THESE COCONUT AND OAT BALLS ARE THE PERFECT ON THE GO SNACK FOR THOSE LONG DAYS AT UNI, AND THEY’RE ONLY A THREE STEP RECIPE!
I’ve been trying to find healthy snacks that I can easily take to lectures, so a while ago I started buying the individually packaged energy balls sold by Deliciously Ella. They’re small but tasty and provide me with long lasting energy – basically they ticked all my boxes when it comes to snack requirements. Unfortunately they don’t come cheap, and on a student budget they’re really a luxury I can’t afford. However; luckily Ella has a recipe on her blog for how to make your own! So I gave it a go and this was the result.
- Medjool dates, pitted (250g)
- Sunflower seeds (30g)
- Pumpkin seeds (30g)
- Desiccated coconut (25g)
- Date syrup* (10g)
- Gluten free oats* (55g)
So first off a couple of notes on the ingredients, (substitutions I made can be found alongside bold asterisks):
- Ella did not specify that the dates needed to be pitted but after searching several different supermarkets I quickly came to the realisation that a) you definitely don’t want date stones in your food and b) hand-pitting a packet of dates would be an arduous and messy process. After some searching I managed to find 200g ready-pitted packets in the snack isle so I purchased two of those.
- Nowhere does it mention in the ingredients list that you may like some excess desiccated coconut for dusting, but it’s worth taking into account when purchasing it – although it’s likely you’ll have plenty left over.
- The syrup Ella uses in her recipe is date syrup, however none of the supermarkets near my house had any of this in stock and when I looked at purchasing a bottle online they were £5 each. Remember how I said these were student budget friendly? (*) I substituted date syrup for golden syrup, as this is what I already had in the pantry. This may not be as healthy as date syrup so it is definitely something to bear in mind but honestly the amount in the recipe is negligible so I can’t think it’s terribly bad for you. After I made these I did discover that it is apparently possible to make your own date syrup using just dates and water, and as I had some extra dates this is something I would consider trying next time.
- The recipe calls for gluten free oats but I only had normal oats in the pantry, so guess what? I just used those. (*) As far as I can tell swapping gluten free oats for normal oats didn’t change the texture or taste of these balls at all.
- Pour the sunflower and pumpkin seeds into your food processor or blender and blend until crushed but not powdered.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to form a paste.
- Take the paste and roll it out into ten roughly even sized balls. Then roll in desiccated coconut to garnish.
As you can see it’s a pretty simple and short recipe, nothing overly-complex or time consuming. You don’t even need an oven. Here’s what I found:
- The most time consuming part of this recipe for me was trying to figure out how to use my parents food processor. If you’ve already got that down you’re good to go! I, however, spent an extra ten minutes assembling and locking the pieces of mine in place. Perfect.
- Measuring the ingredients was easy enough. I started with the seeds, then once I’d crushed them I measured the dry ingredients one at a time, pouring each straight into the processor once I had the right amount. I did the dates and then the syrup last. This meant I only had to use one bowl!
- Don’t worry if your ingredients don’t look like they will form a paste, they will. Mine looked like it was just going to be a powder at one point but a few seconds longer in the processor and it was a paste.
- In the interest of saving time, and washing up, I didn’t bother using a tablespoon to measure an equal amount of paste for each ball. Obviously if you want them to look perfect you can go for it but I did it by eye and actually ended up making them a bit smaller than the pre-packaged ones you can buy. It’s personal preference though.
- When it came to rolling them in coconut to garnish, I poured a little pile of desiccated coconut out onto a chopping board and then spread it out. I then took each ball and gently rolled it in the coconut until it was reasonably evenly coated. This method worked, however; I recommend using a shallow dish rather than a flat chopping board to avoid the coconut flying all over your counter top. Whoops!
Mine finished up looking like this
This is a great recipe and I will definitely be making these snack balls again. For now I am going to store them in an air-tight container in the fridge, as Ella recommends. Then I can simply pop one in my lunch box when I feel like it. However; apparently these will also keep in the freezer for up to a month so I might make another batch for when it’s warmer – so I can then pull one straight out and eat it like an ice-cream bite!
In total the ingredients cost me less than £5, the oats and syrup I already had for other recipes and then the specialist ingredients I managed to find on sale. Considering the pre-packaged balls cost £1.90 each I would say this is a significant saving, (about £14 to be exact) and when you consider how little effort these are to make it’s a no brainer. It’s still definitely worth shopping around for good deals and checking to see which supermarkets do their own brand version of specific ingredients, most have their own cheap seeds and nuts. Always check if you can use some sort of student discount too!
If you’ve tried making these or have another idea for a healthy, budget-friendly snack, I should try let me know in the comments!