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January 28, 2016

by Alyssa

Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls

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These quinoa energy balls might taste like candy, but they're actually filled with nutritious ingredients. They're also naturally gluten-free and vegan too!

Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls -- a quick, nutritious and indulgent snack (or dessert) that you don't have to feel guilty about!

One of my New Year's goals/intentions was to nix my after-dinner sweets habit.

It's not like I'm downing a pint of ice cream or anything, but I do like to have something sweet every night. Usually, it's in the form of high-quality dark chocolate, but sometimes it's an energy ball or two, or maybe some banana ice cream.

It's been a habit of mine for years, one that I actually got from my mom, and there's something kind of comforting about it. It's become almost like a ritual; I always make a cup of tea, munch on my treat and wind down before bed. I mean I know there are worse things that I could be consuming, but still, I do feel like it's probably increasing my dependency on sugar.

Honestly though? I've just done a really bad job of keeping my promise to myself. Oops!

How to make the most DELICIOUS quinoa energy bites!

That's why I like to make sure that I always have healthy things in our freezer and pantry. As long we're keeping natural, clean and nutritious sweets, I don't really feel bad about having one from time to time.

While I tend to find myself reaching for a few squares of dark chocolate, these dark chocolate energy balls have been in constant supply. Plus, Matt, who almost never has dessert, is liking them too which means I'm making them even more often.

These VEGAN dark chocolate coated quinoa energy balls are the perfect afternoon or after dinner treat! [healthy + GF]

Also…another funny story about this particular recipe? (and yes, this is kind of a non-sequitur…)

My cousin who moved to Manhattan last fall joined a cookie swap at her work over the holidays. Everyone was tasked with bringing in a batch of cookies and being that my cousin is also really into clean eating, she wanted to come over and bake together. But when we started brainstorming, we decided that rather than baking we would make energy balls and call them cookies!

As long as they were sweet and chocolatey we figured no one would know the difference.

The best part of the whole thing? Her cookies were the first to be gone! Out of all the other options – like chocolate chip, classic sugar, thumbprint, peanut butter kiss, etc. – the dark chocolate coated energy balls were the most popular. How cool is that!?

These dark chocolate QUINOA ENERGY BALLS are coated with a layer of melted chocolate and then sprinkled with sea salt -- PERFECTION! {vegan + gf}

That just goes to show us all that even though something might be labeled as “healthy” it doesn't mean it doesn't have mass appeal.

And of course, after she told me how popular they were, I knew I had to recreate them (using actual measurements) and bring you the recipe!

These energy balls taste like candy but they're actually good for you! They've got quinoa, raw cacao powder, nuts and dried fruit as the sweetener [also vegan + gf]

So here it is!

Made with a base of dates and pecans, these dark chocolate energy balls, which could actually be called double dark chocolate energy balls, are a nutritious and delicious sweet treat (night cap if you're like me). They've got a super simple ingredient list, are whipped up in your food processor, and while the dark chocolate coating is certainly optional, I highly recommend it 😉

With an ever so faint hint of sea salt and a pleasant crunch (thanks, quinoa crispies!), these little balls could even be labeled as a good for you candy!

Your turn…

What is your favorite after-dinner sweet treat? Do you also get that craving for all things chocolatey like I do? I'd love to hear if you have another nutritious swap. And if you end up making this recipe, or any others, upload a pic and share it to Instagram using #simplyquinoa so we can all take a peek. Getting to see your creations is one of my favorite things!

xo Alyssa

The BEST quinoa energy balls ever -- double dark chocolate + sea salt! They taste like candy, but are actually good for you! [vegan + gf]

More Delicious Energy Ball Recipe to try:

Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls

Made with a base of dates and pecans, these dark chocolate energy balls, which could actually be called double dark chocolate energy balls, are a nutritious and delicious sweet treat 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 24 Balls
Calories 81kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
Print Pin
Quinoa Energy Balls with Chocolate
4.43 from 28 votes



  • To the food processor, add the dates. Process until broken apart and sticky, about 30 seconds. Add walnuts and process until ground and evenly distributed in the dates.
  • With the food processor running, add the remaining ingredients (minus the crispies and chocolate bar) and process until a dough begins to form. You should be able to pinch it between your fingers and it will stay together. Pulse in the quinoa crispies.
  • Form the dough into golf ball-sized truffles (you should get 20 - 24 balls). Place the ball on a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate bar over a double boiler. Once melted, dip the top of each ball into the melted chocolate and return them to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes while the chocolate is still shiny.
  • Allow energy balls to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until chocolate has set, then serve.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.


Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.6mg



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The BEST DAMN energy balls ever! They're double dark chocolate and sea salt with crispy quinoa -- taste like brownies, but are packed with healthy ingredients! [vegan]
Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. […] Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls […]

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  4. Well I found your directions and watch picture very confusing one is squares other balls with chocolate will never make these again as it is so confusing and what a mess

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  16. […] What is it? Quinoa is an ancient ‘grain’, which is actually a seed that is eaten as a grain. It has a mild, nutty flavour. Quinoa has become a bit of a superfood in recent years, and for good reason- it is gluten free, high in protein and one of the only plant foods to contain a full essential amino acid profile- yup, all nine of ’em! This makes it a great vegan protein source. It comes in three different varieties: white, red and black and can be found in most big supermarkets and health stores at a mid level price range.   How do I cook it? Quinoa can be quite a tricky one to cook, but fear not, it can be done. Simply rinse it under cold water, add it to a pan and top with boiling water or stock. Boil for 15-20 minutes, by which point it should have absorbed all of the liquid and taken on a fluffy appearance.   What can I make with it? Quinoa can be used for almost anything you could think of, it seems. Try using it as a replacement for rice or pasta, in soups, curries, stews, salads, crackers or even baking.   Here are some great recipes to get started: 1. Slow Cooker Coconut Quinoa Curry 2. Quinoa Superfood Salad 3. Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls […]

  17. […] Get the recipe: Simply Quinoa […]

  18. I have tried putting the dates into three different blenders and each one overheated. I eventually cut them up as best I could and rather than making balls I pushed them into a small square pan and drizzled chocolate and sprinkled sugar. They turned out great but a lot of work. Is there a secret to process the dates so I don’t ruin my processors?

    • Hi Heather! Just a few questions for you: are you using a blender or a food processor? What type of dates are you using? One thing that might help you is to soak your dates for 5 – 10 minutes so they really soften up 🙂

  19. Your serving size says 20-24 balls but the recipe says 14-16 balls … just wanted to let you know there is a typo! Looks like a great recipe though and I’m going to try it. 🙂

    Do you know how these hold up in the freezer?

    • Thank you! Editing now 🙂 And yes, they are perfect in the freezer and last forever! (I actually always keep my energy balls in the freezer because I think they taste better and it helps with my portion control a bit more!)

  20. […] sets these energy bites apart is, that in addition the nuts and dates (which you’ll see in most recipes), we’ve been able to sneak in a nice helping of fresh veggies. And as I’m sure many of you […]


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