These pumpkin spice balls are a perfect snack before working out or to give you an energy boost between meals. Gluten-free, vegan, and packed with a healthy combination of fat, carbs, and protein, they are suitable for most diets.
It’s not until the weather turns cooler and pops of orange start appearing on porches and doorsteps, that I start craving pumpkin. Whether it’s the actual pumpkin, the delicious spices that go with it, or the fact that I love fall, I’m not sure, but I like to think it’s the combination of it all.
While you won’t find me jumping onto diet trends (or any diet for that matter), I admit to a weakness for food trends. And why not, it’s fun, it gets you to try new foods–often healthy ones, and broadens your kitchen skills. That is how I find myself testing several batches of pumpkin spice balls. (Can you believe that I didn’t even like dates until I started making these raw balls and energy bites last year?)
These balls are similar to my chocolate energy bites and coconut cashew bliss balls, in that they all rely on Medjool dates for sweetness and sticky staying power. They are so easy to make–just throw all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse! In addition, many of these raw, no-bake recipes are really forgiving. For example, whether you could reduce the almond meal or oats in this recipe and instead use flax or hemp seeds for part of it. The key is maintaining the right ratio of dry to sticky/wet ingredients. So play around with the recipe and have fun! Try using roasted pecans to make it really taste like pumpkin pie…or sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of almonds to keep it nut free.
The only catch with these little balls is that portion control can be an issue. So if you know you have a hard time with this, freeze them right away and only take out 1 or 2 at a time. You can make them big or small, but I like to keep them on the small side so I can pop one or two in my mouth depending on what I need.
Oh, and, just for fun I tried rolling one in mini chocolate chips, no sooner than I could take a photo my 10-year old had swooped in and snatched it! I think my kids have a super sensor when it comes to chocolate! (So, um, yes, adding chocolate was definitely a hit, but also shifts this already sweet snack into the dessert category).
- 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10)
- ½ cup oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
- ½ cup almond meal/flour
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ - 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup slivered almonds (you can also use regular, chopped almonds)
- Combine dates through salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture starts forming a ball.
- Add slivered almonds and pulse some more, until chopped and combined to your liking. (If you want a smoother ball, add almonds at the same time as the rest of the ingredients).
- Tip mixture onto a clean workspace and form into about 16 balls. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze.
Mini chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)
Don’t have almond meal? Just add almonds to your food processor first and grind to a flour-like consistency!