These no-bake pumpkin energy balls have no sugar, lots of spice, and everything nice! They are sweet (without being too sweet), easy to make, extra healthy, and delicious. With built-in portion control, they are (obviously) the perfect healthy dessert to keep in your fridge at all times.
There are few things better than pumpkin and spice on a chilly autumn day. When the delicious pumpkin spice flavor you know and love is delivered in a healthy recipe… Well, that’s pretty much the best of all worlds.
These vegan pumpkin spice balls are perfect for fall or whenever you want an easy, sweet treat. These lightened-up date balls are healthy! They have less sugar and fat than your typical energy ball recipe. They also pack a strong nutritional punch, thanks to their secret ingredient…
These pumpkin energy balls rely on a base of healthy, fiber-filled chickpeas and vitamin A-packed pumpkin. With such a healthy base, we don’t need as many dates or nuts to bind everything together.
Reducing the proportion of nuts and dates means that these balls are much more economical than some other recipes as well. Nuts and dates = expensive. Chickpeas = cheap. Win, win!
About these Spiced-up Pumpkin Energy Balls
These energy bites have texture, plenty of spice, and lots of healthy ingredients. They’re a great fall dessert option when you want to indulge in the flavors of the season, but also want to keep things healthy.
Chickpeas in dessert balls? Yes! Chickpeas are a pretty neutral bean to begin with, but when you rinse them super well (or make your own) and add plenty of other flavors, they fade into the background. I PROMISE.
When my partner tried these balls, he said they were “phenomenal” and claimed that they tasted like something he could buy at Dunkin. Which is probably the highest of compliments. 🙂 Speaking of Dunkin, these pumpkin spice balls are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea any time of day and make a great afternoon pick-me-up.
About the Ingredients
- Chickpeas: They are the base for these balls. They pack protein and fiber and are responsible for the extra health benefits in this recipe. If you have an Instant Pot, try making homemade garbanzo beans to ensure the least bean-y flavor. Otherwise, look for no salt-added canned varieties and rinse them super well. Since we want the chickpeas to blend well, choose “soft” canned chickpeas. If you’re cooking your own from scratch, cook them a few minutes longer than usual.
- Pumpkin Puree: Add some vegetables to your dessert! Pumpkin puree is super high in vitamin A and antioxidants. It also packs a good amount of fiber into relatively few calories. Be sure to look for pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Rolled Oats: A hearty, inexpensive pantry staple. Look for rolled or old-fashioned oats for this recipe. To keep things gluten-free, choose certified gluten-free oats.
- Medjool Dates: A completely natural way to sweeten these pumpkin energy balls. Medjool dates are extra large, extra soft, and extra sweet compared to other varieties, so try to find them.
- Pumpkin Spice: A huge part of this recipe, pumpkin pie spice adds the delicious, comforting flavor of pumpkin pie and makes these energy balls feel warm and cozy. Use your favorite store-bought blend or make your own.
- Cashews: Cashews are nice, buttery nuts that lend a slight sweetness and creaminess to these balls. Look for unroasted, “raw” cashews.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Our third form of pumpkin in this recipe! Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium and are a great vegan source of zinc, a mineral of concern on plant-based diets. Look for shelled, raw pumpkin seeds (AKA pepitas).
- Pinch of Salt: Just a touch to help contrast the sweetness of the date balls.
How to Make Pumpkin Energy Balls:
These pumpkin energy balls are extremely easy and quick to make. To start, you’ll soak your dates and blend your oats into flour. Then you’ll blend everything together in a food processor and roll into balls. Simple, right?
Since date balls can be a bit soft and sticky (a result of the delicious, gooey dates), I also recommend rolling them in a crushed topping of your choice.
Immediately after rolling your “dough” into evenly-sized balls, roll them in your choice of topping, like so:
After rolling, I like to place mine on a silicone mat to chill in the fridge, to prevent any and all sticking. (See my Recommended Kitchen Tools page for reasons why silicone mats are amazing for oil-free, WFPB cooking.)
Don’t have a silicone mat? No problem! Roll your balls into your crushed toppings, then arrange them in a single layer on a plate.
There are no rules when it comes to toppings/coatings for these balls except that the finer the topping, the easier it’ll adhere to/coat the balls.
The first two options are my favorites. Try out a variety of toppings to see what you like best!
- Unsweetened, shredded coconut
- Hemp hearts
- Crushed nuts of your choice
- Additional pumpkin pie spice
- Unsweetened cacao powder
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, mix 2 parts cinnamon and equal parts of any of the following to make 2 teaspoons total: allspice, cardamom, cloves, ginger, or nutmeg. Alternatively, find a recipe you like online. 🙂
- Cashews: Cashews lend a slight sweetness, creaminess, and butteriness to these pumpkin balls, so I definitely recommend them. If you don’t have cashews, though, use pecans instead. Pecans are another slightly soft nut and they have a delicious maple flavor that would work well here.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds aren’t necessary for this recipe and they don’t add anything especially special. They are firmer than the cashews and are responsible for some of the texture, but feel free to use your preferred nut or seed.
- Oats: If you have oat flour on hand, feel free to use that instead of blending your own. You will need to reduce the amount a bit if you use storebought oat flour.
- Chickpeas: The only other bean that could work here is white beans. However, I haven’t tried them personally. White beans are softer than chickpeas, so you may need extra oat flour to get everything to bind together. Let me know in the comments if you try this substitution!
- 9 Medjool dates
- 1/4 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if necessary)
- 3/4 cup salt-free chickpeas
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted
- 1/4 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pinch salt
- Pit your dates (if not already pitted) and add them to a small bowl. Add hot water to cover the dates and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gather your ingredients and proceed with the next step.
- Add oats to your food processor and blend until you have a fine powder.
- Add chickpeas to your food processor and blend well. The mixture will be crumbly, rather than smooth.
- Return to your bowl of soaking dates and drain them well.
- Add drained dates and all remaining ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until well combined, but not completely smooth. (I like to keep a bit of the texture.)
- Using your hands, roll into 15-16 balls. (Mix will be sticky and should easily roll. If needed, add a half teaspoon of water to help everything stick better.)
- After making each ball, roll in your crushed topping(s) of choice until thoroughly coated. See post above for topping ideas.
- Chill your balls in the fridge for as long as you can manage, or at least a few minutes, then enjoy!
- Pumpkin energy balls will keep for 5+ days in the fridge or weeks in the freezer.
Dates: Medjool dates are much softer and sweeter than many other date varieties. They are also stickier and taste a bit like caramel, so they are strongly recommended in this recipe. If you need to use a different type, you will need more dates and will likely need to soak them for a while longer.
Toppings: There are no rules when it comes to toppings/coatings for these balls except that the finer the topping, the easier it’ll adhere to/coat the balls.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 ball
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is an estimate only, based on the recipe as written. This estimate does not include any optional toppings. Data was obtained through MyFitnessPal's recipe creator.
The Background and Science Behind These Ingredients
- A dessert made of beans! Here’s an overview of the benefits of beans and a recommendation to eat beans and/or whole grains at every meal.
- Beans are a great source of fiber, and “fiber is the key to good health“.
- Do you eat the rainbow? Colorful fruits and vegetables, like the pumpkin in this recipe, have been linked to a longer life.
- I recommend raw nuts and seeds for this recipe. Here’s why you should avoid eating roasted nuts, seeds, and other high-fat foods cooked at high temperatures.
- Zinc may be a mineral of concern, especially for vegetarians and vegans. This recipe includes appreciable levels of zinc thanks to the chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, oats, and cashews!
What do you think?
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make this recipe, then please leave a comment and rating. I would love to hear what you think and how it worked out for you!
Don’t forget to check out my other dessert recipes as well!