June is a busy month! Between the outdoors calling, Father’s Day, picnics and time in the garden, being indoors or hassling with the stove is not too appealing – but fuss-free, tasty snacks are very tempting. Peanut Butter Bites are the perfect snack to have around for kids and grown-ups who are always on-the-go. They require no baking and are easy to prepare as a vegan or gluten-free recipe.
This treat is simple enough for kids to make for Dad’s Day, or as an afternoon snack. Give them the freedom (within reason!) to swap some ingredients for flavors they prefer. My sister-in-law Angie Shultz, a runner and fitness enthusiast who’s always looking for a better way to snack, makes a similar treat that includes whey protein powder. If you’d like to keep the recipe vegan, use a non-dairy protein powder. The key is to play with flavors and sneak in extra nutrition where it works best for you!
Sweets weren’t always around when I was growing up. My dad is not distracted by sweets – he’s more of a fresh-cut French fry guy. But my mom did make a peanut ball treat with honey, powdered milk and peanut butter. These Peanut Butter Bites are a toothsome and healthy nod to Mom’s recipe.
Substitute an equal portion of the coconut flakes or nuts with mini-chocolate chips. - Substitute honey with raw, organic agave or rice syrup to prepare as a vegan recipe. - Substitute dates with ¼ cup chopped dried fruit. - Roll the bites in shredded coconut or dip in melted chocolate.
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ cup crispy rice cereal
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes or chopped nuts
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds, optional
- ¾ cup all-natural crunchy peanut butter or nut butter
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup (honey for a non-vegan recipe)
- 5 pitted dates, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, cereal, coconut and chia seeds; set aside.
- In another small mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, syrup, dates, vanilla and salt.
- Add the peanut butter mixture to the oat mixture and stir until evenly blended.
- Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Using a spoon, scoop and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight before serving. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature, if you prefer.