Take advantage of the delicious flavors of Fall by making a batch of Sharon Palmer’s Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites! Healthy, nutrient-rich pumpkins are the star ingredient of this plant-based recipe that contains no added sugar and is gluten-free. Filled with the earthy flavors of pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, seeds, nuts, spices, oats and peanut butters, each bite is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals to boost your nutrition.
One of the best ways you can promote optimal health is to cook more meals at home, where you can control the ingredients, such as sugar, fats, sodium and refined grains. Store-bought treats are often loaded with refined grains and added sugars, which squanders opportunities to fuel your diet with more whole plant foods that can help power your defense system against chronic diseases, such as cancer. By making healthier treats at home and highlight nature’s best ingredients—fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains—you can take control of your eating plan for disease protection.
Winter squash are one of AICR’s foods that fight cancer and pumpkins are part of the winter squash family. These bright orange vegetables are filled with vitamin C, fiber and special phytochemicals called carotenoids, which are linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. So, go ahead and take full advantage of pumpkins—along with nuts, seeds, fruits and whole grains—to flavor your home-made treats and provide a multitude of health benefits. Use the step by step guide below to make your batch of Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites!
- ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice blend
- 1/3 cup dried dried cranberries*
- 1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
- 10 small soft dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
*May substitute raisins for dried cranberries.
- Place oats, hemp, chia, flax, walnuts, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie spice and dried raisins in container of food processor. Process a few seconds, just until ingredients are finely ground.
- Add pumpkin, dates, peanut butter and vanilla and process for a few minutes until smooth, pausing to scrape down sides as needed. Texture should be smooth, finely ground and sticky.
- Pour mixture into bowl, cover and chill for about 1 hour.
- Remove from refrigerator and form into small balls (makes 28 balls) with hands.
- Place 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds in small dish and roll each ball in pumpkin seeds to coat.
- Store in refrigerator in airtight container.
Makes 28 servings (28 balls). Per serving: 84 calories, 4 g total fat (0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 16 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 0 g added sugar.
1. Grind dry ingredients in food processor, then add moist ingredients to create a smooth, sticky texture.
2. Chill for one hour, then form into small balls with your hands.
3. Roll in pumpkin seeds.
Recipe and images by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.