These Chocolate Nut Free Protein Balls are packed with health benefits from dates, and chocolate plant protein. Delicious and chewy, these no-bake bites are the perfect healthy gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free lunchbox treat, post-workout snack, or afternoon pick-me-up! Make them in advance to enjoy throughout the week.
Why You’ll Love These Nut Free Protein Balls
It’s no secret that we love protein balls recipes! In fact, at one point we even turned it into a business. True story. With countless recipes like coconut chocolate protein balls, no-bake oatmeal energy balls, and these nut free chocolate protein balls, we always have a batch on hand!
While we love them all, this nut-free recipe is one of our faves. Here are a few reasons why:
- 6 staple ingredients are all you need.
- Made with 0 baking, they’re super easy to whip up.
- Nut-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, they fit a variety of dietary needs.
- Bite-sized and poppable, they’re perfect for taking on the go.
- You get tons of chocolate flavor in every bite to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you full!
Think chocolate can’t be good for you? Think again! We’re redefining healthy snacks with these nut free protein balls! Not only are they irresistibly tasty, but they’re also:
- Rich in plant-based iron
- A good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Refined sugar–free – We aren’t even using honey or maple syrup! Instead, dates provide natural sugar making these protein balls naturally sweet while adding fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, and vitamin B6!
- Rich in plant-based protein
The 6 Nutritious Ingredients You’ll Need
Unlike store-bought protein treats that are made with long lists of often not-so-great ingredients, these nut free protein balls come together with just 6 nutritious foods! Here’s what you need:
- Dates – Not only do these contribute a sweet taste and tons of nutrients, but they also act as a “glue” holding the balls together.
- Sunflower Seed Butter – Used for a boost of seedy flavor and healthy fats while working with the dates to hold the rest of the ingredients together.
- Plant-Based Protein Powder – We love to use plant-based chocolate protein powder for a high-quality protein source that’s boosted with nutrients. However, any chocolate protein powder you like best can be used. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture of your ball may change.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Used to enhance the chocolate flavor. Plus, it’s a great source of antioxidants!
- Coconut Milk – Use as needed to combine the “batter” and create a rich, creamy taste.
- Dark Chocolate Chips (Vegan Friendly) – Folded into the batter for a slight crunch and rich pockets of decadent dark chocolate in every bite.
Flavor Variations and Ingredient Substitutions
One of the great things about protein ball recipes is that they’re super versatile! As long as they hold together, you really can’t go wrong. For instance, some of our favorite variations for these nut free protein balls include:
- Using Different Protein – Feel free to mix and match your favorite protein flavors to switch up the taste completely.
- Swapping Out the Sunflower Butter – Replace the sunflower butter with tahini or pumpkin seed butter instead to create a completely new flavor while keeping these balls nut-free. Of course, if you don’t have a nut allergy, nut butter including cashew butter, peanut butter, and almond butter all work well, too.
- Using Toppings – Drizzle melted chocolate and coconut flakes or chocolate shavings on top for extra texture and a boost of flavor.
- Turning them into Bars – Make these nut free protein balls even easier to make by turning them into bars! Just press the batter into a square baking pan, and place it in the fridge to set.
How to Make the Best Nut Free Protein Balls Recipe
This recipe is not only easy but also super fun to make! Plus, they’re a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Follow the steps below, and they come together in minutes.
- Soak the Dates. Add the dates to a bowl of water, and let them soak until soft.
- Pulse. Add the drained date and sunflower butter to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined.
- Combine the Ingredients. Transfer the date mixture to a large mixing bowl, and combine it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Adjust. If the batter seems too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Alternatively, if the batter is too wet, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of protein powder or cocoa powder.
- Fold. Use a spatula to gently fold in the chocolate chips until they are well-distributed in the batter.
- Roll. Once smooth, use the spatula or your hands to shape the batter into a large ball, making sure the ingredients are well-combined and no clumps remain.
- Form the Balls. Roll the batter into one large ball then divide the dough into equal-sized balls, and place them in the fridge to harden. Of course, feel free to give them a taste test first!
Pro-Tip: To enhance the chocolate flavor even more, roll your chocolate nut-free protein balls in cocoa powder before freezing!
Tips and Tricks
- Scrape the Edges. Make sure to scrape down the edges of the food processor and your mixing bowl to ensure all the ingredients are blended and well incorporated.
- Adjust the Ingredients. If your protein balls are crumbly or falling apart, add more coconut milk or sunflower butter to add moisture to the batter. Or, if the batter is too wet to mold, fold in a pinch of extra protein powder or cocoa powder as needed until it can be rolled into balls.
- Use a Cookie Scoop. For equal-sized portions, use a small cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into balls.
How to Store
Go ahead and make a bit batch of these nut free protein balls! You won’t regret it. They’re lifesavers for quick breakfasts, grab-n-go snacks, or an after-dinner dessert, and they tend to disappear fast!
Refrigerator: Once set, place the balls in a sealable bag or airtight container, and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Freezer: Store your energy bites in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Then, let them thaw in the fridge. Or, enjoy them while frozen!
More of Our Favorite
Gluten-Free Protein Balls, Bars, & Bites
Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!