Today: No-bake chocolate pea protein balls.

If you’re a vegetarian like me, you’ve likely been asked (in a somewhat alarmed, overly dramatic voice),

“But how do you get enough protein?”

The truth is, carnivores haven’t cornered the market on protein consumption. Many plants and other vegetarian options, from hemp seed to cauliflower, and asparagus to quinoa, pack as much protein as a steak and eggs.  Don’t believe me?  (And it’s okay if you don’t.  I am not a scientist.  Nor a doctor.  Nor a perfect physical specimen.)  Ask the vegan endurance athlete who was the first person to complete  5 Ironman-distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands in under a week.

Our protein needs are largely individual.  My RD has helped me a great deal with this, setting a goal for daily intake and recommending possible options for getting there.  It turns out, it’s not at all complicated.  Even, or especially, for vegetarians.  While many of the whole foods I consume are great sources of protein, when I’m in a pinch, there’s always protein powder.  There are only so many protein shakes a girl can drink in a day, though.

No-bake chocolate protein balls (gluten-free, vegetarian recipe)

When (the sadly, now defunct) Pure Matters sent me a container of their Chocolate Pea Protein, my first thought was to mix it with unsweetened almond milk and ice, maybe a few frozen berries.  (For the record: the powder is very tasty, has a great consistency, and blends beautifully.  And no, it doesn’t taste like peas.  At all.)

Thankfully, Pure Matters offered a number of great recipeas on their website for those of us lacking creativity.  It turns out there’s a whole lot you can do with protein powder besides shakes.  Their Chocolate Pea Protein Balls, a far cry from basic shake, immediately caught my eye.  Easy to make, and even easier to consume, these protein balls are a great way to sneak some plant protein into your day.

You can use just about any protein powder in making these… well… balls.

No-bake chocolate pea protein balls

Yields 8-10 balls

• 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
• 1/3 cup nut butter
• 1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats (original recipe called for shredded coconut)
• 1/3 cup maple syrup (I used agave nectar)
• 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/3 cup chocolate chips
• sprinkles (optional) 

1. In a food processor or blender, mix protein powder, nut butter and oats until ingredients are mixed well.
2. Add agave nectar or maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse until combined. Add chocolate chips and pulse again, incorporating chocolate chips into mixture.
3. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet or plate. Decorate with sprinkles.

While I am sure one could cut out the joy sprinkles altogether, I opted to add a bit of holiday kick with crushed peppermint candy.  I used gluten-free rolled oats instead of coconut, and miniature dark chocolate chips, but otherwise followed the recipe as written.  When using this specific pea protein powder, each serving yields a whopping 25 grams of vegan protein.  And you wondered if I was getting enough?

Welp, I am.  And enjoying every bite.

I received complimentary products from Pure Matters, but was not compensated for this post.  My opinions are my own.  Obvi.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Have you tried a new recipe worth sharing?  Feel free to link below.

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