In our home, we try to not consume processed foods. But let’s be honest, sometimes that’s hard — especially with kids. Enter (the Ella-named) Cashew Coconut Yum Yum Balls. They’re perfect for an on-the-go mini-meal or snack. I love having one alongside an entrée salad for a light lunch. Or I’ll have one after dinner if I need a little something extra. They’re even a nice substitute for dessert. Ella loves one as a snack or a couple with a piece of fruit for breakfast.
My goal with these balls was to make an easily transportable high protein and high fat item (for satiety) without grains or added sugar that both kids and adults would enjoy. Protein and fat balls are not a new concept and I took inspiration from several other variations on the web. What sets these apart is the lack of added sugar and the very low amount of naturally occurring sugar from the dates. If you’re trying to keep your sugar intake as close to zero as possible, you can simply omit the dates. If you want them sweet but don’t want the sugar add some stevia. Since making the cashew version, Ella has requested “a chocolate one” so we created one with peanuts and cacao, which I’ll post to the blog soon.
Because there is a lot of fat in these balls, they do best stored in the freezer. I make a big batch and freeze them. Then I pull a few out at a time and keep them for a couple of days in the refrigerator (so they’re not frozen when the desire for one strikes). That said, if you take one out of the freezer and let it sit for 10-15 minutes at room temp, they thaw out perfectly. This recipe can be made pesco-vegetarian if you use a marine based collagen powder or it can be made vegan if you substitute an unflavored plant-based protein powder for the collagen powder. I currently use this grass-fed beef-based collagen. My favorite cashew butter of all time is Moxie Nosh’s which is made with a little cinnamon and coconut oil and therefore keeps the flavor profile of these balls spot on.
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup salted macadamia nuts
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 pitted and diced medjool dates
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup melted coconut butter/mana
- ½ cup collagen protein powder
- ½ cup cashew butter
- ¼ cup almond milk
- Optional: Stevia. I don't include it as I think their subtle sweetness is perfect without it. But if you want them sweeter try the equivalent to 2 Tsp sugar — the actual amount needed will vary depending on what type of stevia you use.
- Place the nuts and coconut into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are chopped very fine.
- Add in the diced dates and pulse until incorporated.
- Sprinkle in the cinnamon and pulse again.
- Add the melted coconut butter, collagen protein powder, cashew butter and pulse a few times to partially incorporate. The dough will be thick, so you may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of your food processor a few times to get it all mixed in.
- Finally, run the food processor while slowly adding the almond milk and continue running the processor until the dough is homogenous.
- Set out a sheet tray for forming the balls. Tip: make sure the tray will fit flat in your freezer. If it doesn't use another flat surfaced kitchen item like a plate or two. You'll need to freeze the balls solid before transferring them to a container for storage.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop out some dough and roll it with your hands into a ball.
- Place formed balls onto the sheet tray.
- Place all formed balls into freezer to freeze solid (about 1 hour) then you can transfer them to a storage container.