Tigernut cacao energy balls

tigernut cacao energy balls

Yesterday around about tea time, ploughing away on the computer, I had a major snack attack; since it was thundering outside I turned to my kitchen cupboards for some instant energy and inspiration. These are what happened and they didn’t hang around long.

The main component is tigernut flour: a new ingredient that crept into my life last week when I was searching for ground almond to use for a face scrub in a natural beauty workshop. The Spar in Walthamstow didn’t have it but it did have organic tigernut, and the texture is so similar it worked perfectly. I love the way the universe throws these discoveries in your face, and this is one thing that my naturopathic journey continues to teach me and something I love to try and inspire in others: a little confidence and flexibility in the kitchen make cooking such an empowering process. The more things you try and throw together, the more you hone your intuition, and the more possibilities open up when time or ingredients are limited. It turns out polenta really doesn’t work in a face scrub! But now I know.

So, left with a bag of sweet gluten-free tigernut flour, I whipped it up with some superfood favourites in a matter of minutes and it tasted so good. This little African food is actually a tuber (a type of veg) not a nut, and research shows that it apparently fuelled over 3/4 of paleolithic man’s diet. It is completely non-allergenic, so great for gluten-free nut allergy sufferers, and a dense source of something called resistant starch: a prebiotic fibre that resists digestion and supports probiotic bacteria and good gut health. Tigernuts also contain as much iron as red meat and as much potassium as coconut water gram for gram, as well as vitamins E & C. And it is relatively cheap, too, and readily available organically grown.

With so many healthy recipes relying on heaps of nuts, this little non-nut could be your new best friend. I mixed it with cacao, gojis, ashwaganda, reishi and bee pollen but you can really throw in what you like.


1 cup ground tigernut

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp ground ginger

3 tbsp goji berries

1/4 cup cacao

3 tbsp bee pollen

3 drops orange oil

Optional superfood powders (maca, lucuma, ashwaganda, reishi, spirulina)

1 tbsp honey or sweetener of your choice

Sea salt to season

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and adjust any according to taste (you may also need a little more coconut oil if it’s on the dry side) before rolling into small balls, setting in the fridge and dusting with cacao before serving.

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