freshness to an otherwise rich snack and I really find myself going to the fridge more for these than I do for other energy bites I make.
So what’s the deal with energy balls/bites? They’re ultra popular with plant-based eaters and it’s really just because they’re quick, easy, and nutrient dense. They can be a little high in sugar from the dates but I try to balance that with some coconut oil and other ingredients like cacao. If you’re active then they’re a perfect energy hit, or if you need a boost to get you through the afternoon. Graham usually takes three or four to work (he bikes to work and has an active job) and I often have one when I’m trying to push through a photoshoot or before teaching yoga. They’re nice to have around if you get chocolate cravings but don’t want to make chocolate cookies, and don’t want to take the extra time to bake. You seem to be really digging those peanut butter chocolate cookies, though!
I’ve shared several energy bite recipes and I’m not sure if you guys get sick of them, but I know I love to get a little inspiration for different flavours because I make them so often. If you’re looking for some more ideas, here are a few: sunflower seed bites, walnut cookie dough bites, chocolate coconut bliss balls, and fig snack bars (they can also be made into balls, and are date-free).
My friend Svenny, who has been doing lots of hand modelling for me lately in return for lots of food, also really liked these. So they have been tested on more people than just the two of us, hah. That flat lay photo at the very end of the post was planned pretty much just to show the beautiful cacao beans that I got, and I forgot to include them. Ridiculous.
Chocolate Orange Energy Bites with Hemp
- 130 grams / 1/2 cup packed soft dates*
- 120 grams / 3/4 cup hemp hearts
- 3 tablespoon raw cacao**
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Zest of an orange
- Juice of 1/2 an orange ~2 tablespoons
Place all of the ingredients into the base of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend on high until a ball of dough forms. Form into small balls, place onto a board or plate, and refrigerate for at least an hour before placing into a sealed container to keep them from sticking together. They can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
• I was recently gifted a bag of roasted cacao beans (from Svenny's sister Kristin!) and crumbled some up and added them as cacao nibs. You could also used finely chopped dark chocolate.
* If your dates are quite dry, soak them in hot water for at least half an hour beforehand. You may need to add a little additional hemp to balance out the added liquid in that case.
** Regular cocoa will taste the same, it just won't have all of the same health benefits.