One Bowl, No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls with Collagen – grain-free, gluten-free, paleo

paleo collagen nut butter bites

Welcome to Eat Well, Live Vibrantly! I’ve transitioned from my old blog to this spiffy new website and I’m excited! I’m still finalizing a few things, but in the meantime, I wanted to get back to some good old-fashioned blogging. Plus, I’ve literally made this recipe 10+ times and it’s time to share it.

These protein balls started as an experiment and have now become basically a staple in my life. I’m not sure I can live without them.

I found the original recipe for these on Healy Eats Real and I felt compelled to try them, mostly because they looked delicious and I had the ingredients in the cupboard. Also, I love things that taste and look like a delicious treat but are packed full of healthy, body-supporting nutrients. The quality of my snack actually enhances my enjoyment of it.

So I tested these out, made a few tweaks to get the recipe to work for me, and am now wondering how I lived before without these in my life. Hats off to Healy for devising this amazing collagen ball concept.

I like these protein bites for just this very reason. They make use of collagen, an animal-based protein that is immensely supportive of gut health, skin health, joint health, as well as general digestive health. It may also be beneficial for wound-healing and injury recovery, as well as for promoting quality sleep. You can read more about collegen’s benefits, which are many, with Dr. Axe here, Wellness Mama here, or Mark Sisson here. Do your research and try to find a collagen that is sourced from grass-fed animals, so that you can feel confident you’ve made a conscious and informed choice.

paleo collagen nut butter bites

The cookie dough protein balls are also grain-free, which can be a nice break for your digestive system and works for those who follow a paleo diet. I’ve tried them with peanut butter, almond butter, almond & hazelnut butter, and cashew butter and I’m not stopping yet. With the cashew butter? Really a strong resemblance to cookie dough. The collagen protein gives them a taffy-like chewiness (which makes sense, since collagen is derived from the collagen-rich parts of animals, like bones and cartilage) and the nut butter gives a nice richness.

I’ve been eating them everyday and I find them immensely useful as a quick snack, especially for those times (aka coming home from work) when I’m hungry, want to quickly feed the cats and then go out on my walk, and need something that feels balanced and filling. Having them in the fridge makes me so happy.

paleo collagen nut butter bites

You might need to play around with the recipe just a bit, depending on the liquidy nature of your nut butter. You know how the top half of the jar is always really pourable and then the bottom half is like nut cement? Bear that in mind. No harm though – if the texture isn’t coming together, add a bit more applesauce (just a bit). If it’s too soft, try another tablespoon or so of almond or coconut flour.

Oh, and bonus? For Christmas, try making these and then dipping them in melted dark chocolate. They’d be totally like those buckeye things people make around the festive season, but way healthier. Nom nom nom.

One Bowl, No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Protein Bites with Collagen

  • Author: Original recipe concept from Healy Eats Rea; tweaks and edits by Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe notes: gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free; paleo; contains nuts, animal products
  • Yield: about 10-12 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of your favourite grass-fed, organic etc, collagen protein (collagen peptides)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (cashew butter, almond butter or peanut butter work best)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/8-/14 teaspoon finely ground himalayan pink salt or sea salt (to your taste preference)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of your favourite MCT oil for an extra brain and energy boost!

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together collagen, coconut flour, almond flour, and salt.
  2. Add nut butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla, and stir until mixed well.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and finish mixing. The dough should look like cookie dough but with a more sticky/chewy/candy-like texture. It should roll nicely into a ball.
  4. Roll into balls (1 inch or a bit smaller) and store in the fridge!

Enjoy!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

 


Plant-Based Paleo Granola with Figs and Honey

paleo granola with honey and figs

Posting a paleo recipe on what is generally a plant-based blog? That’s right folks! Gird your loins – we’re about to break free from some labels.

Seriously, though. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Paleo eating and I think there is a lot about Paleo to admire and adopt. Based on my (albeit beginners) understanding, Paleo is all about real, whole foods, minimal/no sugar, no additives or processing, low-starch vegetables, no gluten – or for that matter – no grains or flours, and no dairy.

Putting aside your feelings about the consumption of animal products, which is most certainly part of a Paleo diet, you have to admit this way of eating removes most of the major allergens – dairy, gluten, and soy – and for some people, that could be just the ticket back to optimum health.

paleo-granola-2

Plus, one of the best things to adopt from Paleo, I think, is the emphasis on real foods – foods that come from nature, and are unrefined and unprocessed. These foods are generally highest in beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. Paleo encourages people to think creatively about where a whole food can be used instead of processed food.

Paleo also is really good about promoting the health benefits of nuts and seeds, while also acknowledging that these plant-based foods benefit from some tweaks to make them optimally digestible by the human body. Nuts and seeds contains phytates (so does soy, for that matter), and the concern is that these compounds might bind to essential nutrients and prevent their absorption, effectively rendering the iron/zinc/magnesium/etc. content of your nuts useless to you. Soaking is one of the methods that helps reduce phytate content. Roasting also helps. So does sprouting.

So, this granola is the double whammy – soaking then roasting. It’s a phytate buster. And it smells DIVINE while it’s in the oven.

paleo granola with honey and figs

Now, full disclosure: because the nuts are soaked first, I would say they are more chewy than crunchy. The coconut, on the other hand, is very crunchy. Nevertheless, if soaking isn’t at all your thing, you don’t believe in phytates, or you only like crunchy nuts in your granola, skip the soaking step.

This Paleo granola recipe is from a cookbook I picked up at the library called “The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook.” I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe – I reduced the amount of sweetener and oil, and doubled the coconut, for extra chew. and fibre. I also soaked the nuts, and of course, I couldn’t resist adding some cinnamon.

I invite you to dabble a little in the Paleo world with this granola! And remember: unabashedly pick and choose from any dietary plan, no matter the name, and figure out what works best for you. That’s more important than eating according to a label.

Plant-Based Paleo Granola with Figs & Honey

  • Author: The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook, with tweaks by Eat Well, Live Vibrantly
  • Recipe Notes: grain-free, soy-free, naturally-sweetened, high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3-4 dried figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (or if you prefer, maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Soak almonds and cashews in filtered water for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to proceed with ready, preheat oven to 300F.
  3. Thoroughly drain water from nuts, and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
  4. In a large bowl, combine nuts with coconut, figs, orange juice, coconut oil, raw honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and stir in dried cranberries.
  7. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Serve over coconut yogurt or with some almond milk!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly