Nutrition

PSA: These Vegan, No-Bake Protein Balls Taste Like Dessert

3 min read
Straight from integrative chef Blaine Arin Tacker’s arsenal: this delicious, no-bake protein balls recipe featuring a confetti cake twist. (Bonus: It’s vegan-friendly.)
Straight from integrative chef Blaine Arin Tacker’s arsenal: this delicious, no-bake protein balls recipe featuring a confetti cake twist. (Bonus: It’s vegan-friendly.)

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Peanut butter and jelly, hot chocolate and marshmallows, cheese and wine… Let’s be real: Some things are just better together. Take this recipe for Confetti Cake Protein Bites—a clean, high-protein, vegan snack option that combines a delectable, dessert-like flavor with a bevy of nutrient-rich ingredients. (Shoutout to integrative chef Blaine Arin Tacker, who created this recipe exclusively for us!)

Before we get into the how-to, here’s a quick rundown of why you may want to reach for a high-protein snack—rather than one that’s heavy on, say, refined carbohydrates or sugar—when it comes to fueling your body. In short, protein is an essential nutrient, and consuming enough of it—ideally through a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods—is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and supporting muscle protein synthesis.* (1)

Here’s the kicker, though: Even with a so-called “perfect” approach to eating, gaps can still occur, courtesy of factors like dietary restrictions, genetic variations, and age. This applies to both micronutrients and macronutrients (protein is a macronutrient), which is where a high-quality protein powder, like Essential Protein, can come in handy: to help support those nutritional intakes.*

Speaking of nutrients, this recipe packs more than just protein—thanks to the presence of nut butter, you’ll also be getting in some healthy fats, not to mention the almond flour, which is a good source of magnesium and vitamin E.* (2)

Okay, enough talking—let’s get to eating!

Confetti Cake Protein Bites

Makes: 15 small bites

Prep time: 5 minutes

Equipment:

  • Dry and wet measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medium-size mixing bowl
  • Silicone spatula for mixing

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 scoop Essential Protein
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles—ideally without artificial colors

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together almond meal, protein powder, and salt.
  2. Add in the nut butter of your choice, along with maple syrup, almond extract, vanilla extract, and sprinkles.
  3. Time to get in there! Using clean hands, mix everything together. You’re aiming for a consistency that holds its shape when you squeeze it, but doesn’t stick to your hands too much. (You may have to play around with the ingredient ratio here—if your mix is too dry or crumbly, add a splash of maple syrup; if it’s too wet, sprinkle in some more almond meal.)
  4. Roll the “dough” into small tablespoon-size balls. If you’re feeling aesthetically inclined, roll the outside of the balls in sprinkles for extra decoration.
  5. Enjoy as a healthy snack, or refrigerate if you prefer a firmer texture (or colder temperature). These energy balls keep well-sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes:

  • This recipe is endlessly customizable, so feel free to experiment with different variations. For example, you can make cookie dough protein bites by subbing almond extract for an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract, and replacing the sprinkles with chocolate chips or dark chocolate/cacao nibs. Other fun add-ins include hemp seeds, ground flax seed, granola, chia seeds, crushed pecans… You make it yours.

References:

  1. Carbone, J. W., & Pasiakos, S. M. (2019). Dietary Protein... Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients, 11(5), 1136.
  2. Barreca, D., Nabavi, S. M., Sureda, A., Rasekhian, M., Raciti, R., Silva, A. S., Annunziata, G., Arnone, A., Tenore, G. C., Süntar, İ., & Mandalari, G. (2020). Almonds (Prunus Dulcis Mill. D. A. Webb): A Source of Nutrients... Nutrients, 12(3), 672.

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