These chocolate quinoa snowballs make an easy, no-bake holiday dessert and double up as energy balls as well.
If you are running low on time and/or energy during Christmas holidays to bake something elaborate, dazzle your family and guests with these gooey, flavor-dense chocolate quinoa snowballs. These chocolate quinoa balls are not super sweet and have a complex flavor that you keep guessing till the last bite.
Enjoy the holidays without gaining extra pounds
Some studies suggest that adults tend to gain weight between the last week of November and the first week of January. Well, this period coincides with the deluge of holiday food between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Here are a couple of tips to prevent the calorie and sugar overload this Christmas:
- Check your hunger cues: are you still hungry for the main course after enjoying a plateful of appetizers? Can you still make room for that delectable dessert after filling up nicely on appetizers as well as the main course? I am leading to the point, maybe a bit inarticulately, that tasting everything may be the way to go rather than filling your plate with each and every item on the holiday buffet.
- Portion control is key: the last bite of a dense chocolate cake tastes exactly the same as the first. Maybe a bite or two are enough to enjoy a favorite dessert, especially after a sumptuous main course.
Let’s make the chocolate quinoa snowballs
Healthy desserts such as these chocolate quinoa snowballs offer a treat without impeding your health goals. The best thing about these snowballs is that you can prepare them for a crowd in no time.
Step 1: The recipe uses cooked quinoa at room temperature. Please find the recipe for cooking quinoa from scratch here. You get about 3 (packed) cups of cooked quinoa from one cup dry. Here is a time-saving tip: if you are planning to use quinoa in any other meals during the week, cook in bulk without any salt and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
Step 2: Once you have cooked quinoa at room-temperature at hand, the rest of the process is a breeze. Just add all the ingredients in the right order to a food processor (see the recipe).
Step 3: After processing all the ingredients, you will have a big, sticky ball of fudge. It is kind of important to make the balls right away, even though the mixture is a bit sticky. Once the mixture dries up, it’s hard to coat the balls with dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut. The trick to deal with a sticky mixture is to smear a bit of water or coconut oil on your palms. Slightly wet hands prevent the dough from sticking–a trick I learned from my mom.
Step 4: Divide the mixture into equal parts and form into balls by rolling between both palms. One recipe yields 16 chocolate quinoa balls. Enjoy!
If you are intrigued about cooking with quinoa, you may also like the following:
How to store chocolate quinoa snowballs
Once you have finished making these snowballs, they belong in your refrigerator as one of the ingredients–cooked quinoa–has a limited shelf-life of up to five days. You can store these balls in refrigerator for about the same number of days. In my refrigerator they don’t survive beyond day four–there are a couple of snowball monsters lurking around the house. You can also freeze these balls in freezer storage bags in batches or 1-2 balls or however many you would consume in a day. These will last in your freezer for about four weeks. Enjoy!
These vegan, gluten-free chocolate quinoa snowballs make an easy, no-bake dessert for holiday celebrations and also double up as energy balls.
- 3/4 cup quick oats (gluten-free or sub with regular quick oats)
- 1/2 cup almonds* (raw)
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder (pure, or sub with Cacao powder)
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked and at room temperature or cold)
- 7 medjool dates
- 1 tbsp almond butter**
- 1 tbsp jam (choose from strawberry, raspberry, apricot, or orange marmalade)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup dried cherries (can sub with dried cranberries)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes (dried)
Add quick oats and almonds to a food processor and process till the two ingredients have turned into a meal-consistency mixture--about 4-5 minutes. There should be no visible oat or almond shreds. It is helpful to scrape the sides of the food processor to bring any unprocessed bits in the middle. Add cocoa powder and process till well mixed.
Add the cooked quinoa, medjool dates, almond butter, jam, maple syrup, dried cherries, and vanilla extract. Process till well mixed. The mixture may bunch up into a big ball.
Take the mixture out onto a plate. It will be a bit sticky. Also take out coconut flakes in a separate plate. Smear some coconut oil or water on your both palms and divide the chocolate-quinoa mixture into 16 equal parts. Form the balls and roll them in the shredded, unsweetened, coconut flakes. Transfer to an airtight container and cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Enjoy!
*if allergic to nuts, substitute almonds with pumpkin or melon seeds
**can substitute almond butter with either coconut oil or sunflower seed butter
Want it sweeter: add 1-2 more dates.
Want to increase the chocolate quotient--add 1/2 tbsp additional cocoa powder