I love experimenting with protein and energy ball recipes and this one I created for anti-inflammatory hemp & turmeric bliss balls is a real humdinger. They have a warm, spicy and complex flavour that is very “grown-up” (i.e. not too sweet!) and you’ll have to stop yourself from nabbing one each time you walk by the refrigerator.
Once you understand the basic formula for bliss balls, you can toss all kinds of fun ingredients into the mix to create your own flavourful little masterpieces. You just need to combine some dry base ingredients with wet ingredients + binding ingredients + sweetening ingredients and voila! – Super “nom”-worthy bliss balls like the ones from your local café (only better because you made them).
But you can leave all of the wild experimenting to me for now because I’ve written down everything you need to make these golden bites of goodness below. Let’s take a closer look at all the raw, nutritious ingredients.
The various ingredients have been specially selected for their excellent anti-inflammatory properties (including our hemp seeds!). This makes these bliss balls a great bite-sized treat for those suffering from inflammatory conditions ranging from acne to arthritis, and even post-workout soreness.
You may not have known that dried apricots are such a vitamin and nutrient power-house. Apricots are rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, fibre and antioxidants, making them a perfect sweet base for our bliss balls.
Apricots contain “beta-cryptoxanthin” and studies have shown this (plant-based) chemical may help prevent osteoarthritis, as well as inflammatory forms of arthritis. They’re also high in magnesium which has been shown to relax the body and easy pain symptoms. (Source: Apricot Power)
Hemp seeds are rich in omega fatty acids, one in particular being gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which may have anti-inflammatory effects similar to medications like ibuprofen. One study found a 75% reduction in arthritis-associated pain in participants after nine months of GLA supplementation. (Source: WebMD)
Walnuts are a wildly nutritious food which makes them an excellent base ingredient for our anti-inflammatory bliss balls. In fact, the health benefits of walnuts are so renowned that each year for the past 50 years, scientists and industry experts gather at the University of California for a walnut conference to discuss the latest walnut health research. How cool is that?
Walnuts contain a high concentration of alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids (also known as Omega fatty acids) which, like hemp seeds, have anti-inflammatory effects that may help to keep blood vessels healthy. In addition, these fatty acids may have positive effects on blood lipids so the specific combination of fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in walnuts may also have positive effects on cardiovascular health.
Turmeric & Black Pepper
Here’s the combination that really boosts the power of this recipe. Turmeric may be one of mankind’s best known nutritional supplements. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Modern science now confirms traditional claims that turmeric contains medicinal properties. “Curcumin” is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into your bloodstream. In order to experience the full effects of curcumin, we must improve its bioavailability (that’s the rate at which your body absorbs a substance). This is achieved by adding black pepper to the recipe. Piperine (found in black pepper) enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, which means it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil so it’s advisable to take curcumin with other foods that are high in fat* – like the nuts and coconut oil in this recipe for example. (Source: Healthline)
Coconut oil is very rich in lauric acid which has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It’s great for combatting the chronic inflammation that causes conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema. (Source: Healthline)
Almond butter contains magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E, which reduces bodily inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
Honey is widely used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial agent. Its anti-inflammatory properties are free from major side effects, unlike some prescription medications like corticosteroids. People commonly take honey orally to treat coughs and topically to treat burns and promote wound healing. Some of the vitamins found in honey include ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin and riboflavin; while minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc are also present. (Source: Longdom Scientific Journals) Grab a jar of our own Happy Hemp Bee Honey here!
Important Health Notes
While these bliss balls contain wholesome, healthy ingredients, they do contain a high concentration of fats. While they are “good fats”, they are still fats and we recommend consuming these golden goodies in moderation!
It’s also important to remember that total health and wellness isn’t just about what you do or do not eat. There is no one magic ingredient that will cure all diseases, inflammation, pain or chronic conditions.
Keep in mind that good health begins with:
a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of colourful, nutritious, whole foods that are low in saturated fats (vegetables there’s your cue!)
taking part in regular exercise
avoiding excess body weight
avoiding excessive stress
avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
and avoiding smoking
These are good starting points for building and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Talk to your own qualified health professional about your individual needs.
Now on to the recipe!
Anti-Inflammatory Hemp & Turmeric Bliss Balls Recipe
Vegetarian / Gluten-free / Vegan option / Nut allergy warning
Yield 12-15 bliss balls
Each ball will contain roughly 178 calories, 12g fat (no mono or polyunsaturated fat), 65mg sodium, 116mg potassium, 17g carbohydrates, 12g sugars, 1g dietary fibre
What you will need
Tinned chickpeas (or garbonzo beans as they’re known in some parts) – 100g (about 2/3 Cup)
Dried apricots – 100g (about 1/2 Cup)
Walnuts – 50g (about 1/2 Cup)
Dried coconut flakes – 1/2 Cup
Hulled hemp seeds – 2 tbsp (get them here!)
Ground turmeric – 1 tbsp
Ground ginger – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – tbsp
Almond butter – 1 generous tsp
Honey – 1 tbsp (get it here!) or to make this recipe vegan, substitute for rice malt syrup or maple syrup
Black pepper – about 10 finely ground peppercorns (best) or 1/4 tsp pre-ground black pepper
Mortar & Pestle
This recipe is super easy.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Measure out your 100g and reserve the remaining.
Make sure your coconut oil is in a solid state. If it has liquified due to the temperature outside (Yes Australia, summer is just about here…) pop it in the fridge for a bit before you begin. You’ll get better results.
Grind your 10 peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. You want about a 1/4 teaspoon worth of pepper. Get it as fine as you can so it incorporates well through the whole mixture.
Sub honey for maple syrup or rice malt syrup to make the recipe vegan if you wish.
Then you simply combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and hit blend. You will want the mixture to be mealy and crumbly but moist. Like this:
You want to be able to scoop up a generous tablespoon of the mixtures, press it in your hand and then gently roll into a ball shape.
If it’s too wet and gloopy, try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut flour, chickpea flour or other gluten free flour. You can also try putting the raw mixture in the fridge for a bit before you start rolling. This will help the coconut oil solidify further and hold things together.
If it’s too dry, add a bit more honey or almond butter until you get the right consistency.
Once the balls are shaped to your liking, you can roll them in extra hemp seeds or coconut flakes to make them pretty.
*Tip: if you don’t want yellow hands and fingernail beds, you may want to wear gloves while rolling! Turmeric can stain skin for about 24 hours before it washes out. It will also stain your kitchen cloths and tea towels so use old ones for this recipe!
Keep these in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. I find they are nicest that way!
We hope you enjoy this recipe.
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