Fig + Pistachio Balls

VEGAN + GLUTEN FREE + SOY FREE

Who doesn’t love a good nut or protein ball? I think they’re something that pretty much everyone can appreciate. They’re the perfect snack to take on an adventure or when it’s near the end of the day and you just need a little brain energy to get you through.

The problem that I have found, is that all of these store bought balls are packed full of sugar or sweeteners or syrups. If you’re like me and not a fan of sweet foods (or even if you are), or if processed sugar is one of those triggers for nasty migraines, then this may just be the snack for you. There’s no added sugar, sweetener or alternatives. Just naturally occurring sweetness in a few figs and dates.

I’ve made this recipe so many times and everyone who has tried them has absolutely loved them. Coming up to the festive season these are great for gifts too! You could buy a nice jar or bowl from a thrift store and fill it will these delicious balls.

Have you heard that Figs aren’t vegan? Scroll down to the Notes section at the bottom for more.

Allergen Info:

Vegan
Gluten Free
Soy Free
No Added Sugar

This recipe does contain nuts.

The Recipe:

Makes 28 Balls

Ingredients:

  • 90g Activated Pecans
  • 90g Activated Almonds
  • 15g Linseed/Flaxseed
  • 65g Activated Brazil Nuts
  • 80g Sunflower Seeds
  • 7 Soft and Juicy Figs
  • 3 Medjool Dates (remove pits)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 50g Activated Pistachio

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients except pistachio to a food processor or NutriBullet until combined
  2. Roll into small balls around 3.5cm in diameter
  3. Add pistachios to the food processor or NutriBullet and blend until it’s a gritty powder
  4. Toss the balls in the pistachio powder one or two at a time until coated all over

Notes:

Storage: In an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Eat within a week if storing in the fridge, or freeze for a few months.

Figs: I use ‘soft and juicy’ figs as I find they help the mixture hold together much better. These DO have a preservative in them (unless you can find a brand that doesn’t) so if you avoid preservatives 100% then you may need to use an alternative.

Protein: There’s about 2.4g of protein per ball but if you’re after more you can always add half a scoop of your favourite protein powder (keep in mind that this will change the flavour), if the protein powder makes the mixture too dry just add a little water 1 teaspoon at a time.

Activated Nuts: Nuts are soaked in water and salt to start the germination process and break down the acid and enzyme inhibitors, this also increases the nutrient level by producing beneficial enzymes (especially B vitamins). The nuts are then dehydrated to prevent mould prolonging the shelf life. You can activate nuts at home yourself if you have a food dehydrator, but I purchase mine from a company in Australia called ‘Totally Nuts’ (who I also copied this info).

Other Nuts: If you don’t have the nuts listed, feel free to mix it up and use what you already have. I would however avoid too many very oily nuts like walnuts or macadamias, I do find that they change the consistency quite a bit.

Are Figs Vegan?:
This is a controversial topic. Firstly, my understanding is that most commercial figs are self pollinating so this doesn’t apply. But some varieties of figs are pollinated by a wasp who dies inside the fig (don’t worry you’re not really eating a wasp, the fig uses a special enzyme to break down the wasps body). The female wasp who is carrying pollen enters the fig to lay her eggs and on her way in her wings will break and she will not be able to get out, she will die there. The wasp can only lay her eggs inside male figs but will very often enter a female fig by accident. If it’s a female fig, she will not be able to lay her eggs but the pollen she was carrying will pollinate the fig, creating the fig fruit/flower we all know (we only eat female figs).

Because of this process, some do not consider figs to be vegan as an animal must die for it to exist. However, the wasp requires the fig to lay her eggs. The figs are not wasp hating fruit/flowers who are out to kill all wasps, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship that is necessary for the survival of both fig and wasp species.

So, are figs vegan? Well, I really think this is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. In veganism there are a lot of grey areas (especially around fruit/vegetables) and what is and isn’t okay for a vegan can be debated for hours and take you into a downward spiral of madness trying to figure it out. If you choose not to eat figs, I encourage you to try this recipe using other fruits or extra dates.

As with all of my recipes, I encourage you to use local and organic ingredients where possible. If you do decide to try these I would love to know how you went! Feel free to send me a message (or photos) through my Instagram: @dianneats

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