the taste space

Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on June 15, 2011


This weekend I did it. I cycled 361km between Ottawa, Kingston and back over 2 days. And I survived! :)

Every year, over 2000 cyclists bike between Ottawa and Kingston with the Ottawa Bicycle Club for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. This is not a charity event; everyone does it for fun. There are many different routes, but the most popular is the “Classic” 177-km route that you do in both directions on smaller country roads between the 2 cities. My Dad has done this for over 9 years and when he announced this year would be his last, I wanted to join him. Somehow (and thankfully!), other friends also thought this would be a great idea to do. We trained earlier this summer, as soon as the snow melted, in between rain, fierce winds, battling challenges with riding with heavier panniers, back on my hybrid and even renting an uncomfortable cruiser while in Vancouver.

Unfortunately, my Dad broke his wrist 2 weeks before Rideau Lakes, so he wasn’t able to cycle with us. However, he was quite omnipresent by waiting for us at random places along the route. Sometimes with the camera ready to catch us in action (a cast makes photo-taking hard, too, though!). This is me and Rob in action:

Thankfully, despite ominous forecasts, we had beautiful weather: mostly overcast, with some lovely tailwinds in both directions. My brother had spooked me by telling me this was a very challenging course, with lots of killer hills. Tackling the tough hills around Toronto allowed me to feel more comfortable attacking the steep hill near Westport. The other rolling hills were fun!

I was thankful for such a great group of friends for the ride, but almost thought I was doomed after cycling 140km on Day 2, at the last rest station in Ashton. I had stomach cramps and a bloated belly. I was not feeling well. My legs were sore (understandably) but still pushing well. But my belly was not happy. I ended up sucking it up, taking ibuprofen, and biking to the finish with the group. I am still not sure what is bothering my belly (digestion problems persist) so I don’t think it has anything to do with biking per se. Perhaps it was something I ate earlier? Who knows. Now is the time to recover. :)

Over the course of my training, I tried a lot of different energy balls. I will post them in due time, but this is what I brought with me to Kingston. Adapted from Radiance 4 Life (recipe also posted here), I decreased the amount of cacao nibs since I had a hard time integrating them all in the batter. The malty flavour of maca combines well with vanilla which are the dominant flavours in these slightly sweet balls, packed with cashews, almonds and oats. The cacao nibs add a nice crunch with nice change of texture. These are a delicious treat, and since they are packed with great ingredients, a delicious snack even if not cycling monumental distances. :)


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen.

Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls

1/2 cup (packed) pitted dried dates (12 dates)
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup rolled oats (I used the quick-cooking oats without problems)
2 tablespoons raw maca powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs

1. In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients except for the cacao nibs. You may need to add a dash of water to get mixture sticky. When the mixture is in fine crumbs and very sticky, remove and stir in the nibs. Form into 1″ balls. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Makes 12 balls.

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37 Responses

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  1. Nancy said, on June 15, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Congratulations on completing your ride – that is some serious distance! I am always looking for a new healthy energy snack, and these sound wonderful! I have never used maca powder before.

  2. Judith said, on June 15, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    what is maca? I haven’t heard of it before and these look like an interesting and tasty treat

    • Saveur said, on June 15, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      Hey Judith, Maca is from a root plant. You buy it in powder form and it has this lovely malty flavour. You could sub cocoa powder here, but it would taste like cocoa, not malt. Just a bit different. :)

  3. Anita@braisedanatomy.com said, on June 15, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Hey there! I want to try developing an energy/protein bar made with lentils as the main source of protein (maybe some whey protein powder if I can get my hands on it). Do you have any tips on how to get the thing to hold together but not be sticky? I want to be able to cut the batch into bars, wrap each in plastic wrap, and have it stay in bar form for at least 10ish hours (so I can take it to clinic w/me!). Do you have any tips on my list of ingredients? I don’t mind using sugar/agave nectar to hold together, but I don’t want the final product to be too sugary. Sorry if that was a lot of information, and/or unclear!

    • Saveur said, on June 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Hey Anita, That sounds like a wonderful base for an energy bar! I made an energy bar with cooked buckwheat but found it too soft to take with me – protein powder instead of soymilk powder could help improve that. A mixture of oats, nuts would probably be a good base and to make it come together, dried fruit like dates or raisins could work well. Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds could help bind things together as well, basically used like an egg. If it still needs more stickiness, try agave. Let me know when you have perfected your creation. :)

  4. Joanne said, on June 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    MEGA congrats! I knew you could do it! I am so insanely happy for you!

    Sometimes all that exercise does weird things to your stomach. I know mine can be a bit off a few days after a really long run.

    These little maca balls look so tasty! I’m thinking they’d be a great marathon snack as well!

  5. [...] back to the mangoes. When I was home last weekend for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (aka the ultimate cycle), my mom had picked up some mangoes for breakfast. Rob and I stole some of the extras to fuel us [...]

  6. [...] from The Taste Space in Canada created these wholesome and yummy looking Maca Chip Raw Energy Bars while training for a bike [...]

  7. Winnie said, on June 20, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    These look incredible! Congrats on the race, and thanks for submitting to WHB 288!

  8. Johanna GGG said, on June 22, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    wow sounds like a great achievement – shame your dad wasn’t there with you but sort of nice that you could fly the family flag on the ride to keep up the tradition for him. am interested in the maca balls as have been looking at energy balls – will keep my eye out for maca (and re anita’s comment I have made these sort of balls with red lentils but found them quite dry – I think I used dried apricots too but maybe more dried fruit would help overcome the dryness though it might get a bit sweet if you don’t like that sort of thing)

  9. [...] there was the bike ride of the century. Or 3.6 (metric) [...]

  10. [...] Ingredients (adapted from tastespace) [...]

  11. Melly Made It said, on July 10, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    YUM. These look great! Would be good for mountain bike trips!

  12. Ashley said, on July 20, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Love the sound of these energy balls! I bought maca powder once but didn’t really know what to do with it so I just added it to smoothies. I love how you describe that it adds a maltiness. Definitely want to try these. :)

    • Saveur said, on July 21, 2011 at 8:11 AM

      Banana maca smoothies are my favourite!! :D Sadly, I used up all my maca… and it is expensive stuff! :(

  13. [...] boring! This is when it becomes exciting, because the experimentation in raw foods has created some luscious treats, perfect during the hot summer when you don’t want to turn on your stove or [...]

  14. [...] Rob and I haven’t done many long-distance cycling trips since our big adventure to Kingston, 27km would still be a quick stroll for us. An hour, maybe an hour and a half, I told myself. We [...]

  15. [...] kind of needed that long because he was down to one working hand. After a broken wrist, and slicing through a handful of fingers, my Dad had to be a master to make chicken skewers [...]

  16. [...] moderation. I just want to have some nutrients packaged with it, too. A healthier option. I simply adore raw desserts, but often they are nut-based or sport a heavy dose of agave or coconut [...]

  17. [...] – Pineapple Tempeh with Red Rice – Heavenly Raw Chocolate Sauce – Raw Mango Paradise Bars – Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls – Cacao-Cacao Chip Cookies (recipe elsewhere) – Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies (recipe elsewhere) – [...]

  18. [...] went from walking 30 minutes a day to/from the subway as my only exercise to building myself up to bike 361 km over 2-days last summer. Even though I now go to the gym regularly and have returned to biking to [...]

  19. [...] following the hike. Hopefully Rob and I are up for the challenge! I think this will be harder than our 2-day 360km bike ride to Kingston last year, but totally worth it. I love this description from Trip Advisor: To enjoy [...]

  20. [...] like the most inhumane goal but I was on a mission.  However, a week before we were supposed to ride to Kingston last year, my Dad broke his wrist falling off his bicycle. It has taken him a year to fully recover [...]

  21. [...] after tackling the Kingston cycle last summer, Rob and I have not really done much long-distance cycling. Life gets busy. Weekends [...]

  22. [...] Op internet zijn genoeg aanwijzingen te vinden, en ik besloot ruwweg de instructies voor deze Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls te volgen. Niet alle ingrediënten had ik op voorraad, en qua hoeveelheden ging ik de mist in, maar [...]

  23. [...] Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls [...]

  24. [...] bought my commuter bike in October 2009. It followed me as I cycled to Cornwall, Niagara Falls and Kingston. Averaging over 4000km each year, it seems more impressive than it entails. This year, Rob and I [...]

  25. [...] and snacks to support my exercise, I have never really considered myself an athlete. I have cycled really, really long distances although it seems like such a distant memory right now. Even though I tucked [...]

  26. [...] performance which is how I first became introduced to its malty taste. I will be whipping out those maca chip raw energy balls again this summer, as I train for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. Here, this recipe is simply melted [...]

  27. [...] a fancy brand new one. My kitchen changed completely once I finally grabbed hold of it, though. Homemade energy bars galore. Turned out I was the one laughing (until now), since this old processor was the [...]

  28. [...] peddled home. I definitely have to get my legs back into cycling mode as we train for Rideau Lakes again. Hopefully the warmer weather will [...]

  29. [...] I’ve made granola bars before, but those had refined sugars and butter. I’ve also made oodles of raw energy treats, but they were usually more [...]

  30. [...] We like to cycle. Not only for commuting, but also our crazy long distances of years yonder. At one time, anything within 200km was fair [...]

  31. [...] Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls [...]

  32. […] weekend, though, I cycled over 200 km. Not too shabby. This was my second time on the course, so I know that the hardest part is between Perth and Kingston. This is where most of […]

  33. […] 8. Radiant Health, Inner Wealth: Are you tired of my Tess crush yet? What have I not adored? Tess has a blog where she shares many of the recipes from her cookbooks. A complete list of the recipes I have tried can be found here, but some highlights include: Creamy Low-Fat Hummus, Green Velvet Guacamole (aka Edamame Guacamole), Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras, 15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles, Dillicious Yellow Tofu, Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad, Almost Raw Asian Kale and Edamame Salad, Lime-Spiked Black Bean and Quinoa Kale Wrap, Miso Healthy Dressing, Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and  a Mango Salsa and Maca Chip Raw Energy Balls. […]

  34. […] his story echoes my own. While learning to best prepare my (formerly?) non-athletic self to cycle a double imperial century ride (361 km/224 mi), I discovered the benefits of vegan foods. I fell hard for the advantages of […]


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