Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HOMEMADE EATS: 5 MINUTE, 5 INGREDIENT POPPED QUINOA PROTEIN BALLS (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE)

As a self-professed snack addict and constant nibbler, each week I make a point to experiment with at least one new healthy snack recipe. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I find a gem. 

Popped quinoa protein balls are the latest snack gem that I've stumbled upon. My boyfriend and I have been obsessively enjoying them between meals and sometimes even on-the-go. They're pretty versatile in that once you have the ball base, you can customize them with whatever ingredients you wish. 



I often get nippy between meals and like to tie myself over with something that satisfies my cravings in the healthiest way possible. Most often I crave something crunchy or chocolaty –which usually means I'm tempted to grab a handful of chips (then later, the whole bag if I'm being realistic) or chocolate of some sort. My popped quinoa protein balls amuse both my chocolate cravings with the richness of sweet dates and raw cocoa powder, as well as crunchiness with crisply popped quinoa. 

This recipe remains a favourite of mine because it hits all of my snacking requisites. It's simple, requires only a few ingredients, little skill, can be whipped up in 5 minutes, stores well and is easy to take on the go. 


POPPED QUINOA PROTEIN BALLS 
makes approximately 9 small balls
5 minutes total 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
ingredients
-16 large pitted dates
-4 teaspoons raw cocoa powder
-5 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
-1 tablespoon tahini or a nut butter of your choice
-1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

tools/equipment
-food processor or heavy-duty blender
-stovetop
-a small pot
-a plate or container(s)
-parchment paper

WHAT TO DO:
ball base
Add all ingredients except for popped quinoa to a food processor or heavy-duty blender and blend until well-mixed. 

Next, using your hands, morph mixture into small ball shapes and place on a plate or in a storage container lined with parchment paper. 

popped quinoa
Don't let the name intimidate you– popped quinoa may sound fancy and time-consuming to make, but really, it is incredibly easy and can be whipped up in only a couple of minutes. 

Simply place a small pot on a stovetop burner on medium-high heat. Fill the pot with enough uncooked quinoa to cover the bottom of the pot. After about 30 seconds, you should start to hear crackling. At this point, keep an eye on the quinoa, and remove when browned. Repeat this process until you've popped the necessary amount of quinoa. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature to maintain maximum crunchiness.  See, wasn't that easy? 

finishing touches + add what you like
Now it's time for the fun part. Roll the balls in whichever ingredients you wish to coat them in. Obviously, for the pictured recipe, I used popped quinoa. However, I also recommend getting creative and trying out various ingredients such as ground flaxseed, melted dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, raw cocoa powder, chia seeds, ground nuts and matcha powder. The possibilities are endless, see what you like! 

That's all, folks! Enjoy your popped quinoa protein balls with a nice cup of joe after the gym (as pictured), whenever a pesky craving strikes, or whenever else your snack-loving heart desires. They can be stored in an air-tight container in your fridge for as long as a week. 


 Will you try out this recipe? If so, which toppings would you try?
What's your favourite healthy, craving-busting homemade snack? 
Share your answers in the comments below.

Your snack-loving friend,
-R

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