Chocolate-orange balls

Made with chickpeas, dates and honey, these sweet bites make a great afternoon pick-me-up. They feature in a new book 'Food for Sensitive Tummies' by local dieticians Gabi Steenkamp and Cath Day.

Serves: Makes 22 balls


125 ml drained and rinsed chickpeas
14 destoned dates
25 g ground almonds
125 ml oats
30 ml (2 Tbsp) cocoa powder
5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
1 ml (1/5 tsp) ground cloves
5 ml (1 tsp) orange zest
1 medium orange
15 ml (1 Tbsp) honey
250 ml (1 cup) crushed bran flakes
40 g white sesame seeds


1. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
2. Break up the dates and add to the food processor along with the almonds, oats, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cloves.
3. Using the fine side of the grater, grate the equivalent of 5 ml (1 tsp) of orange zest and add to the food processor.
4. Peel the orange and cut into quarters, then add to the food processor.
5. Lastly, add the honey and blitz all the ingredients until smooth. Remember to stop the food processor every now and then to scrape down the sides. This process can take up to 2 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. You can also get away with using a hand blender.
6. Scoop out the dough from the food processor onto a counter top.
7. Gently mix the bran flakes into the dough with your hands (almost like you are kneading bread). The bran flakes provide extra fibre and soak up the liquid so that the balls form easily.
8. Before you start to roll the dough into balls, make sure you have a small bowl of warm water at your side for dipping your hands into. Keeping your hands moist during this process is important for the sesame seeds to stick.
9. With damp hands, roll the dough into 22 balls and drop each into a bowl containing the sesame seeds, making sure you coat each ball in an even layer.
10. Two balls make up a snack serving.

Dietitians’ notes

These are a great snack for those who need a little pick-me-up between meals. We have used chickpeas and oats in this snack recipe to increase the fibre content. Because the dates are so powerful in flavour, you hardly taste the chickpeas, so don’t be sceptical – they are delicious!

Super sensitive tummy notes

Unfortunately, this recipe is not suitable for the super-sensitive tummy that is watching its fermentable carbohydrate intake. Both dates and honey are high in fermentable carbohydrates.

Food-for-Sensitive-TummiesExtracted with kind permission from Food for Sensitive Tummies, by Gabi Steenkamp and Cath Day, published by NB Publishers.

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