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Dharma Kitchen

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Food Gifts: Vegan Almond Date Balls

Carrie H

Oh, these date balls are so good and they look so snowy and festive. I dare you to just eat one. I've got a friend who is sort of obsessed with these things, so I try to make them whenever I can and share them with her. Making these spawned other raw ball recipes I've concocted including the Lemon Coconut Balls and the Pumpkin Coconut Balls. Both are raw and vegan. The last time I made the pumpkin ones, I added a couple of tablespoons of dried cranberries in with the dates and walnuts, in the recipe's first step. It added a nice tart hit. Recommended! 

All of this raw ball experimentation started with the date balls, and it makes sense. In Ayurveda, dates and almonds are ojas-building foods; that is to say, they are believed to increase vitality. I could have sworn I'd posted this recipe. Someone in my yoga circle (I think) asked me for it recently and and I can't for the life of me remember who, but here you go, mystery someone. I apologize for not remembering. If it was you who asked, please leave a note in the comments section so I can thank you for the prompt.

These vegan almond date balls also travel well and I suspect you might be able to wrap them well in wax paper and ship them, say, using Priority Mail, so they fit in with the effort to help you with your food gift creations. I'd put them in a rectangular or square container so they stack more easily and don't roll around quite so much.

A few notes about substitutions here: I've also used agave nectar (not as good, but works in a pinch) along with peanut butter instead of almond butter, and it works well. The taste isn't quite as decadent without the almond butter, but I suppose that makes sense given the cost of almonds and almond butter. As usual, ingredients are as organic as possible.

Snowy looking vegan almond date balls, ready for the fridge. 

Snowy looking vegan almond date balls, ready for the fridge. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup raw carob powder or dark cocoa powder
  • Scant 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. fine Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, raw if possible
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I prefer unsweetened)

Instructions

Place the walnuts and dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, and pulse several times until well combined. The pieces should look like a rough crumble. 

Add the carob/cocoa powder through salt and pulse until the mixture is smooth and thick; it will start to peel away from the edge of the bowl. 

Add the almonds and pulse a few times to incorporate them; you want them sort of irregularly sized, so that some pieces are still pretty crunchy. 

Place the coconut in a small bowl. Using a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture, roll it into golf-ball shapes and in the shredded coconut. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and chill them for a few hours or overnight, if needed. 

Once they've firmed up, transfer to a plastic lidded container and keep in the fridge. They keep several days, at least, but I've never, ever, had them last that long. They are usually consumed too quickly.

Yield: 15-18 date balls