No-bake protein pumpkin energy balls – made with dates, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, protein powder, nut butter, & chocolate chips! Ready in 5 minutes for a quick and healthy snack or dessert. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
Protein balls! Pumpkin chocolate chip protein balls to be exact.
I’m not a ‘go get a pumpkin spice latte on September 1st’ type of person, but I do really enjoy pumpkin once fall hits. I think it’s a great addition to smoothies, desserts, no-bake treats, and even savory dishes.
The best part is, pumpkin is really a nutrient-dense veggie! It is low on calories and carbs and packed with vitamin A, copper, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
And a great addition to pumpkin is chocolate chips! Along with a handful of other ingredients, you have the perfect nutrient-packed snack, healthy sweet treat, or meal prep option.
I also love them for a pre or post-workout snack too. They are super easy to pack in your bag and bring on the go. Make them on Sunday for meal prep and you will be set for the week.
PS – if you like pumpkin and chocolate chip and you haven’t tried these pumpkin chocolate chip protein muffins, they should be next on your list!
How to make protein pumpkin energy balls
These pumpkin protein energy balls come together in about 5 minutes and are super easy to make. All you need is a food processor and a handful of ingredients.
Pumpkin energy ball ingredients:
- Medjool dates
- canned pumpkin (pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling)
- cashew butter
- protein powder
- coconut flour
- pumpkin pie spice
- mini chocolate chips
First, place the dates in a food processor and pulse a few times until broken down into pieces, about 10 seconds. Next, add the cashew butter, pumpkin puree, protein powder, coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and blend until smooth and a ball of “dough” forms.
Then break up the dough and fold in chocolate chips. I usually transfer the dough to a bowl to do this. Finally, using a tablespoon as a scoop, form into equal size balls (makes about 12).
Store in the fridge or freezer and enjoy!
How to store energy balls
Protein balls should be stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed glass container. They will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks but are usually gone much faster than that in our house.
To store in the freezer, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place energy balls on them, spreading out evenly. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, you can store them in a freezer-safe bag or dish. Freezing them beforehand makes sure they don’t stick together when transferring to a bag.
Why are my protein balls sticky?
If your protein balls are too sticky, you will want to add a binder to help them come together. This can happen due to the different consistencies of protein powders, as some are more absorbent than others. To remedy this, you could simply add more protein powder or coconut flour until the batter comes together and a dough forms. You could also add some rolled oats as they will work the same.
Substitutions for pumpkin energy balls
Here are a few substitutions and modifications if needed. I have not tried all of these substitutions, but they should work with a little experimenting.
- cashew butter – any kind of nut butter will work or even a seed butter if you are allergic to nuts. Try almond, peanut, sunbutter (sunflower seed butter), or tahini (sesame seed paste).
- protein powder – most protein powders should work (vegan, whey, collagen…). Depending on the consistency of the powder, you may have to adjust the quantity. Plant-based protein has a thicker consistency and I would think you would need more protein powder if using whey or collagen. If you don’t have protein powder, I would substitute rolled oats or use more coconut flour.
- coconut flour – if you don’t have coconut flour, you could use more protein powder, rolled oats/oat flour, or almond flour. Coconut flour is super absorbent, so it might be more of something else if substituting.
More healthy protein snack recipes
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins
- Perfect Bar Recipe
- Yogurt Bowl
- Pumpkin Protein Bars
- Apple Cinnamon Protein Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Bars
Protein Pumpkin Energy Balls
- Place the dates in a food processor and pulse a few times until broken down into pieces, about 10 seconds. Add cashew butter, pumpkin puree, protein powder, coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and blend until smooth and a ball of "dough" forms.
- Break up the dough and fold in chocolate chips. Using a tablespoon as a scoop, form into equal size balls (makes about 12 - each one is roughly 29 grams). Store in the fridge or freezer and enjoy!
Recipe by Kelly Nardo, Eat the Gains | Photography by The Mindful Hapa
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