Easy waste-free bliss balls recipe

Need a use for the leftover nut pulp from homemade nut milk?

Whatever your reason for making your own nut milk – you’re vegan, you live Zero Waste, you’re allergic to dairy, or you just think a cold brew coffee tastes rad with a splash of nutty goodness – one thing is certain: if you strain, you’ll have leftover nut pulp.

A portable, packaging-free snack

I like to use the pulp to make packaging-free bliss balls. They’re an alternative to packaged granola/energy bars, and ideal for surfing, hiking and wandering around the city. Packed in a reusable container, they are really the perfect snack for on the go.

The benefit of using the nut pulp is that we’re using waste from one process as the input for another. It also means our bliss ball recipe is uber simple – we don’t even need nut butter, which is a common ingredient in this genre of snack.

Making these on a Thursday or Friday means they’re as ready for weekend adventures as you are. Or make some on the weekend to take to work for when 3pm rolls around.

If I’ve made nut milk and I’m not going to make these energy balls right away, I’ll chuck the nut meal in the freezer for later, Sarah Wilson styles. This saves me from avoidable steps like dehydrating the pulp.

The base of the balls is the nut meal + dates (not too many). I usually add some coconut too, and then whatever I feel like or have on hand, like: chocolate // chili powder // lemon zest // mesquite powder // walnuts // pistachios // hazelnuts // macadamia nuts // peanuts // sesame seeds // chai spice flavouring // tahini // peanut butter // cardamom // sea salt.

I can shop for all of these ingredients packaging-free at the many bulk refill stores in my city.

Easy bliss ball recipes

Here are two of my go-to combinations:

Chocolate brownie

  • nut meal from one batch of nut milk
  • dates (2 or 3)
  • coconut
  • cocoa powder
  • cinammon
  • lemon zest
  • walnuts
  • vanilla
  • salt
Donut holes

  • nut meal from one batch of nut milk
  • dates (2 or 3)
  • coconut
  • oats
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • vanilla
  • salt

Instructions // add everything to a food processor or high powered blender (which you likely have if you’re making nut milk) and blend until you’re happy with the consistency. It should look a bit like the texture of cookie dough. Roll into balls in whatever size works for you.

If the mix is too dry – try adding some coconut oil, lemon juice, nut milk (ha!), another date, or just water. Too wet? Add some oats or coconut to bring it all together. This isn’t baking, so you don’t need to measure so much as estimate and recalibrate as you go, which is perfect, since why bother measuring how much nut meal you have leftover. You have as much as you have, right?

I store mine in the fridge or the freezer until I’m ready to use them.

Zero waste hints

These energy balls can are only packaging-free if you store them in something reusable…like an old jam jar, or some beeswax cloth covers, or an old plastic container.

It’s also useful to consider the way the ingredients come packaged (or not). If you live in Sydney, check out my list of waste free shopping options to find a bulk whole foods store nearby.

Bonus points if you use locally grown nuts for your nut milk. Here in Australia, we are lucky that many varieties are grown in the country, if not locally. Here is a list of where nuts sold in Australia generally come from. I personally have dramatically reduced my almond intake after learning that 80% or so of the world’s supply comes from drought-stricken California. I never say never, but do treat them as a ‘once in a while’ food, not a staple, and look for Aussie grown.

Easy, healthy, cheap….impressive.

I love these because I still can’t bear to eat a Cliff bar after eating way too many on a months long road trip. Even if I could, I would still chose to make my packaging-free version instead. I haven’t done the math, but assume with me for a moment that these are way cheaper than Cliff bars too!

Making packaging free snacks involves some pre-planning, because if we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail, but it’s definitely not difficult. It’s actually fun. And people will be impressed with you.

Can you spot the ripe banana?

Spotty ripe bananas

Anyone who knows me might be surprised to hear me say this:

It’s time to stop throwing away bananas.

Not because I enjoy tossing bananas, but because I never used to touch them at all.

My mom would try to hide them in peanut butter sandwiches. Other times, they’d appear uninvited in fruit smoothies – taking over, as they are wont to do.

I was a vocal opponent, and as a result, my sister’s horse, Pilgrim, ate more bananas (and with much more gusto) than I ever did growing up.

My banana coming of age, and a realization.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the practically of bananas hard to ignore, and the flavour something I can actually tolerate….enjoy even.

They make a pretty perfect after surf snack. Frozen bananas are just about life changing.

So here I am, adult me, fully on the banana train. And I’ve come to notice that many people like to eat greeny-yellow bananas.

No biggie – do what you like.

The problem isn’t that people are choosing to eat greeny-yellow, unripe bananas, but that they are tossing their bananas when they develop spots.

When our cheerful yellow friends start to freckle, we see it as a sign of old age, and toss them prematurely. Like your sweet gran, they have plenty more love to give, if only you had a little more time for them. Ripe bananas are sweeter and easier to digest. Spotty on the outside doesn’t mean spotty on the inside!

ripe bananas
Someone is missing out on delicious banana bread!

Things to do with your ripe, spotted banana:

  • Eat // Trust me, you’ll be fine. Better than fine. I used to be anti-banana, so I feel my recommendation holds some weight.
  • Freeze // Always have frozen bananas on hand, I say. Use them in smoothies, on yogurt or chia pudding, or just sliced up. Pro tip: peel them before you freeze them.
  • Cook // The older and sweeter your bananas, the more delicious your banana bread.

If you’re a spotty banana tosser, you’re missing out. Those spots are trying to tell you that your bananas are finally old enough to stay up late and party.

Apparently you can eat banana peels too, but let’s just put one foot in front of the other for now. Instead I compost them.