These no-bake turtle energy balls are soft, chewy, and deliciously sweet! The easy recipe is vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, and made with 5 ingredients. Enjoy the flavors of salted caramel, warm vanilla, and rich chocolate altogether in one bite-sized treat. They are truly reminiscent of the classic chocolate turtles dessert!
What happens when you combine caramel, pecans, and chocolate? One of the best dessert flavors: turtle, baby! Whether it’s turtle cheesecake, cookies, brownies, or ice cream, I’ll always give it a 10/10 on my score card.
However, since the turtle flavor is typically used to create incredibly indulgent desserts, I set out to create a healthier treat. I wanted to enjoy the same flavor profile, but with wholesome ingredients. You know, something that could curb my sweet tooth in a guilt-free manner. Well, what a surprising success that was! Only 5 ingredients are needed to make these nutritious, yet totally delicious, turtle energy balls.
These turtle energy balls are:
- Vegan, no-bake, gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and paleo-friendly
- Incredibly soft, chewy, and delightfully sweet
- Salted caramel flavor with a hint of vanilla
- Quick & easy // ready in less than 10 minutes
- Great for snacking, school lunches, work lunches, and pre- or post-workout fuel
What are chocolate turtles?
These turtle energy balls are reminiscent of classic chocolate turtles. The original treat is a cluster of caramel and pecans covered in creamy chocolate.
Since its creation in the early 1900s, popular desserts have developed a turtle-flavored variety. You can now find turtle cookies, bars, cheesecake, ice cream, candy, donuts, and much more. Check out my No-Bake Turtle Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free) recipe!
What’s in these 5 ingredient energy balls?
- Dates: These energy balls are naturally sweetened with medjool dates. Dates contain a caramel-like flavor, making it the perfect replacement for actual caramel.
- Pecans: Just like the classic chocolate turtles, we’ll use pecans for this recipe. Pecans are rich in several vitamins and minerals – including calcium, iron, potassium, and selenium.
- Chocolate chips: I recommend using vegan mini chocolate chips, but regular chocolate chips will work just fine.
- Vanilla: A dash of vanilla adds a subtle yet delicious vanilla flavor. As always, vanilla is a key complementary ingredient in homemade desserts and treats.
- Salt: Don’t forget the salt! A pinch of salt balances the sweetness in the medjool dates and chocolate chips.
How to make turtle energy balls
For the full ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, scroll down to view the recipe card below.
All you need is 5 ingredients, 1 food processor, and 10 minutes. Let’s do this!
First, combine the raw pecans, pitted medjool dates, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Process the ingredients until a crumbled, sticky mixture forms. Then, toss in the chocolate chips. Pulse the food processor a couple times until they are evenly incorporated throughout the mixture.
Next, use a mini cookie scoop or a tablespoon to scoop the mixture into 12-15 rounds. Using clean hands, roll them into evenly-shaped balls. Enjoy!
Soft dates work best. As always, soft dates are best when it comes to no-bake desserts. If your dates are quite dry and hard, you may need to add some moisture when processing the ingredients. The mixture should be sticky, pinch-able, and easily rolled into balls. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add 1/2 to 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or water. Then, process again until the mixture comes together.
Use mini chocolate chips. I highly suggest grabbing some vegan mini chocolate chips for these turtle energy balls. However, no worries if you don’t have any. Regular chocolate chips will work just fine. If you are trying to cut back on sugar, try these stevia-sweetened chocolate chips instead.
Don’t let the chocolate melt. After processing the dates and pecans together, your food processor might cause the mixture to warm up a bit. (Food processors generate heat because the blades move quickly to break ingredients down!) If this is the case, wait a few minutes before adding the chocolate chips. Otherwise, the chocolate chips may melt once you add them to the mixture.
Store in the refrigerator. These turtle energy balls are best stored in an airtight contained inside the refrigerator. They are freezer-friendly, too! You can place the container in the freezer where they will last for up to 3 months.
Try more energy ball recipes:
- Peanut Butter Energy Balls
- Oatmeal Cookie Dough Balls
- Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls
- Cinnamon Roll Energy Balls
- Birthday Cake Energy Balls
- Pumpkin Energy Balls
- Coconut Almond Bliss Balls
- No Bake Brownie Bites
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Balls
- Pecan Pie Bliss Balls
These no-bake turtle energy balls are soft, chewy, and deliciously sweet! The recipe is vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, and made with 5 ingredients. Enjoy the flavors of salted caramel, warm vanilla, and rich chocolate altogether in one bite-sized treat!
- Combine pecans, dates, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process ingredients until a crumbled, sticky mixture forms. It should be pinch-able; you’ll need to roll the mixture into balls later on. If it’s too dry, add 1/2 to 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or water and process again until it comes together.
- Add chocolate chips to the food processor. Pulse a couple times until the chocolate chips are evenly incorporated throughout the mixture.
- Using a mini cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the mixture into 12-15 rounds. Roll each round into a ball. Enjoy!
- See “Kaylie’s Tips” in the post for recommendations about dates, chocolate chips, and storage.
- Serving Size: 1 ball
- Calories: 180
- Sugar: 19g
- Fat: 10g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 3g
Keywords: turtle energy balls, energy balls with dates and pecans, 5 ingredient
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