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    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Magic Orbs

    Last week while in Buenos Aires, I wanted to make my classic brownie bites for my nephews.  Alas, once I realized I didn’t have dates or raisins on hand, I opted to instead raid my parents’ pantry and refrigerator for ingredients I thought would go well together for a treat with similar qualities.

    No more than 15 minutes later, almost as if by magic, these delicious ‘orbs’ were finished.

    YIELDS: 20 orbs


    1 3/4 cups oats (quick-cooking or rolled)
    1/4 cup chia seeds (see note #1 below)
    1/4 cup hemp seeds (see note #1 below)
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds (see note #1 below)
    1/4 cup ground flax (see note #1 below)
    2/3 cup nut or seed butter of choice (see note #2 below)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 TBSP liquid sweetener (i.e.: raw/local honey, maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, coconut nectar)
    2 TBSP cup coconut milk (or any other milk of choice, or plain water; see note #3 below)
    Pinch of salt
    Spices (optional, but could throw in one or more of the following: cinnamon, cacao powder, ground ginger, lucuma, maca, mesquite, nutmeg).
    Unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional, to roll orbs in once done)

    Note #1: You can use whatever type of seeds (or chopped nuts) that you want.  Idea is to have 1 cup of seeds total.  If you omit the hemp seeds, for example, make up for that quarter cup in other ways.

    Note #2: For more interesting flavors, mix and match nut/seed butters.  Try almond and peanut, or sunflower and tahini!

    Note #3: You may need a little more or less water to make a sticky “dough” depending on remaining ingredients.


    1. Place all ingredients in large bowl.

    2. Mix well, ensuring you achieve a sticky dough/batter-like texture.

    3. Roll into round shapes and store in refrigerator.


    125 calories
    50 mg sodium
    2 g added sugar
    3 g fiber
    4 g protein

    Excellent Source of: Magnesium, manganese, ALA omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin, vitamin E, zinc

    Good Source of: Calcium, iron



    1. Allison said on August 20th, 2011

      These look great! Question for you about sweeteners, since it comes up in this post. I’ve been avoiding agave since it’s so highly processed. But, you seem like someone who’s probably thought about that, too, and you’ve recommended it as a possible ingredient here. What are your thoughts?

      Just this morning I’ve read no less than 5 recipes that call for agave and seen sf street fair food vendors promoting their agave sweetened drinks. I’m starting to feel like I’m the only person resisting agave…has the marketing just been so successful, or do people not care that it’s a hydrolyzed starch (I mean, maybe that doesn’t really matter…)?

    2. Andy Bellatti said on August 20th, 2011

      Hi Allison,

      Some agave is very highly processed. For me, it is a matter of sourcing. For example, I know that the raw agave by Organic Nectars is minimally processed and low glycemic.

      As you know from reading my blog, I am all about lowering consumption of sweeteners, even if they are minimally processed. So, for recipes like these, were the sweetener content is relatively low, I want to provide some flexibility for people (say, someone who is vegan and also does not like the taste of maple syrup).

      I am not in the “agave is worse than high fructose corn syrup!” camp, but I also dislike the benevolence attributed to it by many. As I like to say, “I don’t care if you’re using agave, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup… lower your sweetener consumption!”

    3. Cameo said on August 21st, 2011

      Love these orbs! Looks like a super versatile recipe and delicious too. I will definitely give them a whirl.

    4. Kim M. said on August 22nd, 2011

      Andy, how many carbs per orb (assuming honey or maple syrup is used)? I’m diabetic and need to know how to count these. They sound pretty fabulous!

    5. Andy Bellatti said on August 23rd, 2011

      I’d guess in the 8 – 12 range.

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