Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan)

I'm all about that functional yet fantastically delicious food. Sometimes that means including an extra veggie - like parsnip - in my smoothies or swapping out potatoes for sweet potatoes when I want an antioxidant boost. In this case, though, it meant designing a bliss ball that is packed with natural sources of plant-based iron

A few weeks ago, my doctor discovered I was iron deficient. Although I have some supplements to help, I thought I might as well add some edible medicine as well. And these iron-packed banana bombs? Let's just say they're the tastiest "medicine" you'll ever eat!

Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan), casey the college celiac

Just picture it: gooey dates combined with sweet fresh and freeze dried banana, crunchy puffed rice and sticky blackstrap molasses. Besides being gluten free, these treats are also vegan and allergy free (besides coconut, which could easily be substituted). 

Ready to get your banana bomb started? Gather a few simple ingredients

Makes around 12 small bliss balls. Double the recipe and freeze to have a snack/dessert for anytime!

- 8 dates
- 1/2 ripe banana
- Tiny bit of liquid (enough to get your blender to blend)
- 1 TBSP coconut flour (can replace with almond, rice or your favorite allergy friendly flour)
- 1 TBSP Crunchies Food's freeze dried bananas, crushed into powder (replace with another 1 tbsp of coconut flour if needed)
- 1 TBSP coconut flakes (can omit and replace with seeds, chopped nuts, etc) 
- 1 TBSP chia seeds (I love MammaChia)
- 3 TBSP puffed rice (I love Erewhon Organic's)
- Drizzle of blackstrap molasses
- Heavy sprinkle of cinnamon and spirulina and nutmeg
- Splash of vanilla

Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan), casey the college celiac
Green banana bomb + green smoothie = green heaven!
If your dates aren't soft and gooey to the touch, you might want to soak them in water for at least 15 minutes. Once they are softened, throw them in a blender or food processor - making sure they have NO PITS - with the banana and just enough liquid to blend. You don't need the dates to be entirely broken down; the date chunks that ended up in my banana bombs are chewy bites of heaven! 

Once you have a rough paste, pour it into a large bowl and add the rest of your ingredients. First, crush up the freeze dried bananas (if using) and add that powder and the coconut flour to the date/banana mix, stirring until incorporated. Then, add your chia seeds, coconut flakes, blackstrap molasses, spices and vanilla. The puffed rice works best as a final touch, and you can choose to either slightly crush the rice (for a smoother final product) or leave them whole for crunch

Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan), casey the college celiac
My kind of drink!
Once everything is mixed, simply roll the dough into small balls. The mix shouldn't be too sticky, but add more coconut flour if needed. For an even fancier finish (or are a texture addict), try rolling your banana bombs into some of your leftover ingredients. A thin coating of freeze dried banana adds some extra sweetness while chia seeds or puffed rice boost the crunch! Play around to see what combos have you drooling the most. Once you're done, devour - or store in a sealed container in the fridge (short-term) or freezer (long-term; just let thaw for a few minutes before eating). 

Of course, this recipe is also easily personalized. As I mentioned earlier, I chose these ingredients based on their servings of iron (and other nutritional benefits). For instance, besides being packed with fiber, dates also offer high doses of potassium, copper, manganese, iron and Vitamin B6. Because of these nutrients, dates have been shown to reduce blood pressure, boost heart health, aid with digestion, and lower stroke risk. Blackstrap molasses is also known for being high in iron, as well as calcium, potassium and manganese while spirulina is the best plant-based source for iron.

Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan), Crunchies Food
That close up...
As for Crunchies Food's freeze-dried bananas? The best part of Crunchies' freeze-dried fruits and veggies are their simple ingredient list: just pure fruit (in this case, bananas) or veggies. I received a few packages of Crunchies mixed fruit in the mail to taste and review, and while the freeze-dried fruits I've tried so far (banana, strawberry, blueberry) aren't crunchy enough to be enjoyed alone, I love using them in baking or crumbled on yogurt. 

What are some other twists you could apply to your banana bombs? Try adding fresh blueberries or pomegranate seeds in the center of your banana bomb for a tart explosion. Chocolate chips are obviously another winning choice, along with other superfood powders like cacao, maca, or acai instead of spirulina. To boost your absorption of iron, you can also incorporate citrus like orange or lemon. You could even sneak in some hidden veggies by subbing the banana for sweet potato and perhaps using pumpkin spice instead of nutmeg. It's hard to mess up these treats, so experiment to your heart's (and taste buds') content! 

Iron-Packed Banana Bombs (Gluten Free, Vegan), casey the college celiac
Even Sammi wanted a bite!
As a foodie, I obviously love food for its taste. I enjoy toying around with different flavor combinations and I'll rarely turn down the chance to try a new (gluten free) product. However, I also try to stay aware for what food can do for my body. After all, nothing has proven the health impact of food more than my own journey with celiac disease!

Now, will eating these iron-packed banana bombs raise my iron to normal levels on their own? Probably not. But it doesn't hurt to combine modern medicine with the oldest medicine of all: food. And if that medicine happens to taste like dessert...well, that's just an added bonus! 


*I received several packages of Crunchies Food's freeze-dried fruits and veggies for free in return for an honest review. However, all opinions, photographs and recipes are my own.* 

Do you try to stay aware of foods' functional properties? What ingredients would you use in your banana bombs? 

Comments

  1. Those look so delicious!

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  2. These look great. I am sure they are a great snack when you have hunger pangs and want to eat something sweet! Awesome, I will try them too!

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