I’m cheap and pretty much always bring lunch to work (it’s also much healthier to pack your own lunch!), but when I occasionally splurge, my go-to restaurant is Juicy Cafe. I love this place. If you live in Seattle, I highly recommend you try it! My favorite lunches are the cilantro lime rice bowl with baked tofu and the lemon dill-ite rice bowl with baked tofu.
This is where I discovered oat balls. Oat balls are raw balls of oatmeal bound together with nut butter (typically peanut or almond butter) and stuffed with goodies (chocolate chips, coconut, raw nuts, etc.). They are bomb. But at $2 a ball, those suckers can add up quickly. And let’s not forget that I’m cheap and prefer spending my “fun money” on race registrations and hot pink compression socks. So several months ago I went in search of a recipe to make my own oat balls.
I first found a basic recipe for oat balls on Food Doodles, which I’ve made a few times. The great thing about Heidi’s recipe is that it’s a formula, so you can swap out ingredients based on what you like.
I recently tried her Chocolate Energy Bites, and they rocked my world. Juicy Cafe, your oat balls have some serious competition. If I had to choose between a chocolate oat ball and a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, I would choose the chocolate oat ball. That says A LOT. Because unfortunately I have a serious weakness for those greasy peanut butter cups.
Unlike Reeses Peanut Butter cups, these are packed with healthy fats and whole grains, so they will actually keep you full. They’re a great pre-workout snack and a healthy way to satisfy your chocolate cravings (they kinda remind me of those no-bake cookies my mom used to make when I was a kid). The real proof for how good these balls are is John loves them! He gobbled up the first batch, and once those were gone, he asked me to make more.
Makes about 16 small balls.
- 1/2 C nut butter (I used peanut butter, but you could also use almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
- 1/3 C honey (I use a little less than 1/3 of cup to cut back on calories and sweetness)
- 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 C rolled oats
- 3/4 C unsweetened coconut (or any other dry ingredient or combination of dry ingredients, including oat bran, ground flax, wheat germ, ground nuts, chia seeds, etc. For this batch, I used 1/2 C of coconut and 1/4 C of chia seeds).
- 1-2 tsp vanilla
- Cinnamon to taste — I like a lot of cinnamon! But if you’re not a fan, feel free to omit this.
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: 1/2 C add-ins (dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)
- 2-4 T almond milk, separated
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oats with 2 T of the almond milk. In a small pot over low heat, warm and combine the nut butter with the honey.
Once the honey and peanut butter are warm and combined, spoon this mixture into the bowl with the oats. Then stir in the cocoa powder, coconut, optional add-ons, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. If the mixture is a little dry, add additional 1-2 T of almond milk.
Once everything is combined, chill in the refrigerator until the mixture is no longer warm. Then roll into balls and store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.