These vegan, healthy, no-bake Gingerbread Energy Balls are the perfect guilt-free way to get that spicy, warming flavor of gingerbread during the holidays! They’re flavored with lots of warming spices and sweetened naturally with raisins and dates, with just a hint of molasses. And the pecans add a perfect crunch along with plenty of nutrients!
The other day I got a hankering for ginger cookies. Soft, chewy ginger cookies, specifically. And I made some, and they were delicious.
But as much as I love cookies during the holiday season, I also don’t like feeling bloated and sluggish all the time from all the sugar, butter, and flour in them. I’ve gotta have energy for all the magic that the holiday season has to offer!
So here’s a healthy compromise- gingerbread energy balls! They’re 99% naturally sweetened from just dates and raisins. And they have just a hint of molasses for that warm, deep flavor you love about gingerbread.
With lots of warming spices, including ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, you’ll get that gingerbread fix without all the guilt (and sluggishness) this holiday season.
These energy balls are so delicious, they’re like fancy vegan gingerbread truffles. They’re 100% plant-based, gluten-free, and grain-free, so they’re the perfect treat to bring to a cookie swap or give to someone with dietary restrictions.
And they only take 15 minutes to make!
How to make gingerbread energy balls
Just pulse the ingredients together in your food processor, roll into balls, and cool off in your fridge! Here are some tips and tricks to help you out:
- Soak the raisins and dates in warm water. They don’t need long- only about 5 minutes (or up to an hour, if you have time). This will help rehydrate them and help keep the consistency of the truffles smooth and luxurious.
- Chop the ingredients finely in a food processor. You want them to stick together effortlessly so the energy balls stay intact. The pecans should be very small pieces, and you should barely be able to see any pieces of dates and raisins.
- If you need to, add 2 tablespoons of the soaking water to the mix. This water is infused with the flavor of the raisins and dates! And adding a little water to the mix will help everything clump together nicely so you can effortlessly roll into balls, if it doesn’t seem to be sticking together well.
- Use a cookie scoop to measure equal portions to roll into balls. Use your hands to make them into perfect (or almost perfect) little balls.
- If you want, coat them in sugar! I always like coating energy balls in SOMETHING, to make them look pretty. Coating them in just a little sugar reminded me of actual ginger cookies, and it adds a little something something to the texture and taste as you bite into them. YUM.
Can I make them nut free?
While pecans are a key ingredient in these energy balls, you can definitely substitute them with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or a mixture of various seeds like flax, chia, etc. I recommend using only 3/4 of a cup, since they’ll go a bit further since they’re smaller.
You can also use other nuts besides pecans, such as almonds, walnuts, or a combination!
How do I make these paleo/whole30?
This is easy! For a paleo version, substitute the molasses with maple syrup. For a whole30 version, simply omit it.
And make sure you don’t roll them in sugar- as an alternative, you can roll them in shredded coconut, like these chocolate coconut energy balls, instead.
Other holiday treats
Love the warming spices in these gingerbread truffles? You’ll love this spicy gingerbread cake with orange mascarpone cream and this cardamom spiced orange olive oil cake.
Check out all my holiday baking recipes here.
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Gingerbread Energy Balls with Raisins, Dates, and Pecans
- Pour the warm water (1 cup) over the dates (1 cup) and raisins (1/2 cup) in a small bowl. Stir together and allow to sit for 5 minutes minimum, and up to 1 hour.
- Remove the dates and raisins using a slotted spoon (reserve the water) to a food processor and add remaining ingredients. Turn on and blend together until the mixture is chopped into very small pieces and it starts clumping together on the side. If necessary, add 2 tablespoons water from soaking the raisins and dates if it doesn't seem to clump together.
- Use a small cookie scoop to dish out equal sized balls and roll in your hands. Roll in sugar (or another topping), if desired. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and refrigerate the sheet for 20 minutes, until balls solidify more.
- Transfer energy balls to an airtight container and store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Make them paleo by subbing the molasses with maple syrup. Make them whole30 or refined sugar free by omitting the molasses altogether.
- Make them nut-free by using 3/4 cup of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame, and/or chia seeds, instead of pecans.
- Money-saving tip: shop the bulk foods section to buy the exact amount of dates and raisins you need, and look for deals on nuts- you can use chopped pecans, or another nut such as almonds or walnuts, if you prefer or they're cheaper!
- Time-saving tip: skip soaking the dates and raisins and instead add another tablespoon of plain water if needed.