'Tis the season for all things PUMPKIN!
Now that October is in full swing, I can't help but utilize pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in full force! This adaptation of the classic no-bake, energy bite has you enjoying a favourite flavour of the Fall!
The great thing about these raw, no-bake, energy bite recipes is that the ingredient composition is so versatile, as long as you retain the wet to dry ingredient ratio to ensure the mixture is damp and sticky enough to roll together. Given the recipe involves just gathering and measuring the ingredients, mixing them together in the food processor and rolling them into balls and chilling them in the freezer, they are a cost-effective, quick and easy snack to prepare on a regular basis. They are certainly kid-friendly and freezer-friendly, too!
Due to the fact that these energy bites all 3 macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, protein and a healthy source of fat), they form a well-balanced snack for when you're looking for that pick-me-up mid-morning or mid-afternoon!
Source: Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Yield: ~24, 1-inch balls
Total Time: 40 minutes (30 minutes in refrigerator, to chill mixture)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
8 oz. (about 1 packed cup) Medjool dates, chopped (pits removed)
1/4 cup raw, unpasteurized honey
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and sea salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the gluten-free rolled oats, shredded coconut and pumpkin seeds until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Once the mixture is cool (and easier to work with), use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape it into your desired size of energy balls (mine were about 1-inch in diameter.)
Alternately, you can line a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool, and then cut into bars.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (*Storing them in the refrigerator especially helps the energy bites hold their shape.
A rich source of beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) – converts to Vitamin A in the body
Beta-carotene is essential for eye health
A source of both dietary fiber and protein
A rich source of vitamin K[i]
A source of needed saturated fat
Possess anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties
Energy-boosting and metabolism-boosting[ii]
A rich source of copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc
Provide antioxidant support[iii]
[i] Greatist: Superfood – Pumpkin. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from http://greatist.com/health/superfood-pumpkin
[ii] Paleo Plan: Health Benefits of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut. Retrieved February 13, 2016 from http://www.paleoplan.com/ingredients/unsweetened-shredded-coconut/
[iii] The World’s Healthiest Foods: Pumpkin Seeds. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82