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Bowl piled high with our grain-free, low sugar Protein Balls made with 5 simple ingredients

One of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Harlow. Sometimes I go for brunch and while waiting in line, I eye the raw and baked treats on the counter. One of my favorite treats is something called an “almond butter protein sphere.” Um, hello? Could there be a more perfect name for a pre-brunch snack? I think not.

Consider this my inspired take on a nutty protein ball.

My favorite part? They’re grain-free, low sugar (sweetened with just a few dates), and incredibly simple to make. Shall we?

Cutting board with almond butter, dates, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and protein powder for making Protein Balls

These 5-ingredient bites are made entirely in the food processor and require ingredients you likely have on hand right now!

Nut butter is mixed with chia seeds, hemp seeds, a bit of protein powder (recommendations below), and a couple dates to keep these low sugar and naturally sweetened.

Food processor filled with ingredients for making our grain-free Protein Balls for a low sugar snack

Chia seeds offer plenty of calcium, fiber, and magnesium. Hemp seeds are high in protein, essential amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. And dates are naturally high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.

All of these good-for-you ingredients combine to make one seriously nutritious snack.

Food processor with freshly processed dough for our simple Protein Balls recipe

Once mixed, it’s time to roll! You can roll these and enjoy immediately, but I suggest chilling them in the freezer then topping with melted dark chocolate, hemp seeds, or shredded coconut. So delicious!

Blue tray filled with Protein Balls topped with melted chocolate and hemp seeds

We hope you LOVE these bites! They’re:

Tender
Perfectly sweet
Crunchy
Customizable
Quick & easy
& SO tasty

These would make the PERFECT snack to have on hand when you need a quick boost of energy — each bite contains 6 grams of protein! I’ve been enjoying one after my morning workout, but they’d make a delicious pre-workout snack as well. They’re also ideal for travel, road trips, kid lunches, and more!

Into snack bites? Check out our No-Bake Chocolate Cake Bites, Golden Milk Energy Bites, PB&J Energy Bites, Dark Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites, and Peanut Butter Cup Energy Bites.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl piled high with gluten-free Protein Balls topped with dark chocolate and shredded coconut

5-Ingredient Protein Balls (Low Sugar, Grain-Free)

5-Ingredient Protein Balls make the perfect low sugar, grain-free snack that’s high in protein and incredibly delicious! Customizable depending on what protein powder you use. Just 20 minutes and 1 food processor required!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings: 20 (Balls)

Category: Snack

Cuisine: Grain-Free, Snack, Vegan

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 2 Weeks

Ingredients

PROTEIN BALLS

FOR TOPPING optional

  • Melted dark chocolate (dairy-free as needed — we like Enjoy Life)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Add nut butter, pitted dates, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and protein powder to a

    food processor

    and blend until all ingredients are well combined and a cookie dough-like texture forms (see photo). 

  2. If too wet, add more dry ingredients of choice, such as protein powder or hemp seeds. If too crumbly or dry, add a little more nut butter. NOTE: These are meant to be on the tender side, so don’t be concerned if they’re a little soft (they’ll firm up in the refrigerator or freezer).

  3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more protein powder of choice for flavor or more dates for sweetness (if adding more dates, chop first to encourage even blending). Mix again until well combined.

  4. Scoop out about 1 Tbsp amounts and roll into balls (as recipe is written, ~20). Place on a parchment-lined plate or platter.

  5. Roll the balls in hemp seeds or desiccated coconut, or melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop, or in 20-second increments in the microwave, then spoon a small amount over the bites (all optional). Top with coconut or sea salt for added flavor (also optional). 

  6. Transfer balls to the freezer or refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes to firm up.  We recommend storing these in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 month for best texture. They are delicious straight out of the refrigerator or freezer and tend to soften at room temperature.

Notes

*In place of dates, you could sub maple syrup to taste. Just add more dry ingredients of choice to offset the wetter texture.
*The protein powder we used was Tropeaka Lean Vanilla protein. It does contain brown rice protein. If you need to keep this recipe grain-free, choose a grain-free protein, such as Nuzest.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 20 balls)

  • Calories: 133
  • Fat: 10.3g
  • Saturated fat: 0.9g
  • Sodium: 11mg
  • Potassium: 191mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6.6g
  • Fiber: 2.6g
  • Sugar: 3.1g
  • Protein: 6g

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