When the historians of the future look back at the early 21st Century, and when they want a break from muttering ‘what the actual fuck’, they will perhaps examine the rise of the protein ball.

Sphere of influence

The internet, whilst it gives untold variations on recipes for protein balls, gives little insight into their origins. They sort of grew out of the space between the flapjack (remember them?), chocolate crackles, the slimmer’s bar and the chocolate digestive. They do hold quite a lot of information about our current obsessions though, with the protein element pushed to the fore (got to have protein, lots of protein – even though I sit on my arse all day, I need the protein intake of Precious McKenzie), coconut (the on-trend oily veg), and purport to be a low-guilt healthy energy boost (we used to say sugar-hit, but that just won’t do anymore) and things with ‘Superfood’ on the label, like Cocoa Nibs.

I’d never tasted one until a colleague (the same one who got me into brewing kombucha) forced one upon me. Not my kind of thing, usually, but, man, it was delicious – not as sweet as I’d imagined, and satisfying enough to dull the mid-afternoon hunger pangs before the you run the next marathon, dead-lift the next 100 kilos or browse youtube clips until you can sneak off home without being noticed. I persuaded him to give me the recipe, and I pass that on to you.

Approximately 250g Mixed raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazils), blended (choose your size of lump).

Cocoa powder

6 Dates, pitted (more, if you want it sweeter)

2 tbs coconut oil

Coconut flakes

Vanilla extract (although I forgot to put this in the second time I made them and they were still nice).

Cocoa nibs


All you do is blend the nuts, coconut and dates. Mix with the vanilla, cocoa nibs, and a drop of water, not making it too wet. Form into balls, roll them in cocoa power and let them firm up in the fridge. Lick your hands clean, not getting it into your beard.

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