The inspo for these Carob Jaffa Hemp Protein Balls came from about a thousand directions. Usually I have one clear train of thought. One clear uh-huh influential moment and that’s it. For these protein balls, it was a collective of wants/needs/lusts that collided:
I know I have quite a few protein balls on here already, but one can never have too many variations I say. The Cookie Dough Protein Balls are probably the most popular, but I’m guessing these beauties will give them a run for their money.
As for the hemp point, you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that hemp can now officially be sold as a food item, as previously it was not a legalised for human consumption. I’ve been buying hemp for some time, however it has been marked in the shops as 'external use only' as a way around it. I can certainly say that my oral consumption of it has not resulted in any "stoned" effects.
Hemp seeds are naturally high in protein and contain good amounts of the essential fatty acids. Just 30 grams of hemp seeds (about 1 tablespoon) contains around 10 grams of protein (similar to eating an egg). The same amount of hemp seeds also contains 14 grams of fats, with a large amount of this coming from omega 3 and omega 6. Due to the more volatile state of hemp seed based oils (they are rich in polyunsaturated fat) it is super important to keep hemp seed products in the fridge to stop them going rancid.
Another interesting (geeky) sidenote about hemp seeds is that they are rich in stearidonic acid, an alternative type of omega 3. Studies have shown that this form of plant based omega 3 can help increase levels of EPA in the body known very well for its anti-inflammatory effects. This makes hemp seeds a good alternative for those following vegan or vegetarian diets, who exclude seafood from their food intake.
Stepping away from the nutritionals of hemp, I want to also point out that it tends to blend well in smoothies better than plain rice or pea protein. I find rice in particular can be really chalky, where as hemp protein is very low reactive, which makes it a more palatable choice over the other two. Some hemp proteins are gritty (kind of like LSA in your smoothie) but personally I’d prefer that seedy gritty texture any day over the chalky mouth feel.
Lastly, a reminder to keep these protein balls safely in the fridge, preferably even the freezer. Not only will it keep the hempseeds nice and fresh, it will also ensure that the orange juice and zest remain fresh within the protein balls. I’d cry a river of tears for you if your balls went mouldy. No one was ever noted as saying they liked mouldy balls. :-)
Place the brazil nuts in a blender or food processor and blend to a rough meal. Now add in the almond meal, hemp protein powder, carob powder and hemp seeds and blend till just combined. The idea is to not break the hemp seeds down too much.
Now add the almond butter, orange juice and orange zest. Blend till well combined and the dough forms a rough ball or at least clumps together in the machine really well. If your dough seems too crumbly just add a touch of water and blend again.
Once your dough has come together nicely, roll into balls around the size of a twenty-cent piece in diameter. Roll in more carob powder if desired.
Store in the fridge and eat within 4 days, otherwise best to freeze them and pull them out as you are ready to eat.