This protein ball recipe makes paleo and vegan friendly dark chocolate energy bites with pistachios. They’re a crunchy, lightly sweet, delicious NO BAKE snack! These little chocolate balls are naturally sweetened and full of healthy fats. With a low carb and keto option, so that everyone can enjoy these tasty treats!
Just letting you know this chocolate pistachio balls/bite recipe was originally published in 2015. I retested, rephotographed, updated content and URL. I hope you enjoy. Thank you for following Cotter Crunch Y’all!.
I have a couple of quick notes regarding the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe. Because you can make the protein ball recipe keto friendly, I want to give you plenty of ingredient options.
Keto Protein Ball Recipe Notes
If you can find keto-friendly maple syrup that isn’t full of unhealthy chemicals, by all means, use it! Honestly, it’s not an easy ingredient to find. So instead, I suggest that you use xylitol syrup. Just keep in mind that the texture of the protein balls will be a little different than if you use pure maple syrup or honey.
- Cocoa powder
We’re using unsweetened dark cocoa powder to make this recipe, which makes them low carb, but not necessarily keto. To be sure the energy bites are keto-friendly, you can use shredded, unsweetened coconut instead.
- Protein powder
Not all brands of protein powder are keto compliant. So, you will need to read the label to be sure that the brand you use is approved for your diet.
Other chocolate protein ball ingredients to have on hand!
- Pistachios (unshelled)
- Maple Syrup or sweetener of choice
- Dark Chocolate
- No Stir Nut or Seed Butter. Tahini also works great!
I make a lot of protein balls, energy bites… whatever you want to call them. Sometimes I use almonds, like in The Ultimate No Bake Breakfast Cookie Bites. But, the combination of chocolate and pistachios is, in my opinion, hard to beat. It is my favorite nut, which happens to be in my favorite color. Pistachio green!
Because these are no bake energy bites, there isn’t much prep necessary. Just a couple of steps and you are good to go!
Pulse the nuts and chocolate in a food processor or high speed blender. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add in the rest of your ingredients and shape into a large ball!
Once you have that large ball of batter, section off a tablespoon or more and roll into a smaller golf size ball. Then coat in extra crushed pistachio!
Look how pretty! Once you’re done staring at the pretty protein balls (LOL), transfer the freezer to chill.
Should protein balls be kept in the freezer?
You don’t have to store them in the freezer, but for the best flavor and “shelf life”, definitely keep them cold. Although, since part of the process of making the protein ball recipe involves freezing them, it makes sense to store the protein balls there.
Do I have to use protein powder to make the energy bites?
I call this a protein ball recipe, but not necessarily because of protein powder. Pistachios on their own are a great source of protein. If you prefer not to use protein powder, you can make the bites with coconut flour or flour instead.
This protein ball recipe makes crunchy, lightly sweet, delicious HEALTHY BITE! In fact, the texture reminds me of a Krinkle bar. They’re crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside. Can you handle that?
This combo is so good I shared them with only a few of my favorite people, then ate the rest within a few days. They are ALL gone, which means I need to make more stat! I’m okay with that. It seems to be a good problem, ya know?
Because these protein bites are UBER healthy! Packed with all the good fats you need, plus antioxidants.
That being said, let’s get to the protein ball recipe.
No Bake Chocolate Pistachio Protein Ball Recipe
- Total Time: 12 minute
- Yield: 15 –17 balls 1x
This protein ball recipe makes paleo and vegan friendly dark chocolate energy bites with pistachios. They’re a crunchy, lightly sweet, delicious NO BAKE snack!
- 1 cup pistachios, shell removed
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate (finely chopped or finely ground in a food processor) – see notes for keto
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (20–25 grams) coconut flour, protein powder, or oat flour
- ¼ cup (heaping) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup almond butter or tahini (smooth, no stir variety)
- ¼ to ⅓ cup maple syrup or honey (start with ¼ cup and adjust as needed) – see notes for keto
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional – extra ground pistachio or cocoa powder to coat bites
- Blend pistachios in a food processor or chop finely with a chef’s knife. Transfer into a large bowl and whisk in all the remaining dry ingredients. Add the syrup and vanilla extract and and any other add ins.
- Mix well (I use my hands) then roll into bite size balls.
- If the batter is too dry add more almond butter and/or syrup. If it’s too wet, add more protein powder, oat flour, or coconut flour.
- Freeze balls on a cookie sheet and once frozen, coat bites in extra cocoa or ground pistachios, if desired.
- Makes about 15-17 bites. Freeze or keep in refrigerator to maintain freshness.
- shredded unsweetened coconut maybe be used in place of dark chocolate for keto option.
- Xylitol syrup to replace maple syrup. NOTE: the texture and consistency will vary.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: n/a
- Category: snacks
- Method: no bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 85
- Sugar: 1.4 g
- Sodium: 12 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.1 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Protein: 3.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Keywords: protein ball recipe, energy bites, keto, no bake, vegan, paleo
What is your favorite chocolate nut combo? Are you a protein ball fan?
Great recipe! I found they were quite moist, but I am heavy handed on ingredients! And perhaps need a wee bit more sweetener? I used sugar free ingredients and rolled them in crushed unsalted peanuts. Would definitely make again!
Oh good to know! Thanks for the feedback Suzy! What protein powder did you use?
The best combination! Love how easy these are to put together!
Thank you, Suzy!
These are great to have on hand when I need a little snack. They really satisfy my sweet tooth without blowing my diet!
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed!
I love how easy this is to make!! My kids loved it!
Thanks, Toni! Glad they loved these!
What a great idea! Looks delicious!
Thank you, Laura!
I’m always looking for new recipes for protein balls! LOVE these! thanks for sharing
You’re welcome! Glad you love them!
I made them over the weekend and I love them! I will definitely make them again and add them to my regular rotation!
So glad to hear that! Thanks, Lauren!
Wow. Wow. Wow. These are DELICIOUS and so easy to make. I substituted the coconut flour with flax seed and just threw everything in the food processor.
Thank you, Jessica! So glad you enjoyed these!
Is this one cup pistachios measured out in the shells – then shelled to proceed with the recipe or 1 c shelled?
1 cup shelled!
It’s one cup unshelled. I’ll be sure to update that in recipe! Thanks
The food is very attractive. I love this dish.
Honey isn’t vegan 🙁
Oh sorry, yes I meant to give maple syrup as vegan option.
These treats look amazing! But I’m confused about the unshelled pistachios. It’s one cup in the shell or is it suppose to be 1 cup already shelled? Thanks! Looking forward to making these soon!
oh, sorry about that. Yes, unshelled 1 cup. Keep me posted!
Anyone else find these to be super dry? I added a lot more almond butter and honey, but they are still dry. If I make these again, I would probably start out using much less coconut flour.
will not that. And I just sent you an email. I had other try this too and work out great. sorry about that.
I like sunflower seeds and milk chocolate.
Pistachio and white chocolate!
To be totally honest, I’d much rather have these than a different product. I’m digging the flavor profile and can I get an Amen for pistachios. One of my favorite nuts.
Love pistachios! And thanks for giving a lower sugar option! My favorite combo would be dark chocolate and cashews 🙂
Subscribed to newsletter too
dark chocolate and almonds
Subscribed to your newsletter! I LOVE your recipes 🙂
Ugh, this is a tough one. Prob a scoop of NuttZo Power Fuel with a square or two of stevia-sweetened dark chocolate.
Angela @ Happy fit mama
I can’t get enough of chocolate and almonds. Mmmmmmmm!
I love chocolate covered almonds. I have never tried a chocolate covered pistachio but it sounds interesting!
Let me know if you do!
Dark chocolate and almonds! thank you!
Good choice lee
my favorite.. chocolate & almonds!
I can’t wait to try these!
I like chocolate and pecans in truffles, so I know I will enjoy these truffle size bites. I really enjoy coconut and pistachios & I am mostly vegan, but vegetarian. Thanks for another great paleo recipe!
This look fabulous! My favorite nut/chocolate combo would probably be salty peanuts with milk chocolate – that sweet & salty combo gets me every time!
I love dark chocolate and almonds combined. There’s just something about those two together…
Natalie @ A Fit Philosophy
Ooooh crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside! My kind of treat! <3
Milk chocolate and peanuts
I just love dark chocolate and all-natural peanut butter – not the super sweet peanut butter with all the additives!
Dark chocolate + Sea Salt + Almonds or Pistachios! also subscribed to the newsletter!
Beverley @ sweaty&fit
Mmm!! I saw this on instagram and died. Not to mention that those pistachios are gorgeous. Pinning this!
oh yay! You would love them then Beverley!
I need these. Like immediately.
I love dark chocolate and almond!
Brittany @ Barr & Table
Ooh gotta get my hands on these bites!! I love dark chocolate cashews and peanuts!
Dark chocolate and salted cashews!
Pistachio chocolate is an awesome combo! Never had the two paired with coconut, what a great flavor idea
Jen @ Chase the red grape
This IS my favourite choc and nut combo! Girl you did it again with another winner! Those green jewels just shine through and make these bites so inviting! 🙂
Almond + dark chocolate = fantastic flavors. I need more pistachios in my life.
Dark chocolate and pistachios!
I subscribed too!
Chocolate and any nut strikes my fancy!
chocolate and almonds are always a winning combo in my world!
I love the turtles made with pretzels, caramel and chocolate!
Entered to win! I want your bites! 🙂
This flavor combo sounds pretty much perfect!
Dark chocolate and peanuts
Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut!!
I love, love, love dark chocolate and almonds! Thanks for the awesome giveaway : )
I love chocolate and sunbutter.
Abby @ BackAtSquareZero
There is no way chocolate and nuts can be wrong.
So excited for healthy bites.
My favorite has to be peanut butter cups! Of course almond butter or the pistachio butter ones we made were right up there… I don’t really discriminate with nut butters! 😉
Thats so smart! I can’t wait to try this recipe. My favorite recipe is gluten free pizza I use my Paleo Pizza Crust. Its easy and healthy! Heres an amazing recipe for it: http://paleolunch.net/paleo-pizza-recipe/
What a unique combo! You have so many great ideas! As for me? Can’t go wrong with ANY nut and chocolate…But I love the simple dark chocolate with almonds kind of crunch in my mouth! Fingers crossed for the giveaway – you are so generous!
Holy Moly – these looks amazing. I absolutely love pistachios and basically any kind of chocolate. These are right up my alley!
I love chocolate any way I can get it, but I agree with you. Pistachios chocolate are an awesome combo (with cranberries!).
Chocolate and peanut butter!
just a big spoonful of peanut butter & co’s dark chocolate PB!
Melissa @ Treats With a Twist
I love any kind of dark chocolate and nuts and sea salt!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan
You seriously rocked my socks off with this months flavor!!! (Seriously, they are off)
Looks like we both had pistachios on the brain today, I love pistachios and chocolate a whole lot, but I think I love almond butter and dark chocolate a tad more! And thanks for the giveaway lady! I so wish you were my neighbor – then you could just give them away to ME!!! 🙂
Laura @ This Runner's Recipes
I’ve never tried chocolate and pistachio but these look so yummy! My favorite chocolate nut combo is chocolate and cashews. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with chocolate and any nut.
So my ‘Bars & Bites’ Pinterest board has basically been taken over by all of these recipes you’ve been sharing lately! LOL! And every week I tell myself I’m going to try them.. and then I always get caught up. I NEED to try this one though. They look so yummy!
Sam @ PancakeWarriors
I’m pretty sure two boxes of bites is a better gift anyway!! Oh I just love pistachios!! These sound amazing, can’t wait to try them!
I love chocolate and almonds, but I KNOW this one is good too! I’m subscribed to your newsletter via [email protected] 🙂
YAY! <3 it thanks
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
Oh, Lindsay… you just have the best balls.
i know I know. 😉
I am a big fan of chocolate covered cashews! But these sound yummy too; can’t go wrong with chocolate!
I love chocolate/hazelnut
I love dark chocolate almonds!
Megan @ Skinny fitalicious
We are so on the same wavelength. I just made some pistachios bites last weekend not with chocolate though. I need to try yours! Pistachios & chocolate sound heavenly.
oh can’t wait to check them out!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats
peanuts and chocolate! Haha classic
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
Pistachios are love!!! A labor of love to manually shell…but so worth every moment of finger pain 😉
Jody - Fit at 57
OMG – yummmmmmmmmmmm – pistachios are amazing AND coconut!!!!!!!
I suppose we should not name a candy bar! 😉
Pistachios, chocolate and coconut sounds awesome-could be one of my new favorite combos!
chocolate and peanut butter
Holy jeez, pistachios have been my everything lately! I can’t get enough. They’re my favorite nut, by far. If I had to pick a favorite nut/chocolate combo I would say the peanut clusters my mother makes every year for Christmas.
well can she make more for me? haha
These look so fun! Usually I’m all about the peanuts and chocolate, but now I want to give pistachios a whirl.
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
Yum! I love your healthy bites!!
I have never combined pistachio w/ chocolate but I love both so how could anyone go wrong with this?
I love dark chocolate and raspberry combo! Everything Cotter does is divine!!
These will be great for my kids lunches! I cant wait to make them! I just pinned them!
let me know when you do!
Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
These look deeeeelicious. Pistachios are so great. Definitely an underrated nut! Plus, chocolate. DUH <3 Pinning!
Pistachio mmmm! These look great and the recipe relatively simple too! Pistachio is definitely a popular recipe ingredient choice at the moment, but I like this recipe the most! 🙂
Ps. Hiking pics were published last week. Hope you get a chance to take a look as I know you appreciate that kind of thing too. 😀
how did i miss those? off to read now!
I love chocolate covered almonds! Mmm
No joke….I was just thinking yesterday how I needed to incorporate pistachios in my next chocolate baking endeavor! These look divine and I have all the ingredients here already. 🙂
yea baby! <3
I love just about any variation of nuts and dark chocolate ?
My favorite chocolate/nut combination is dark chocolate with hazelnuts.
I subscribed to the newsletter.
Erin @ The Almond Eater
Chocolate and pistachios go so well together but I feel like pistachios don’t get used nearly enough. LOVE THESE.
me too! they are the coolest nut! haha
Michele @ paleorunningmomma
This looks incredible! Favorite chocolate nut combo is probably chocolate almond but I also love pecans, so anything with pecans wins for me. Chocolate pistachio sounds amazing and the coconut of course makes it even better 🙂
Cara's Healthy Cravings
Love this flavour combo! My fav biscotti recipe is chocolate pistachio, so I know I would love these. That being said chocolate pistachio is at the top of my list followed closely by chocolate and peanuts 🙂
ohhh i need to make that flavor next!
I love chocolate, almonds, and coconut! Pistachio is one of my favorite nuts though!
Susie @ Suzlyfe
You do realize that chocolate, pistachio, and coconut are like a dream for me, right? STOP INVADING MY MIND AND MAKING MY DREAMS COME TRUE.
Wait. Don’t. I didn’t mean that.
I love hazelnut and dark chocolate together!