The pumpkin seeds used in this recipe, also known as “pepitas”, are the green, flat oval-shaped fruit inside the hard white outer shell of seeds we commonly scoop out of pumpkins during the fall. Not only delicious, they are surprisingly nutritious! Pumpkin-seed protein is a very high-quality protein — comparable to soy protein — containing all of the essential amino acids.
They’re also a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that reduce inflammation and risk factors of chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
It may be pure coincidence, but I have nibbled on pumpkin seeds the last few days as I prepared LOTS of energy balls for last Sunday’s Triangle VegFest. And this morning my blood pressure was the lowest it has been in years… 108/64! So, I’m a fan! You will be too as soon as you take your first bite.
Total Time: 25-30 minutes
Category: Snack, Dessert
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen
- 2 cups organic dates, pitted
- 1 1/2 cups organic gluten-free* old-fashioned oats
- 3/4 cups canned organic pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups organic roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Reserve 1 1/4 cups for coating balls If mixing by hand, roughly chop 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds before adding to mixture.
- 2 tablespoons organic chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons organic ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Optional: 1/2 cup dairy-free, vegan chocolate chips. Add AFTER all other ingredients are well combined.
- Soak dates in warm water for 5-10 minutes.
- Drain dates in colander or sieve.
- Line one small and one large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mixing the Energy Balls
- Use a food processor or high speed blender to finely chop dates.
- Use the pulse function and stop when they have a slightly smooth yet still chunky texture.
- Over processing will result in a gummy consistency which will diminish the taste and “bite” of the energy balls.
- If you have a large, powerful food processor you can add all of the remaining ingredients and process on pulse, frequently scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate without over processing.
- Alternatively, put all ingredients – roughly chop pumpkin seeds first – in a large mixing bowl and start with a spatula to combine.
- If using chocolate chips, add to mixture and knead or stir gently to combine.
- You can give the chips a rough chop if you prefer smaller pieces of chocolate.
Rolling the Energy Balls
- Pour the reserved 1 1/4 cups of whole pumpkin seeds onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Have the large baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready as well.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion the mixture and keep a consistent size.
- Scoop the mixture so you have an even scoop – use a butter knife to scrape any extra back into bowl.
- Press the cookie scoop handle to release the mixture into the palm of one hand.
- Use the palms of both hands to roll each scoop into a nice, round ball.
- You might want to wear food grade disposable gloves for this step. Otherwise, have a bowl of clean water nearby and wet your hands frequently to prevent stickiness.
- As soon as the energy ball is nice and round, roll it in the pumpkin seeds on the small baking sheet until evenly coated. Press lightly, if needed.
- Transfer coated energy balls to the large baking sheet also lined with parchment paper.
- Be sure to coat as you go, otherwise the seeds will not stick.
- Repeat this process until all of the mixture is rolled.
- Transfer balls to an airtight container and chill for at least one hour.
*You can substitute regular old-fashioned oats for gluten-free. Of course, the recipe is no longer gluten-free if you make this swap.
- Energy balls will keep in refrigerator for one week.
- I have not tried freezing this energy ball recipe yet…we eat them too fast!
- They should freeze nicely for up to one month. Be sure to thaw in refrigerator for an hour or two before eating.
A note about organic ingredients:
Organic ingredients are always preferred but sometimes budget and/or lack of availability lead to choosing conventional items instead. Don’t worry, we are all doing our best. Scan the sales and stock up on the organic items you use regularly if possible. Be proud of making healthy food for yourself and others. Every positive step make a positive impact. You’re doing great!
Find it online: https://veganfriendlycooking.com/pumpkin-spice-energy-balls/