I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with energy balls. What do I love about them? Um, they’re easy, they’re delicious, and they remind me of cookie dough. What’s to hate? Well, unfortunately, I have a hard time controlling myself with cookie dough – or, as it turns out, something that reminds me of it.
Yeah, energy balls (also known as energy bites) are usually super sweet and thus, for me, a bit addicting. So a food that starts out on the pretty healthy side becomes decidedly less so, ergo, too much of a good thing and all that.
But! I adore the convenience of them, so I thought I’d give them another shot.
I set out to create a a no-bake energy ball recipe that still tasted great and kept that easy grab-and-go status, but one that wasn’t as sweet as most energy ball recipes out there. Many energy ball recipes contain a LOT of dates and while I am a huge fan of the things, the sugar in them doesn’t serve me very well.
So these energy balls are actually pretty low in sugar, all-told – only four dates in the entire recipe, which amounts to under 2 grams of sugar per ball.
Are they still sweet? Well … kinda. The cashews lend some natural sweetness, and the dates that are there definitely do their part. So while these Low-Sugar Vanilla Cashew Tahini Energy Balls are definitely not savory, they are also a little more … neutral than their super sweet counterparts. In a surprisingly delicious way!
The texture? Yes, still sort of cookie dough esque. The flavor? I AM IN LOVE.
The sweetness of the cashews and the unique sesame flavor from the tahini both shine through. But not in an addicting way. Okay, maybe I still need to exert a little willpower, because I love these things. But at under 2 grams of sugar per ball, at least if I pop an extra one, I don’t feel bad about it.
Tahini, by the way, does have a bit of a bitter edge to it, so if you’re not quite sure, you could always sub in the nut butter of your choice.
A cup of tea, a couple of these Low-Sugar Vanilla Cashew Tahini Energy Balls, and the afternoon just got a lot sweeter. But without a ton of sugar. Score!
Low-Sugar Vanilla Cashew Tahini Energy Balls
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you're on a gluten-free diet)
- 3/4 cup unsalted raw or roasted cashews
- 4 Medjool dates (pitted)
- 1/2 cup tahini (runnier is better*)
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
- To the pitcher of a high-powered blender, add the oats and the cashews. Blend until a coarse meal, about 30 seconds. Add the dates and blend until well incorporated.
- Add the tahini, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, vanilla, and salt. Pulse, scraping down the sides with a spatula when necessary, until blended.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and finish mixing with a spatula. The mixture should be the consistency of wet sand (and, also like wet sand, should hold when pressed together). If it's too dry, add a bit more tahini.
- Scoop out about 1 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Squeeze together tightly with your hands and form into a ball. If desired, roll ball in unsweetened shredded coconut. I like them equally with or without.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They keep for about 1 week.