We hear a lot about the need to feed the world’s growing population. Right along with that we hear about the high percentage of resources that conventional farming and meat-based proteins take. This could seem like a dilemma, a conundrum that humans must invent a solution for. Thankfully, Mother Nature has us covered in the form of pulses.
This little talked about but internationally acclaimed sub-category of legumes provides a filling source of plant-based protein along with plenty of dietary fiber. Pulses differ from other legumes in their fat content – they contain just as much fiber and protein but less fat. Think of the difference between a chickpea and a peanut. This delicious and easy recipe for Chickpea Peanut Butter Energy Balls contains both pulses and nuts to give you the full spectrum of experience.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are natures gift to our digestive systems. They contain high amounts of insoluble fiber that not only acts as a cleaning device for our large intestine but also breaks down into short chain fatty acids that provide energy to the cells lining our colon, supporting healthy digestive tracts. And we all want healthy digestive tracts, don’t we? Did you know that 80-90% of seratonin is produced in our digestive tract? Seratonin is our body’s happy drug and essential for a balanced state of mind. Kind of explains why we can get so grumpy when our BMs aren’t regular, doesn’t it?
Another key ingredient in this recipe is peanut butter. This can be replaced by sunflower seed butter for those with a nut intolerance or another nut butter if you just don’t do well with peanuts. Peanut butter is high in monounsaturated fats which can help protect from Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease while at the same time satiating hunger and helping with weight loss. Peanuts are an excellent source of potassium and antioxidants such as resveratrol.
Check out the tasty recipe below for a delicious snack that packs a powerful nutritional punch!
Chickpea Peanut Butter Energy Balls
10-16 servings; makes 32 balls
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added cooked or canned (from about one 15-ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter, or more as needed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
1 1/4 cups ground oat flour, or more as needed (see headnote)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Combine the chickpeas, the 1/2 cup of peanut butter and the honey in a food processor; puree for 1 minute or until very smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and the 1 1/4 cups of ground oat flour; pulse to form a dough with the consistency of a stiff cookie dough. If it’s crumbly, add a little more peanut butter; if it’s too sticky, add a little more oat flour. Taste, and add salt as needed.
Add the mini chocolate chips; pulse just until evenly distributed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or transfer to a container and cover; refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until firm and well chilled.
Use a 1-tablespoon measure to scoop 32 portions of dough; roll between your palms to form 32 balls. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.
Recipe inspired by: https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/peanut-butter-chickpea-energy-balls/15087/?tid=a_inl