Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

There's always something especially comforting about a hefty slice of banana bread. When I was a child, my mom would bake banana bread and pumpkin bread during the holidays, and we would eat a thick slice as an after school snack, licking the crumbs off our plates. Even though decades have passed and I'm now living on my own for grad school, I still crave banana bread when I need a comforting, stick-to-my-ribs snack...

...which is why I dreamt of banana bread energy balls after one especially stressful week of grad school, and I made my dream a reality as soon as I could! 

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

These healthy energy balls might not be baked or bread, but they have all the flavors of your favorite banana bread. After all, these bliss balls don't just boast mashed ripe banana - they're also full of banana flour and crunchy banana chips for tons of banana flavor. Add in some sticky dates, crunchy rice flakes, coconut flakes and seeds, and a liberal shake of cinnamon, and these no bake energy balls will become your new favorite healthy snack, breakfast or dessert.


As a bonus, these banana bread bliss balls are gluten free, vegan, nut free and refined sugar free (as long as you use unsweetened banana chips). And if you're trying to add more nutrition to your snacking routine, you'll love that these banana bread energy balls offer a decent dose of potassium, fiber, healthy fats and vegan protein. Talk about comfort food that loves your body back! 

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

The Ingredients For Your Banana Bread Bliss Balls

Ready to taste these banana bread bliss balls for yourself? Start by gathering the following allergy-friendly ingredients. This creates 16 medium sized bliss balls. 

8 dates, mashed/pureed (optionally soaked beforehand)
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1 tbsp banana flour (or another form of gluten free flour, like coconut, quinoa, buckwheat, etc)
3 tbsp rice flakes, buckwheat flakes, quinoa flakes or oats
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
Handful of banana chips, chopped small 

How to Make Your Vegan Energy Balls!

The other awesome thing about this gluten free and vegan snack? It takes 15 minutes or less to make! Start by preparing your dates. If you'd like smoother, less chunky banana bread energy bites, soak your dates for 15 minutes or until tender and gooey. Then, you can mash them with a fork or use a food processor/high-speed blender to create a date purée. I was impatient the day I made my energy balls, so I skipped soaking and just tore the dates apart with my fingers and a fork. In the end, I loved being able to taste chunks of dates in every bite of my gluten free energy balls! 

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

If you haven't already, put your mashed dates in a mixing bowl and add your ripe banana, mashing until incorporated. Then, add the rest of your ingredients, except for the banana chips. Mix everything thoroughly. If your energy ball batter feels too dry, add a little water or extra banana; if it's too wet, add some more flour, coconut flakes or rice flakes.

Once you've gotten your energy bites well mixed, crush a handful of banana chips and stir the pieces into the batter. The size of the banana chip pieces and how many you add depends on how chunky you want your banana bread bliss balls to be! 

Next, gather a little less than a tablespoon of batter between your hands and roll them into balls. Feel free to make bigger or smaller bliss balls, depending on your snacking preferences. I like my energy balls on the small size - mainly because I get to eat more at a time. Place your bliss balls in a sealed plastic bag or freezer safe container, and store them in the freezer. 

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

You can also keep your energy balls in the fridge. However, I find that the freezer ensures my bliss balls don't go bad before I've devoured them all! The dates in the banana bread energy balls will keep them from freezing completely; when you want to dig in, just take out your desired number of energy bites and let them sit at room temperate for a few minutes before eating.

How to Make the Best Healthy Energy Balls Recipe for You 

As always, you can tweak this gluten free snack recipe in countless ways. Don't have banana flour? You could make these banana bread protein balls by using flours like buckwheat or quinoa, which are high in vegan protein. You could also substitute protein powder for some of the flour. Coconut flour is another favorite of mine for bliss balls, though you might have to add more mashed banana or liquid. 

As for other add ins, if you're a chocoholic, why not create some chocolate banana bread energy balls by throwing in chocolate chips and/or cacao powder? If you don't need nut free bliss balls, you could replace (some of) the seeds with chopped nuts. (Banana walnut bread anyone?) For an extra antioxidant boost, you can even add superfood powders like maca or turmeric

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)

As for how to enjoy these healthy energy balls, they make a delicious pre-workout or post-workout snack. You can also enjoy them for breakfast or dessert, and I've become especially fond of crumbling these banana bread bliss balls on my coconut yogurt for a sweet night snack

You've probably heard the old saying, "Stressed backward spells 'desserts.'" (And if you haven't heard that saying, the world finally makes sense!) However, there's no reason that comforting "desserts" can't be healthy as well as delicious...and these banana bread energy balls are proof.


Because, sure, they definitely aren't my mom's banana bread. Yet, the combination of sweet banana with crunchy banana chips and chewy dates still make me think of sweet memories from back home. 

Chunky Banana Bread Energy Balls (Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut Free)
And, when I do see my mom again during Christmas break, I'll be sure to ask if she wants me to make the banana bread (energy balls) this year! 




What's a comfort food that you grew up with and have given a makeover? What's your favorite kind of sweet bread? Tell me in the comments! 

Comments

  1. These sound so great! I loved my grandma's banana bread growing up -- it's nice to have a healthy and energizing alternative!

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  2. Oh my goodness these look delish! I'm going to try them. Thanks for sharing.

    Ellen x
    www.elfeelgoodsvintage.uk

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  3. These look so yummy! I have a feeling these are packed full of flavor! :)

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  4. Looks chunky and absolutely amazing. Will have to try these out

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  5. These looks so delicious and love the bite sized portions <3

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