Snacks

September 20, 2022

Healthy Pumpkin Protein Balls

Made with nourishing ingredients like oats, chia seeds, almond butter, pumpkin, and dark chocolate, these Healthy Pumpkin Protein Balls are the perfect fall snack. Each energy bite is gluten free, refined sugar free, and has 4 grams of protein.

I used to hate on the whole "meal prep energy balls" trend, but as I've gotten creative with my flavors, they've become one of my favorite snacks!

I mean, you can't beat the cookie dough texture made from real food ingredients that doubles as a post-workout snack or healthy treat. Right?!

And if that's not enough, today's no bake energy balls are actually pumpkin spice energy balls!

They're a simple no bake recipe with cozy fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and, of course, dark chocolate.

A stack of pumpkin protein balls with a bite out of one


Why you'll love this recipe

Simple ingredients: this recipe is made with real pumpkin puree and basic pantry staples.

Easy to make: all you need is one bowl and a spatula!

Pumpkin season: the perfect treat for those early fall months when there is no shortage of pumpkin recipes. (PS if you need another pumpkin recipe you have to make my chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!)

High protein: each healthy bite has 4 grams of protein!

Allergy friendly: these pumpkin spice protein balls are naturally gluten free and dairy free with no added sugar.

Kid friendly: meal prep these at the beginning of the week, then throw a couple in your kids' lunch boxes for a healthy snack.

Ingredients for pumpkin protein bites arranged on a table


Ingredients you'll need

  • Oat flour: a nutty, gluten free flour with fiber and plant based protein. You can make your own oat flour by pulsing rolled oats or quick oats in a high speed blender until finely ground. If you are sensitive to gluten, be sure to use certified gluten free oats or oat flour.
  • Chia seeds: one of nature's superfoods, packed with protein, iron, and omega-3 fats. You could also use equal amounts of flax seed or hemp seeds.
  • Pumpkin puree: not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling. This is just pure pumpkin in a can. Pumpkin is a fantastic source of vitamin A and a good source of fiber.
  • Pumpkin seeds: a good source of healthy fats, plant-based protein, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Bonus points if you buy the salted kind! If you don't like pumpkin seeds, you can omit them entirely or replace them with equal parts unsweetened coconut flakes (you will be able to taste the coconut) or chocolate chips.
  • Creamy almond butter: the BEST compliment to pumpkin in my opinion. You could use any nut or seed butter here like cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini, but I don't recommend using peanut butter because it will overpower the pumpkin.
  • Vanilla protein powder: feel free to use any type, including vegan! If you don't have any protein powder, you could try using half the amount of almond flour, but I haven't tested this.
  • Sugar free maple syrup: to get that touch of maple syrup without the sugar or calories. You can totally use real maple syrup though!
  • Stevia: a zero calorie sweetener. You can use Splenda or Monkfruit, too.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: also known as pumpkin pie mix, this is a yummy blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger with a little bit of cloves. If you don't have any, I include a DIY pumpkin spice blend in the recipe card.
  • Dark chocolate chips: optional but delicious. You can mix them in the dough or melt them with some coconut oil and create a hard shell of chocolate on the outside. You can also use any type of chocolate, including semi sweet chocolate, white chocolate, or mini chocolate chips!

The ingredients for pumpkin energy balls in a food processor


How to make pumpkin protein balls

Step 1: mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the oat flour, protein powder, Stevia, and spices until well combined. If you are making your own oat flour, pulse the oats in a food processor first, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Step 2: mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, chia seeds, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.

Step 3: mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and fold until well combined. Pour in the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips, mixing until incorporated. The dough will be slightly wet and sticky.

Step 4: flash freeze. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden while you wash the dishes.

Step 5: make the pumpkin balls. Remove the protein balls from the freezer. Use a one tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the dough and roll into balls.

Step 6: flash freeze again. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place each bite on the paper. Freeze for 15 minutes, then store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Pumpkin protein bite dough in a food processor


How to store pumpkin energy bites

In the fridge

I prefer using glass tupperware, but you can use any airtight container you have. These pumpkin protein bites will keep fresh for up to one week in the fridge.

In the freezer

Place on a cookie sheet and flash freeze for 30 minutes, then transfer to a large ziploc bag and store for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge the night before and thaw overnight.

You could also thaw at room temperature, but they might retain excess liquid from freezing and get a little mushy.

A stack of pumpkin protein balls with a bite out of one


More protein recipes you'll love

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Maple Pecan Protein Donuts

Healthy Gingerbread Protein Balls

Mint Chocolate Protein Donuts

The BEST High Protein French Toast Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Banana Bread

A stack of pumpkin protein balls with a bite out of one


Whether it's pumpkin season or not, these no bake pumpkin protein balls are a great addition to your weekly menu.

The best part? They are a great way to get in some extra protein while satisfying your sweet tooth!

Be sure to leave a star rating and review if you try this recipe so other readers know how you liked it.

You can also take a picture and tag me on social media!

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Healthy Pumpkin Protein Balls

Made with nourishing ingredients like oats, chia seeds, almond butter, pumpkin, and dark chocolate, these Healthy Pumpkin Protein Balls are the perfect fall snack. Each energy bite is gluten free, refined sugar free, and has 4 grams of protein.

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

30

min

cook:

0

min

total:

30

min

servings:

26

Ingredients

  • 2 C oat flour*
  • 3/4 C vanilla protein powder
  • 1/3 C Stevia
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice**
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C sugar free maple syrup
  • 1/3 C creamy almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 C pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 C sugar free dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the oat flour, protein powder, Stevia, and spices until well combined. (If you are making your own oat flour, pulse the oats in a food processor first, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, chia seeds, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and fold until well combined. Pour in the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips, mixing until incorporated. The dough will be slightly wet and sticky.
  4. Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  5. Remove the protein balls from the freezer. Use a one tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the dough and roll into balls.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place each bite on the paper. Freeze for 15 minutes, then store in the fridge until ready to eat.
  7. Leave a star rating and review below so other readers know how you liked the recipe!

Notes

*See blog post for substitutions.

**If you don't have this on hand, use 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, and 1/4 tsp cloves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ball / Calories: 90 / Fat: 3.8g / Saturated fat: 0.2g / Carbohydrates: 10.7g / Fiber: 2.3g / Sugar: 0.2g / Protein: 4.3g