About 6 weeks ago, when I created this recipe to satisfy a chocolate craving, I thought about concocting a similar little vegan treat that could serve the same purpose — something slightly sweet with a bit of a caffeine kick that could be eaten as a snack and provide a boost before or after winter activities. Since we usually don’t have sweets hanging around the house, it would be helpful if it also could pair well with a cup of tea by the fire. Because, you know, I need zone out time too.
I love antioxidant rich matcha – basically, it is a fine powder of ground green tea leaves that is proclaimed to help increase metabolism, boost mood and increase concentration. Sign me up! I don’t use it enough, but now that I have, I know I’m going to be concocting all sorts of ways to use it. It gives a little boost of energy, and paired with healthy fats from the tahini and coconut oil, good carbs from the addition of oats and with just a touch of sweetness from maple syrup, it will help you accomplish whatever task you have set out to do – grinding away at the desk, running, spinning, snowshoeing, xc skiing…
In my case, I need something like this before my weekly women’s run group. First of all, I need all the help I can get, and secondly, because we run in the evening, I don’t want to eat dinner beforehand and slog around the track. I slog as it is, I don’t need more to slow me down! But I don’t want to show up hungry, either.
These little Matcha & Tahini Bites do just what I need – they are satisfying and satiating enough without being filling and perfect to consume an hour or so before I head off to the track.
So easy to make, you can whip these up in a food processor in no time as long as you plan ahead. The addition of coconut oil makes them susceptible to melting, so that hour to let the mixture firm up in the fridge is mandatory, not optional! Even in my cold kitchen in New Hampshire during this helluva winter, I still needed to let the mixture have some alone time in the fridge. Once it has firmed up, you will shape tablespoon size pieces into balls and then coat them in whatever you wish – hulled sesame seeds or shredded unsweetened coconut or a combo of both. They are all great! A friend suggested I roll the bites in raw cacao powder, which I did, but honestly, you lose the subtlety of the matcha and tahini. Save the cacao treatment for this recipe.
Lastly, a word on the ingredients. You don’t have to use gluten free quick cooking oats for the recipe, but do know they exist if gluten is a concern for you. Quick oats blend more easily in this recipe, but if all you have on hand are rolled oats, then put them in the food processor first and process for 5 to 10 seconds to break them down a bit. Then the bites won’t be so rough. As for the tahini, I prefer the traditional Middle Eastern type from hulled sesame seeds, because I find the texture of the bites more akin to halvah (it’s a stretch, I know, the matcha bites don’t have as much sugar, but that’s what it reminds me of anyway!). The traditional tahini is runnier and usually separated, so be sure to stir the jar’s contents well before measuring.
Matcha….should you add more? I know someone will ask me that. I felt the taste was good at 2 teaspoons but you could certainly experiment and add a bit more for more of an energy kick!
I hope you whip up a batch and crush a few goals, or sit by the fire and think spring!
- ⅔ cup gluten-free quick oats (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
- ⅓ to ½ cup well-stirred tahini paste (see note)
- ⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¼ cup solid coconut oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons hulled sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hulled sesame seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place all ingredients (except coating ingredients) in a food processor. Process until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Scrape into a small bowl and chill in fridge for at least one hour until mixture is firm.
- To assemble the bites, tear off a sheet of wax paper and place on counter. Remove mixture from fridge, and working quickly so that the coconut oil doesn’t melt, divide mixture into 1 tablespoon size pieces and place on wax paper. Roll each piece into a ball.
- The easiest way to coat the bites is to place a few tablespoons of sesame seeds or shredded coconut (or a combination of the two) in a small plastic bag. Add one piece at a time to the bag and shake gently to thoroughly coat. Place coated bites on a plate and chill until firm. Once firm, store in an airtight container until ready to enjoy. Consume within 3 days for best flavor.
About the tahini amounts -- this recipe works with ⅓ to ½ cup tahini. I find the ⅓ cup makes the bites slightly sweeter. Slightly. The ½ cup of tahini makes the bites slightly creamier. Slightly.
If these are not sweet enough for you, add an additional tablespoon of maple syrup and go from there.
Coconut oil -- I did use refined in this recipe, which doesn't impart a coconut flavor the mixture, but I usually have unrefined on hand and I can't wait to try it that way!