Paleo Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls


These incredibly easy and delicious gluten-free Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls use pantry staples like cashews, dried coconut, dates, vanilla extract and of course fresh citrus! They are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly!

Have your children turned into Snack Monsters during this quarantine too? I swear we’re all snacking 3x more often which means I’m in the kitchen 3x more often too. While I always offer fresh fruits and vegetables for snack first, my 4-year-old isn’t always in the mood. I like to have some healthier sweet snack options on hand in those cases that are still energy and nutrient dense for her active, growing body. ENTER THE HOMEMADE ENERGY BALL.


We love making energy balls because you really can use up pantry staples that have been sitting around and turn them into something much more delicious. They’re an easy-to-grab snack out of the fridge or another way to add some extra nutrition and energy to a lunch.

These mineral rich Vanilla Energy Balls are:

  • brightly flavored thanks to fresh mandarin segments and zest,

  • naturally sweetened with soft, plump Medjool dates

  •  a good source of important vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and copper

  • helpful for decreasing the active labor time in birthing women and can decrease the likelihood of being induced due to late term pregnancies


If you’re looking for more Paleo energy ball and bar recipes, try these from my website: 


Substitution Ideas

  • If you need to make these nut-free, you could try replacing the cashews with unsalted raw sunflower seeds which have a fairly neutral taste.

  • If you don’t have mandarin on hand, try another citrus fruit like lemon, tangerine, clementine or oranges. You’ll want to use no more than 1/4 cup of segmented citrus when using a sweeter citrus. If using a more tart citrus like lemon, I would add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice rather than the whole lemon fruit.

  • Out of vanilla extract? Try lemon extract or a couple drops of food grade orange essential oil.


The food processor I use to make these energy balls, guacamole, sauces and to chop and shred vegetables and fruit:

I’ve been using the Cuisinart 11-cup food processor that includes a blending blade, a shredding disc, and a slicing disc (effectively replacing your mandolin). It’s a heftier price tag than most food processors but stands the test of time. Mine works like new, and I’ve had it for over 7 years and use it daily!



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Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls

  • Author: Alaena Haber
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 10 min


    • 1 cup raw cashews⁣⁣
    • 1 cup pitted medjool dates⁣⁣
    • 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut, divider⁣⁣
    • 1 tsp grated mandarin zest⁣⁣
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract ⁣⁣
    • 1/2 mandarin, peeled and segmented⁣⁣
    • pinch sea salt⁣⁣


1️⃣ Pulse cashews, dates and 3/4 cup shredded coconut in food processor for 30 seconds until a fine crumble forms.⁣⁣

2️⃣ Add the mandarin zest, vanilla, mandarin segments and sea salt. Process until a sticky mixture forms.⁣

3️⃣ Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll in the remaining 1/4 cup shredded coconut.⁣⁣

4️⃣ For best texture, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until firm.⁣⁣




Vanilla Mandarin Energy Balls