Strawberries and Cream Energy Balls are a healthy snack both kids and adults will love. Vegan, Paleo, and free of refined sugar, these tasty treats come together in just 10 minutes and are freezer-friendly.
Why You'll Love these Strawberries and Cream Energy Balls
If you grew up eating Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Frozen Dessert Bars like I did, this recipe will feel mighty nostalgic for you. These vegan and Paleo energy bites are packed with nutritious, satiating ingredients like nuts, seeds, and fruit.
They come together in just 10 minutes and will become a household favorite snack. Blitz up a batch and store them in the fridge, and you have healthy treats on deck any time hunger strikes. I personally love them for bridging the gap between breakfast and lunch, or pulling me out of the 3PM slump.
- Each energy ball delivers 4g of protein, and almost 2g of fiber, plus a host of good-for-you nutrients.
These energy balls are also super adaptable. Not a fan of coconut? No problem--there are instructions for achieving the perfect texture without out.
Strawberries not your jam? Swap them for any freeze-dried fruit you fancy! Hate the taste of dates? I promise you can't even detect them in the recipe. (They're just here to add natural sweetness and binding power.)
The beauty of these bites is they come together completely in the food processor--no other tools needed! Plus, they require minimal time and ingredients, and offer more nutritional perks than most snacks on the market. Here's how to make them:
- Blend the cashews until finely chopped. I prefer blending the nuts first to ensure no larger chunks sneak into the energy balls. Also, it's important to use RAW cashews, as opposed to roasted/salted. This will throw off the flavor and add too much salt to these sweet treats.
- Next, add the dates, coconut, cashew butter, maple syrup, seeds, vanilla, and salt, and blend until the mixture clumps together. As far as seeds, I prefer using hemp seeds because they have a soft texture and mild flavor. Plus, they up the protein ante and add heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
- Lastly, add the strawberries and blend until they are well-dispersed in the mixture. (You'll likely need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to manually mix them in.) Luckily, their texture is very delicate so they break apart easily.
- Scoop the mixture into 24 equal portions, and roll them into balls. I like to roll them in more shredded coconut to give them a crunchy coating, however this is totally optional.
- Finally, transfer the balls to the refrigerator to let them chill for 30 minutes!
I like to crush more freeze-dried strawberries to sprinkle over top, too. It just gives them a bright pop of color, however also optional. At this point, you can leave the balls in the fridge for up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.
While not ALL energy balls have stellar nutrition profiles, these certainly do. In fact, here's a breakdown of what each ingredient has to offer, in terms of nutrition:
- Cashews: Tree nuts such as cashews are a good course of protein, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and vitamin E. Healthy eating guidelines recommend eating nuts several days a week, which includes nut butters, too.
- Medjool Dates: While dates are naturally high in sugar, they're a great alternative to refined sugar because they offer nutritional perks, too. They're a great source of potassium, and also offer calcium and phosphorus, which all contribute to bone health. Dates also have a decent amount of fiber, which help mitigate their effect on blood sugar levels.
- Shredded Coconut: Coconut is comprised of about 90% saturated fat, which would normally sound some nutrition alarms. However, the type of fatty acids in coconut are about 65% medium-chain triglycerides, also known as MCTs. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, which make up the majority of fats in our diet, MCTs are more bioavailable for energy in our bodies. While I don't suggest using coconut-based products in abundance, I think in moderation they can absolutely be part of a healthy diet.
- Maple Syrup: While still considered an added sugar, maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index than granulated or brown sugar. Plus, it boasts disease-fighting antioxidants (darker grades deliver more than lighter ones).
- Hemp and Chia Seeds: Both of these tiny yet mighty seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and omega-3 fatty seeds. I prefer hemp over chia in this recipe, however use whichever you have on hand!
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries: What I love about this product is that for MOST brands, the ONLY ingredient on the list is STRAWBERRIES! No added sugar or sulfur--just dried fruit in all of its crunchy glory.
FAQS and Expert Tips:
How Do You Store Energy Balls?
Store these energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 1 week, or freezer up to 1 month. (No need to thaw if frozen; they're just firmer in texture.)
How Long Do Energy Balls Last?
These energy balls should be remain refrigerated to prolong their storage life. If left at room temperature for too long, you may notice they start feeling "greasy." This is just the natural oils from the nuts/nut butter, however it can make the coconut crust loose its crunch.
Therefore, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, and try to minimize the time they're left out at room temperature. Give these healthy energy balls a try and they will become your go-to snack. And be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
More Healthy Snack Recipes
Strawberries and Cream Energy Balls
- Food processor
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 6 pitted Medjool dates
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided (optional, see Notes below)
- ⅓ cup creamy cashew butter (I buy Trader Joe's brand)
- 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds or chia seeds
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ⅓ cup freeze-dried strawberries (I buy from Amazon or Trader Joe's)
- Place cashews in a blender and blend until finely chopped. Add dates, ¼ cup of the coconut, cashew butter, maple syrup, seed of choice, vanilla, and salt; blend until mixture is well-combined and clumps together. Add strawberries; blend until dispersed throughout mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides and manually mix in as needed.
- Turn mixture out into a bowl. Use a small cookie scoop or Tablespoon to measure out 24 equal portions; roll into balls.
- Spread remaining ½ cup coconut on a plate, and roll each ball in coconut. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.