Date Protein Balls + Cacao Nibs

March 26, 2016

I love foods that encompass different textures and flavors like salty, crunchy, sweet, and ooey-gooey. These Date Protein Balls with cacao nibs do not fall short of that. But before I describe them, let’s discuss just why I am coo-coo for cacao nibs! First, they have a rich supply of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals and some fat. Plus, the cacao nib is harvested from the cacao bean which is chocolate’s main source of flavor and nutritional benefits. However, let’s be clear, they are not the same as chocolate chips. On their own - cacao nibs can be a bit strong (both bitter and sweet) but when mixed with complimentary flavors (like in my date protein balls) - they are quite delicious!



Ways You Can Use Cacao Nibs:

  • Smoothies

  • Cereals

  • Desserts

  • Yogurt  

  • SSN Date Protein Balls


You might think the cacao nibs steal the show in this recipe, but the dates are truly the secret ingredient! Dates act as a binding ingredient and provide a flavorful impact with their natural sweetness. Dates also offer a significant health component. Did you know that some endurance athletes like to use dates, which have an extremely high potassium content, for fuel? Yes, their fructose content is a bit higher than other fruits, but dates can definitely fit into a healthful diet. Remember, it’s all about moderation!


Whether you are looking to refuel after a workout or just change up your midday snack- these date protein balls will do the trick. I always recommend real food to my clients, and each of these ingredients is from the earth or plant based. As with any of my recipes, please improvise and make these customized for YOU! Have fun in the kitchen!


Date Protein Balls + Cacao Nibs



12-13 large dates, soaked for 30 minutes

3 tbsp of almond meal

1-2 tbsp of oatmeal

3 tbsp of almond butter

3 tbsp of shredded coconut

1-2 tbsp of filtered water (to thin out)

2 tbsp of hemp seeds

½ tsp of vanilla extract

½ tsp of cinnamon

Cacao nibs - enough for rolling

Nuts (optional)

Coconut (optional)

Hemp Seeds (optional)

Goji berry (optional)


// Once dates are soaked, place all ingredients, except cacao nibs in food processor or blender// blend until a sticky paste forms// place in freezer either for 4 hours or overnight// pull out of freezer and allow to sit at room temp for 10 minutes// use a tsp to scoop out paste// using hands  roll into 1’’ balls// then roll in cacao nibs//  Bon Appetite!//


Store in freezer or keep cool - they can separate at room temp due to the dates and natural almond butter content.


Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 ball Calories: 100, Fat: 4, Carbohydrates: 20 gm, Protein: 3 gm, Fiber: 2 gm


Enjoy these and let me know how you incorporated these yummy date protein balls into your day!



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Healthy Sustainable Life

Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD


Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Integrative and Functional Nutrition + Content Creator

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