Quinoa Almond Orange Cocoa Balls +6M

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When I created this recipe my goal was to find a baby friendly sweet treat without refined sugars, easy to digest, nutritious, easy to handle by little ones…and good. I started from a traditional energy ball recipe that I like with chocolate and oranges and I kept switching ingredients here and there.

I ended up with a vegan and gluten free recipe and I went to test it to my friend’s house. She has the sweetest baby willing to try my recipes 🙂 A very honest judge, I have to admit. It’s not always a yes, but it’s not always a no too and I appreciate it. Thank you Nolan!

Funny thing is that the balls are not only a lovely baby treat…but they can really become a mom’s addiction too 🙂

Those little guilt free treats hit you with a chocolatey flavor at the first bite and slowly the orange zest pops out leaving you with such a great combination of flavors in your mouth. Unfortunately knowing that the balls are vegan, gluten free and refines sugars free makes you keep eating them..one after the other!

I like to prepare a nice batch of balls and store them in the refrigerator. They can last up to two weeks. To be sincere mine didn’t last so long 🙂

What I like about the recipe is that you can size the balls pending your little one age (the younger the baby, the smaller the balls) and also coat them pending his/her taste. My kids loved them plain, with no coating. On my side I preferred the ones with the coconut flakes.

Also, the final texture can be personalized simply switching the order you place the ingredients in the food processor: you can have super creamy and smooth balls, regular ones or chunky ones.

Let’s start from the regular smooth texture procedure.

In a powerful food processor add all the ingredients starting from the roasted almonds, dried kiwi, pitted dates, orange zest, orange juice, half of the amount of the coconut flakes, unsweetened cocoa powder, cooked quinoa, almond butter and ground flaxseed.

Pulse 2 minutes up until obtaining a sticky smooth dough. Roll 1 teaspoon or less of mix in your hands to create a ball. Coat the ball with some coconut flakes. Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you want a smoother consistency add the almonds, kiwi, quinoa and dates first. Blend for 2 minutes up until obtaining a smooth cream and then add the other ingredients.

If otherwise you are looking for a chunky consistency blend together the almonds with kiwi, dates and coconut flakes up until breadcrumbs consistency. Transfer in a bowl and combine all the other ingredients. The final result will be grainy with more texture.

One comment about the dried kiwi. I understand that it might not be an easy to find dried fruit. You can easily substitute the kiwi with any dried fruit of your choice. If you are using apricots, make sure they are sulfur free. It’s easy to check. The color! That bright orange yellow it’s not the natural one, they should be brownish.

From a nutritional point of view dried fruit are a lovely source of iron so I can classify this recipe in the “iron boosting” category too.

5 from 1 vote
Quinoa Almond Orange Cocoa Balls – Vegan and GF
  • 1/2 cup roasted almond
  • 1/4 cup dried kiwi (or any other dried fruit of your choice)
  • 5 dates
  • 1 medium orange. Zest + juice
  • 1 cup coconut flakes (1/2 cup for the mix, 1/2 cup for the coating)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for 2 minutes up until obtaining a sticky dough.

  2. Roll 1 teaspoon of mix in your hands to create a small ball.

  3. Coat the ball with coconut flakes.

  4. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.


Did you make this recipe? Share the love, tag @buonapappa on Instagram and hashtag it #buonapappa I would love to see your creations!

  • Reply
    Magan Dee
    November 2, 2020 at 3:54 am

    I haven’t tried yet. Giving 5 stars just by getting impressed with the amazing combination and variety of ingredients.
    My question here is, can I use peanut butter instead of almond butter??

    • User Avatar
      Barbara Lamperti
      November 2, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Megan! Thank you for the 5 stars Sure, you can switch almond butter with other nut butters. Let me know how it goes! Ciao, b

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