Carob Walnut Energy Balls
These carob walnut energy balls are a direct inspiration from a dessert (carob walnut halva) I had last night at one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas called Kalachandji's. It's Dallas' longest serving vegetarian restaurant where an Ayurvedic art of cooking for the body, mind and spirit is practiced using only the freshest and best ingredients. If you happen to be in DFW or are based in DFW, I highly suggest you visit this place for a wholesome experience (no, they did not pay me to say these things, I really really really like this restaurant). I am not a big fan of Indian sweets (unless it's fresh hot jalebis) so naturally I was a bit hesitant to try carob walnut halva and while I did not care much for the texture of the halva, I surely enjoyed the earthy taste of carob with walnuts together.
Carob and walnut energy balls begin with oat flour and carob; carob comes from the pod of a tree which contains a sweet, edible pulp. The pulp is dried and roasted then grounded into a powder called carob flour/carob powder. Carob is a distant relative of unsweetened cocoa powder in terms of color and texture but it has a unique, almost earthy and rich flavor. Nutritionally speaking, compared with plain cocoa powder, plain carob powder is lower in fat but significantly higher in carbohydrates and sugar however, the ultimate nutritional value depends upon how you use them in a recipe. Carob provides significant amount of calcium (about three times as much as you’d get from cocoa), but cocoa is high in other micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and flavanols. For all my caffeine sensitive people, since carob is caffeine free, it's definitely an ingredient you want to explore if you want something chocolate-ish.
For the rest of us (chocolate + caffeine lovers), carob is not a replacement for chocolate/unsweetened cocoa powder. In case you don't have carob on hand or not a fan of carob, I am sure using unsweetened cocoa powder is just fine, it will taste more chocolately, which I don't think is a problem.
Like these raw energy bites, the rest of the ingredients are pretty flexible in terms of nuts and sweetener of your choice, and the outer coating. The whole idea is to create an energy ball that will fit your dietary habits, use ingredients you like, and have a wholesome snack handy when you need an afternoon pick-me-up snack or pre workout fuel. Carob walnut energy balls are also naturally gluten-free (given you use GF oat flour) and vegan-friendly (replace honey with maple syrup or agave nectar). There is really no hard and fast rule on how much nuts/seeds/oat flour to use here but if you decide to add more dry ingredients (nuts/seeds), add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil and honey (or as needed) in order to bind everything together to form a ball.
You can also double/triple/quadruple the recipe if you'd like because these balls are pretty addictive/nutritious/delicious! Remember to lightly oil your palms while rolling these balls and after that comes the fun part - we get to pick and choose our toppings. I went with chia seeds, coconut, and sunflower seed flour but the possibilities are endless. I can see sesame seeds, carob powder, pistachio/pumpkin powder etc working great here. One bowl, nutritious, delicious snack on the fly = Carob Walnut Energy Balls. There is no reason not to make them STAT my friends, get on it.
Carob Walnut Energy Balls
- 1 cup old fashioned oats (or about 3/4 cup oats flour)
- 2 tablespoon carob powder
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- dash of sea salt
- 2-3 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
- scant 3 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- coconut chips, chia seeds, sunflower seeds flour
- In a large bowl combine oat flour, carob powder, sea salt, and walnut together.
- Pour coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract into the bowl slowly combining them together.
- Lightly oil your hand and take a little bit (about 1/4 cup) of mixture and roll them into balls. If the mixture feels dry and hard to come together, add couple more teaspoon of coconut oil and honey as they work as a binder.
- Roll remaining mixture into balls.
- Gently roll them into toppings of your choice.
- Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If energy bites are your thing, may I suggest you: