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Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls

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!

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

4.5 from 29 votes
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 
author: Alyssa
yield: 24 Balls
Quinoa Energy Balls with Chocolate
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes



  • 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
cuisine: American
course: Snack

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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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74 comments on “Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate Quinoa Energy Balls”

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  8. 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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  31. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  32. 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?

    1. 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!)

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  35. My family and I tried these for the first time last night. We had to use regular dates from our grocery store because I couldn’t find medjool dates in any of the stores close to us.

    But, they were SUPER easy to make, and all of us LOVED them!

    I had to laugh at your instruction to keep them in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, because they were LONG GONE in less than 24 hours!

    We will definitely be trying the other energy ball recipes very soon.

    Thanks for creating these yummy yet healthy treats!

    One last thought: As others have requested, I would love to see nutrition information on these.


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  37. I do have the same habit from my mum, Icrave for chocolate and this recipe seems a very good option. I’ll try them and lrt you know. Thanks

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  39. Loved these! I swapped the almond butter for homemade peanut butter since I always have that in the house. I also made a larger batch of the quinoa crispies and keep them in a jar so I can make multiple batches of these without having to make crispies each time. Super rich chocolate flavor. Not lo cal but a much healthier alternative to the refined sugars in most things that will satisfy a chocolate craving.

    1. SO glad you enjoyed them, Rosie! I’ve been making big batches of quinoa crispies too – they’re so great! Next I’m going to try them stirred into my granola 🙂

    1. Thanks, sweetie! I haven’t tested this without dates, but I think you could try dried figs. They won’t be as sweet, but they’ll still be delicious! Let me know how it goes 🙂 xo

  40. Hi ..Im definitely making these! Can you just tell me whatr #5 is?
    Thanx so much for an awsum website, we love quinoa!!

    Parizad in az

  41. Healthy? Those are packed full of sugars and fats, no different from any other cookie.. Oh but the chocolate is vegan and it all complies with current food fads so you have managed to convince yourself that they are different.. For goodness’ sakes, take off your blinkers. These are high calorie sweets whatever silly labels you use to try to convince themselves that they are somehow different from the cookies that everyone else makes.

    1. Thank you for your comment, but I have to disagree with you on that point. A traditional cookie that you will purchase at a store is packed full of refined sugars and carbohydrates. Additionally, there also likely eggs and dairy which are common allergens. These on the other hand, sure they may be high in fat and sugar, but both of those are unrefined and pure. These are still a treat, but if you were to choose a cookie in a package vs. one of these, I would 100% recommend eating one of these.

  42. Would these work ok without the walnuts or pecans? We are dealing with a nut allergy…
    Also, what is step 5? Looks like something was omitted by accident!

  43. Avatar photo
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen

    This recipe looks ssooo good! I love “tricking” people with healthy treats, it’s my favorite 🙂

    And yes, I too get in the habit of having something sweet after dinner. It’s like instant after my last bite! What is up with that… Bad habit I guess. But sometimes if I have some extra willpower, I actually can combat it with a hot cup of tea.

    1. Tea is definitely a go-to for me too! I think we just have to make sure we’re making a healthy a choice as possible 🙂

  44. Hello! These look amazing! Does it have to be Medjool dates? I have Deglet Noor in the fridge. Can I swap or is it a texture issue?
    I have no knowledge of dates!

    I am going to try these with sunflower seed butter because of nut allergy. Should I add extra quinoa or sunflower seeds to make up for the walnuts?
    Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Kari, I haven’t really used deglet dates, but I think it’s worth a try! I also definitely think you can use sunflower seeds in place of the nuts, but I would actually process them into a flour before the dates. Transfer them out and then process the dates and add the seed back in. This will help make sure they are ground up and help give the balls the right texture. Let me know how it turns out! xo

  45. Looks wonderful, but how do you make quinoa crispies..
    Never heard of them? Or, where do you buy them?
    Also, what is flaked sea salt?

    1. Just posted a video actually showing you how to make them 🙂 Check it out in this post: https://www.simplyquinoa.com/how-to-make-quinoa-crispies/

        1. You could either leave them out or you can make them super easily 🙂 here’s a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRvdp9pq4dg

      1. For anyone looking for nutrition info, the My Fitness Pal app allows a user to import a recipe and it will create the nutritional info. I find it super handy. As an added bonus, it stores the recipe so you don’t have to try to remember where you saw it!

  46. In my house, everyone is crazy for chocolate, even though we don’t always have dessert after dinner. My sons will gobble these up.