I love using with classic Arabic ingredients in modern ways, and these healthy, protein-filled bites are no exception. Dates, apricots, tahini, walnuts and almonds are blended together with other goodies and dusted with coconut for a Middle-Eastern flavored snack with trendy Western sensibility.
Protein balls, bliss balls, whatever you call them, these little snacks are everywhere in Australia and rightfully so: dried fruit and cacao naturally satisfy sugar cravings while the tahini and toasted nuts are filling and boost energy levels. I added some chia seeds in mine to boost the antioxidant count, too. Two of these chewy bites at a time, alongside a cup of tea, or before or after a workout, is just the right amount for me.
Tastebuds vary, of course, and the ingredients and quantities in this recipe can be easily played with. I love the mellow nuttiness of tahini, but if you prefer almond or peanut butter, use that. Try dried figs or prunes, pine nuts or sunflower kernels instead of pumpkin seeds. For a vegan version, try maple or agave syrup instead of honey. Protein powder, cacao nibs, puffed quinoa, oats… the opportunities are endless.
Try making them the night before you intend to eat them – they’re even better the next day.
- 100g whole almonds (about 1 very full cup)
- 100g walnuts (about 1 very full cup)
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 150g plump medjool dates, pitted (about 12 dates)
- 150g soft dried apricots (about 1 full cup)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 heaped tablespoon tahini
- 1 ½ tsp honey
- Pinch sea salt
- Unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut, for dusting
- In a large frying pan, gently dry toast the almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds over medium-low heat, tossing regularly, about 3 minutes or until fragrant and popping but not browned. Set aside to cool a moment then pour into the bowl of a food processor.
- Process the nut mixture until finely ground. Add the dates and apricots and process again until the dried fruit is smooth and combined with the nuts.
- Add the cinnamon, cacao, tahini, honey and pinch of sea salt, then process for 90 seconds until the mixture starts clumping together and looks evenly mixed.
- Remove the blade of the food processor. Fill a small bowl with water, and another with the coconut.
- Wet hands slightly, then begin rolling the mixture into small ping pong-sized balls, about 1” rounds. Roll each ball in coconut to coat.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge up to two weeks.