Are you craving carrot cake but you don't have the time or patience to make one? Then, these coconut carrot cake energy balls are the perfect solution. They come together in a food processor in less than 15 minutes and taste just like your favorite carrot cake. If you are looking for more healthy holiday recipes, you can have a look at this no-bake carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.
What are energy balls?
Energy balls are small round snacks usually made of oats, nuts and dried fruits. You may also know them as bliss balls, protein balls, energy bites or raw bites.
They are called energy balls because the ingredients they contain can give you the energy kick you may be looking for in between meals. Oats are high in fiber and nuts are high in protein and healthy fats to keep you full for a longer period of time. They are usually lightly sweetened to give you energy without making your blood sugar levels spike.
They make a great after-workout snack or after-dinner treat. Plus, you can easily take them with you on the go.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This vegan carrot cake energy balls recipe is made with a few simple ingredients that you most certainly already have in your pantry. Plus, it's made without dates. It almost can't get any easier than this!
- It is also gluten-free and can easily be made nut-free.
- They have a low sugar content compared to regular energy bites (even those made with Medjool dates).
- You can make them for Christmas, Easter or at any time of the year.
Fresh carrots cannot be missing in carrot cake recipes. When freshly grated, they make these energy balls super moist and juicy.
Oats are the base of this recipe. You can use quick oats or rolled oats (also known as old-fashioned oats). In this recipe, half the oats will be blended to thicken the mix. The remaining oats will be incorporated whole to add some texture. Use gluten-free certified oats if necessary.
Shredded coconut adds a subtle flavor but is not overpowering. You can substitute it for coconut flakes as they will be blended in the mix. Do not replace it with coconut flour as it would be too drying. If using shredded coconut, you can use it to coat the finished energy balls.
Almonds add flavor and some crunch. You can substitute almonds with walnuts or sunflower seeds if you need to keep the energy balls nut-free.
Maple syrup is used to sweeten the balls since they are made without dates. It will also help the ingredients stick together. You can substitute it with agave nectar if needed.
Coconut oil acts as a glue between the ingredients. It helps the blending process and makes it easier to shape the energy balls. As it solidifies in the fridge, it will further improve the consistency of the balls.
All-spice is a mix of warm spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It will give the energy balls a real spice kick and provides the flavors of carrot cake. Instead of all-spice, you could use ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and/or fresh ginger that you grate with the carrots. Note that these bliss balls also taste great without spices, too!
- Use freshly grated carrots. We recommend grating the carrots yourself to be able to decide on how thick the shreds should be.
- Use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients for best results. Adding too many oats and too few grated carrots can cause the mixture to be dry and brittle.
- Use a small blender or food processor to blend the ingredients. If using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, you should double the quantities.
- Press the mixture between your hands to form balls, don't roll it. Watch the video or step-by-step pictures below for detailed instructions.
How to make carrot cake energy balls (+ pictures)
Peel and grate the carrots. You can use a hand grater or the grater blade of your food processor. We like using a large grating grid to obtain thick, short and juicy carrot bits. Although you could use grated carrots from the bag, they tend to be very thin and dry and won't provide the same texture. Rehydrate them in water for 5 minutes if necessary.
Blend the dry ingredients. Add the almonds, half the oats and the shredded coconut to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until finely ground. Make sure there are no big almonds chunks left (small pieces are fine as they add some bite).
Add the grated carrots, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and all-spice to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Finally, add in the remaining oats and pulse a few more times. The dough should be firm and moist.
To form the carrot cake bites, press about 1 tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hands. Don't roll them or they will fall apart. You should obtain sixteen 1-inch balls.
Coat with shredded coconut. Place some shredded coconut or finely ground walnuts on a plate or in a small bowl. Press the energy balls into the mix. Note that this step is totally optional.
The best way to store energy balls is to keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Usually, you can keep energy balls for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. However, since these carrot cake bites are made with fresh carrots, they should be eaten within 1 week.
These carrot cake energy balls cannot be frozen as they tend to fall apart once derosted. Other energy balls made with dates and nut butter can easily be frozen for up to 3 months.
Frequently asked questions
Nutribullets and similar small blenders are great to make a small batch of energy balls. Always make sure you blend the dry ingredients first.
Yan can use a Vitamix only if you make large quantities of energy balls. Always double or triple the quantities indicated in the recipe. Otherwise, it's preferable to use a small blender or food processor.
You can use quick oats or rolled oats interchangeably to make these energy balls. However, avoid steel-cut oats.
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Carrot Cake Energy Balls
- Kitchen scale or measuring cups and spoons
- Food processor
- 120 g grated carrots about 2 medium carrots
- ½ cup (80 g) almonds or walnuts
- ⅔ cup (60 g) gluten-free oats
- ⅔ cup (60 g) shredded coconut + more for coating
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) melted coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon all-spice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Peel the carrots and grate them with a grater.
- Set half the oats aside. Add the shredded coconut, almonds and remaining oats to a food processor. Blend until finely ground.
- Add the carrots, maple syrup and 4 spice to the food processor and shortly blend again until combined. Stir in the oats that you previously set aside.
- Form 8 large energy balls with your hands. Coat with more shredded coconut if desired.
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