These Chocolate Mocha Peanut Butter Energy Balls with Quinoa are packed full of healthy protein and delicious flavours. They make fantastic, low carb snack perfect for chocolate as well as coffee lovers.
These chocolate peanut butter energy balls contain 3 of my favourite ingredients. Chocolate, peanut butter and coffee are delicious on their own but they also work together really REALLY well!
Chocolate and peanut butter is a popular flavour combination, one I’ve used in my low carb peanut butter cookies recipe as well as chocolate chip banana muffins. I am also a fan of mocha and have used chocolate and coffee in my recipe for chocolate overnight oats as well as mocha yogurt.
But this is the first time I’ve used this trio of flavours together. And I am super happy with the results!
How healthy is this energy balls recipe
By definition energy balls are a healthy snack. They should be satiating, high in protein and ideally sweet enough to satisfy our sugar cravings. These peanut butter energy balls are exactly that!
Peanut butter is a pretty calorific ingredient but it’s also high in protein and fibre, which makes it a healthy snack. Choose good quality organic peanut butter, one that’s good for you as well as the planet, ideally without added sugar or palm oil. Either smooth or crunchy is fine as it will get pureed anyway.
Note: If your peanut butter has no added salt add a pinch of sea salt into the puree. Also, because not all peanut butter has the same consistency you may want to use a bit of ground almonds to thicken the mixture. I used very thick peanut butter so I didn’t have to.
You can use either regular or decaffeinated coffee in this recipe. Although espresso makes a better beverage than instant coffee in this recipe the latter works better. Simply dissolve one tablespoon of instant coffee granules in 2 tablespoons of hot water. It’s quick and easy to do.
Quinoa is another ingredient that’s high in protein and fibre, so an excellent addition to an energy balls recipe. It has a pretty neutral flavour, which makes it super versatile – suitable to use in sweet and savoury recipes alike.
Quinoa also ranks quite high in the convenience category. It cooks very quickly, and once cooled, can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can add it to salads, soups, desserts and much more!
Another fantastic quality of quinoa is that it is light and fluffy, which is especially useful in this protein balls recipe. Peanut butter as well as dates are quite dense so the addition of the quinoa loosens the mixture a little and improves the texture. I added some of the quinoa into the puree and folded the remaining quinoa in at the end. No one will know there is quinoa in these delicious energy balls!
You might also like this other quinoa protein energy balls recipe with pineapple I made a while ago.
I usually use cacao in my chocolate recipes as it’s a little healthier than cocoa but you can use either.
What about the sugar
The ‘sweet’ ingredients in this chocolate peanut butter energy balls recipe are dates and maple syrup. 20 dates and 2 tablespoons of the syrup, to be precise.
Dried dates, high in fibre, are also very high in sugar (over 60 g in 100 g of the product) so I usually opt for prunes as my sweetener (prunes contain roughly half the sugar of dates). Prunes worked really well in this chocolate energy balls recipe, for example. In this recipe, however, sweet dates (which also have a nice hint of caramel) work better. Besides, coffee as well as cocoa are quite bitter so the sugar is necessary. That’s why I also added a bit of maple syrup to the mixture (it helps to loosen the mixture too).
Having said that, these energy balls are only moderately sweet.
- 1/3 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy, *see Recipe Notes below
- 1 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules, regular or decaf
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, loosely packed
- 20 dried dates, pitted, chopped
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- crushed peanuts or cocoa for coating
Dissolve the coffee in the water and pour the mixture over the dates. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes. Mash with the back of a spoon before combining with the other ingredients.
Puree all the ingredients (including the dates mixture) together until smooth (I used a stick blender to do this). Form small balls and roll in the crushed nuts or cocoa (or leave as they are). Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Keep refrigerated. **see Recipe Notes
*If your peanut butter does not contain salt add a pinch of fine sea salt into your mixture. Also, because not all peanut butter has the same consistency you may want to use a bit of ground almonds to thicken the mixture. I didn’t have to as I used very thick, dense peanut butter.
**If possible chill the mixture for 30 minutes before forming the balls. It will be less sticky and easier to work with.
Storing: Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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I am bringing these chocolate peanut butter energy balls to #CookBlogShare, hosted this week by The Peachicks Bakery.