I am honored and delighted that one of my recipes has just received Dr. Michael Greger, M.D.’s stamp of approval! This is part of a project at www.nutritionfacts.org. Dr. Greger has very strict guidelines with regard to recipe ingredients. Recipes must be made entirely from whole, unprocessed plant foods and must be free of oil, sugar and salt. If you’re not familiar Dr. Greger’s work, I highly recommend visiting his site as a great resource for science-based nutrition information.
Grown-ups call these truffles, but in my experience, that doesn’t sound great to kids. Chocolate Candy Balls sounds like more fun. These truffles are rich and chocolatey, yet are virtually fat-free and are made entirely from whole, natural plant foods. Black rice is rich in health-promoting anthocyanins, the same antioxidants found in blueberries and black beans. In fact, black rice is even higher in these cancer preventers than blueberries! For these chocolate candy balls, the combination of black rice, naturally sweet dates, cocoa powder and a little ground flax seeds (high in omega-3 fatty acids) come together to create a rich chocolate treat. They may be the healthiest truffles in the world!
P.S. These make an excellent hostess gift around the holidays. Put a batch in a pretty cardboard box from a craft store, tie up with a ribbon and voila! – an easy, healthy treat you can feel good about giving!
- 2 cups cooked black forbidden rice (about ½ cup uncooked)
- 2 cups pitted medjool dates (about 12 dates)
- ¼ cup fair trade organic cocoa powder (to learn more on why to buy fair trade chocolate and which brands are fair trade, visit http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm)
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds
- Extras: ¼ cup dried coconut flakes or chopped nuts (pistachios look pretty)
- Pulse cooked rice, dates, coconut (if using), cocoa powder and ground flax seeds in food processor just until mixture forms a dough. Don’t over mix! Using a mini disher (ice cream scoop) or teaspoon, scoop onto parchment lined tray, then using slightly wet hands, shape into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in coconut flakes or chopped nuts and chill for at least 4 hours. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Note: To cook rice, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes until water has been absorbed. Alternately, cook rice in a rice cooker on brown rice setting.
Nutrition Facts: Dates are the healthiest sweetener in the world. In fact, they are the only “healthy” sweetener as they are simply dried fruit. In a 2009 study, Israeli scientists studied the effects of eating large amounts of dates[i]. Although dates contain 80% sugar and high sugar foods normally contribute to weight-gain, increase blood sugar (glucose), raise triglycerides and increase oxidative stress on our bodies, dates have none of these deleterious effects. In fact, dates reduce triglycerides and oxidative stress. This is due to the fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals present in the dates.
[i] Effects of Date Consumption by Healthy Subjects on Serum Glucose and Lipid Levels and on Serum Oxidative Status: A Pilot Study. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Sep 9;57(17):8010-7
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2015. © All Rights Reserved.