Tis’ the season for pumpkin spice errythang! And I must admit, I’m totally here for it. I am an avid fall lover. Although I will miss summer dearly, my heart belongs to those crisp autumn days sipping a hot cider snuggling by a crackling fire while watching Michigan State football. When I lived in Houston, Texas for a while, I could not handle the lack of season change (or mild season change I should say). I full on boycotted it by wearing hoodies and fall attire despite the 90+ degree days. This eventually stopped because for starters, I was sweating my ass off and also the leaves on the trees weren’t changing so it all just felt off.
Needless to say, I didn’t last long in Texas. As much as I want to fight it, I’m a northern girl through and through. My biological clock just seems to need the season changes. Now that I’m back in Michigan, I take FULL advantage of fall and everything that comes with it. Y’all know what this means…PUMPKIN.
Pumpkin is just a kick-ass vegetable. Well really it’s a fruit, but acts more like a vegetable. Not only does it make all your fall recipes taste wonderful, but it also has some serious health benefits. It’s a beta-carotene rock star, which equates to high vitamin A in the body. It also provides a couple really great antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. These special characteristics in addition to its vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and vitamin E content, help boost your immune system (which we could all use with flu season ahead), improve your eyesight, and help prevent risk of developing chronic diseases.
These pumpkin carrot balls are no exception. They are actually a vitamin A double whammy with the addition of the carrots. They are also vegan, dairy, and gluten-free. The ground flaxseed is the nutritional cherry on top by contributing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber.
I personally love any type of energy bite (or ball). They are a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up, after dinner sweet treat, grab and go healthy snack, or just an anytime bite of deliciousness. These can also be frozen for later use. If you’re looking to boost the protein content, feel free to add your favorite protein powder, chia seeds, or more ground flaxseed. A vanilla protein powder would pair perfectly! I opted out this time around because my protein powder was vanilla coconut flavor and I wasn’t really feeling the coconut for this recipe. By all means, get creative and tailor to your flavor preferences! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Carrot Energy Bites
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- ½ cup 100% pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Gluten-free old-fashioned oats (can also use ¼ cup flour of choice and regular old-fashioned oats if you prefer)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Pour oats into a food processor or blender and pulse until a fine powder. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
Add the carrots into the food processor and pulse until the carrots are finely minced. Add in the dates and half of the pumpkin puree. Blend into a paste.
Add in the rest of the pumpkin puree, oat flour, maple syrup, flaxseed, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse until evenly combined.
Place the chopped pecans into a medium bowl. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough into 1-2 inch balls and roll in the pecans to coat.
Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy as a snack or mini dessert!