No-Bake, Instant Sunflower Energy Balls (Vegan + Gluten-Free + Nut-Free)

VeganGluten-FreeNut-FreeSoy-FreeRefined Sugar-FreeEasyKid-FriendlyVegetarianDairy Free

My favorite mid-morning or pre-workout snack is definitely energy balls!  They only require six ingredients, are quick and easy to make, provide nutrients and energy and are totally portable.  This makes them great for busy on-the-go days.  My kids often help me make a batch and they love that the energy balls are ready to enjoy right away.  I also love to keep extras in my freezer or fridge and grab one or two on my way out the door.  They’ve got all the nutrients you need in a snack and they taste like dessert.  They provide whole grains for energy, plant-based protein for endurance and healthy fat to help keep you fuller longer.

I have many different energy ball recipes on the blog and in 2018 it seems energy balls were some of my most popular recipes for the year!  So I thought I would start 2019 off with my current energy ball obsession.  My newest creation is easy to make and has a perfectly smooth texture with a subtle crunch from the raw sunflower seeds.  These babies have been a weekly staple to help me make it from breakfast to lunch.  If you are the type of person (like me) who snacks throughout the day and has a sweet tooth, then these energy balls are perfect to satisfy your sweet snack cravings.  I love that energy balls are pre-portioned because a couple will help fill you up quickly while limiting the urge to over-snack.

These energy balls are packed with nutrients from the oats, sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter and maple syrup.  Here are some of the health benefits of these main ingredients:

  1. Sunflower seeds and sunflower butter provides plant-based protein and heart healthy dietary fiber.  It is an excellent source of vitamin E, folate, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium.  It is also a good source of vitamin B6, iron and zinc.

  2. Oats are higher in protein and healthful fats and lower in carbohydrates than most other whole grains. They provide dietary fiber and help you feel fuller longer, which helps control your weight and can help lower blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol. Their soluble fiber also helps control blood sugar.

  3. Maple syrup is 100% natural and unrefined.  It is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. ‰ It also contains vitamins B2, B5, B6, niacin, biotin, and folic acid. ‰ Maple Syrup even contains trace amounts of amino acids – the building blocks of protein! (Source)

I like to divide the energy balls into tiny storage containers so they are easy to bring on-the-go.  They are also perfect for keeping in your office for late-day snack attacks.

All three of my kids absolutely love this recipe and fight over them whenever I make a batch.  I sometimes pack them in my daughter’s lunch or bring on our weekend outings (for all five of us!).

For more energy ball recipes, be sure to check out the below links (all are vegan and gluten-free):

Almond Butter & Jelly Energy Bites

Healthy Raw Cookie Dough Energy Balls

No-Bake Flourless Brownie Energy Bites

No-Bake Quinoa Energy Bites

This recipe is raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free.  It is also Heal Your Headache diet complaint (for those who suffer from migraines).  If you give this recipe a try, please snap a pic and tag #eatingbyelaine and @eatingbyelaine on InstagramTwitter or Facebook so I can see your creations.

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No-Bake, Instant Sunflower Energy Balls (Vegan + Gluten-Free + Nut-Free)

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 7 mins
  • Total Time: 7 mins
  • Yield: 22 1x


This is my go-to energy ball recipe that is quick and easy to make. They are full of good-for-you nutrients to power you through any snack attack. I love to grab them for days when I’m on-the-go.


  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted, unsweetened sunflower seed butter*
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of a food processor process the oats until a fine flour forms. Next, add the sunflower seeds and salt and process until well combined.
  2. Add sunflower seed butter, maple syrup and vanilla and process until a dough forms and sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
  3. Form 1.5″ balls with a cookie dough scoop and roll them between your hands.
  4. Place in a covered storage container (you can also enjoy some immediately!). For freezer storage, place on a parchment lined plate.


*New jars of sunflower seed butter work best. Just be sure to stir well so the oil is evenly incorporated. Do not use sunflower seed butter that has hardened.

If your sunflower seed butter contains sugar or salt, reduce the amount of salt and maple syrup in the recipe.

  • Category: Snack

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  1. Jon

    Your energy balls look great! My 3 young kids were recently diagnosed with celiac and can’t have oats for 6 months minimum. Any thoughts on alternatives to oats in your various energy balls? Thanks!

    • Elaine Gordon

      Thank you so much, Jon! I’m sorry you are having to navigate celiac with all three kids – i hope you are all able to support each other through this journey. Oats are difficult to substitute since they are naturally sweet and absorb liquid well… they have such a unique texture too… If I had to substitute I would probably go with almond flour but use more if it since it doesn’t absorb as much liquid. I haven’t tested this myself but I love almond flour texture and flavor and I htink it would work well with these other ingredients. If you give it a try please let me know how it goes for you. And best of luck!

      By the way, when searching for additional recipes to add to your new routine you might want to check out paleo recipes since paleo is gluten-free/grain-free and doesn’t contain oats.

  2. Rachel Abrams

    Elaine — what are your thoughts on doing flax instead of oats? Im going to go on a starch free diet, and looks for some alternatives — I can eat everything besides the oats.


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