If the dawn of fall brings thoughts of pumpkin spice lattes and plenty of seasonal sweet treats, then you’re in the right place. However, what you won’t find with these pumpkin spice protein balls is butter, added sugar, eggs or anything refined for that matter. Instead, you’ll find four simple ingredients: oats, almonds, dates and pumpkin pie spice.
We whipped these up last week as the weather was starting to cool and it was rainy outside. As the pulse of the food processor brought all of the ingredients together, the aroma of pumpkin pie spice filled the air – it was almost enough for me to wish summer good riddance, even though it’s undoubtedly one of my favorite seasons. But fall? It takes a close second.
If you’ve ever had a Larabar then you know the sweet simplicity that is a well made snack bar. While you can press these little beauties into bars, we highly recommend following through and opting for the balls: It’s way more fun and it yields more servings. That’s a win-win if you ask us.
We deemed these “protein balls” because one batch has one half cup of whole, raw almonds which contains around 30 grams of protein. Divide that by roughly 10 balls and you’ve got almost 3 grams of protein per ball! Not bad for a calorie-conscious snack.
Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls
Yields 10-12 balls | vegan/gluten-free optional
18 pitted dates
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for GF)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
* Add more pumpkin spice, or a dash of pumpkin butter if you prefer the flavor a bit more bold.
Directions | Place the dates in a food processor with the “s” blade and mix until they’re in small pieces. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until only fine pieces remain. If a bit of batter sticks between your fingers and feels “doughy,” you’re in a good place. If it’s not sticking together, add a few more dates and pulse. Next, scoop out 1 Tablespoon measurements and carefully form into balls. Placing one hand in a plastic bag while forming the balls will make the process a lot easier and less messy.
And that’s it! It’s about a 5 minute process and you have a tasty fall treat on your hands. For just 80-85 calories and 9 grams of sugar per serving (one ball), you can’t beat it – especially considering a tall, non-fat pumpkin spice latte will set you back 200 calories and 37 grams of sugar!
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September 17th, 2012