Matcha Bliss Balls
Hello all! Yes, I realize it’s been more than a month since I last posted a recipe here – but I promise I have lots of good reasons as to why. First and foremost: my Master’s of Nutrition graduate school program. Woe is me; winter has been one of the most challenging academic terms I’ve experienced thus far. A heavy course load, long ass classes, and copious amounts of time consuming homework and case studies has left barely any time for me to play around in the kitchen. In fact, making something as simple and delicious as these matcha bliss balls in my spare time was a serious cooking win in my book – they take all of 10 minutes to make, FYI. On top of graduate school, I’ve been interning at an awesome company teaching little kiddos all about fruits and veggies and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life. On top of that, the Portland weather is finally stepping its game up and days are getting longer and brighter – hello spring! This means more time to cook, go outside, stop and smell the roses, and a lot more Vitamin D. Thank goodness.
Anyway, these little matcha bliss balls, like I said, were a serious kitchen win in my book. Not only did I have all the delicious ingredients on hand, like I’m sure you will to, but there is no greater satisfaction that throwing a bunch of things in a food processor and turning them into one big delicious sticky date and matcha ball of goodness. Those ingredients, by the way, are awesome, nourishing, and epic – especially our little green superfood.
Matcha. Matcha. Matcha.
You may have heard of this trendy green tea powder before. I do believe 2016 was declared the year of matcha – or maybe it was year of the seaweed? Regardless, matcha green tea is having a moment both in the culinary and health world for a whole bunch of delicious reasons. First and foremost, matcha comes from young, delicate tea leaves that have been carefully grown, shade covered, and ground into a fine powder. Historically, matcha has been used in Asian tea ceremonies, by Zen Buddhist monks in Japan, and by Samurai warriors – all of which who consumed the tea for its calming and soothing, yet gently energizing powers. Nowadays, you can use matcha powder for a number of things: smoothies, baked goods, cookies, cakes, pies, and of course matcha lattes.
Nutritionally, matcha has a lot going for it. Matcha is high in free radical scavenging antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, a hint of natural caffeine, and chlorophyll, the later of which gives the tea its bright emerald green color. Notably, the amino acid L-theanine, is most prevalent within the tea and known to provide a relaxing and therapeutic effect on the mind and body. Theanine is also known to increase serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in the brain – all of which aid in the promotion of focus and clarity. Matcha is also thought to be an immune-system booster, thanks to its ample antioxidants and polyphenols, as well as a potent detoxifier thanks to chlorophyll, which helps to cleanse the blood. Finally, matcha may help in the protection against certain types of cancers thanks to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) a polyphenol that has chemopreventive properties. Several studies have shown that the polyphenols present in matcha tea prevents the spread of malignant cancerous cells, promotes induction of apoptosis (cell death), and assists in the reducing the risk of developing various cancers including bladder cancer and colorectal cancer.
Of course, along with all the wonderful health promoting effects of matcha, these bliss balls are filled with other nourishing, whole food ingredients as well. Almonds provide plant protein and skin loving Vitamin E, dates provide a natural hint of sugar, chia seeds amp up the fiber content, while coconut and coconut oil provide heart healthy medium chain saturated fats.
Antioxidant filled matcha + heart loving almonds and coconut + sticky sweet dates + energizing maca + crunchy chia seeds = the perfect little on-the-go energizing treat or sweet.
Matcha Bliss Balls
Makes 16-18 Matcha Bliss Balls
1 ½ heaped cups medjool dates, pitted (about 18-20 large dates)
¾ cup almonds
1 heaped tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon matcha powder (+ more to roll in)
¼ cup shredded coconut (+ more to roll in)
1 heaped tablespoon nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.)
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a thick, sticky ball forms. If mixture is too dry add in a few more pitted dates or coconut oil until mixture sticks together.
Scoop a tablespoon of date mixture and form into a ball with your hands. Roll balls in shredded coconut or matcha if desired.
Store bliss balls in the freezer or refrigerator in an airtight container where they’ll keep for 2-3 weeks.
-You can find matcha green tea powder at health food stores or online. This brand is my favorite.
-If your medjool dates are rock hard, pit them and soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain dates from water and add to the food processor with the remainder of the ingredients.
-No maca, no problem. Skip it!
-Matcha has a slightly bitter taste that may be off-putting rolled on the exterior of the bliss balls for some. Lightly roll the bliss balls in matcha to prevent this, or simply roll all the bliss balls into shredded coconut, chia seeds, or simply leave them as is!