Raisin Almond Balls with Blackstrap Molasses: High Raw, Vegan Snacking with an Iron Boost

by Gena on December 11, 2012


I’ll have you know that I came really close to titling this post “goodness, gracious, great balls of iron!” But I stopped myself. It would have been the cheesiest title since “green eggs and hmmmm.”

2012 was the year of student snacking over here at CR. There were kale chips, energy balls, zucchini sticks, caramelized cauliflower, and candied pumpkin seeds. I used all of these foods to fuel my journey through Orgo II and Biochem, my summer marathon of Physics I and II, and now, the autumn of genetics, clinical work, and Kaplan. As I’ve described previously, I am not a big snacker by nature, but it’s critical for me when I’m on the go, on my feet all day in labs, and using my noggin 24/7. Today’s snacks—a sweet, spicy, and perfectly seasonal vegan energy ball with blackstrap molasses, cinnamon and clove—are the perfect little treats to push me through finals!

The last time I talked about iron at length, it was in presenting my sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, which include some blackstrap molasses in the delectable mashed potato layer. These are one of CR’s most popular entrees of all time!

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In that post, I mentioned that blackstrap molasses is a great iron source (15% of your RDA per tablespoon on average). If you tend toward being anemic—which is common among young women—your first order of business should be a chat with your health care provider about whether or not a supplement is necessary. You should also ask whether he or she has any dietary interventions in mind. But in addition to those actions, you can definitely consider blackstrap molasses as a supplement to keep your iron levels consistent. Put two teaspoons in a bowl of oats, a teaspoon in a smoothie, or a nice hefty dose into a baked goods recipe You might even put it into one of my chia puddings.

Or—though you won’t get as much of the iron as you would by taking molasses supplementally, by the spoonful—you can definitely start adding it to dishes like this one, just for a little iron boost! Raisins, meanwhile, are frequently recommended for iron along with other dried fruits. You should take this recommendation with a grain of salt, since raisins only contain about 5% of your RDA per serving, but that’s not nothing, and if you pair them with other iron-rich vegan foods (like lentils, quinoa, soybeans, tofu/tempeh, kidney beans, black beans, apricots, and sesame seeds) they can certainly be a part of an iron-conscious diet.

But enough nutrition talk: the real reason you should make these tasty balls is because they’re totally delicious, and they taste like the holidays. Period. If you’re short on time and have other snackers in your life, you can also consider them for some edible giving; they’re so easy to make, and putting them into mason jars (which is how I do most of my edible giving) makes them easy to share with your loved ones.


Raisin Almond Balls with Blackstrap Molasses (high raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes about 15-18

1 1/4 cup raw almonds
Generous pinch sea salt
2/3 cup raisins
4 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash cloves
Dash allspice

1. Grind almonds and sea salt together in a food processor till finely ground. Add raisins, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, and grind till the mixture is sticking together and uniform.

2. Shape into snack sized balls. I store mine in the fridge, and they should last at least a week.

Hope you enjoy these delicious treats!


In the meantime, folks, don’t forget that I have a giveaway for six fresh, cold pressed juices from Cooler Cleanse going on right now. Treat yourself to a holiday gift, and enter! And have a great day.


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim December 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Wow those look great! I didn’t realise black strap molasses was so high in iron – thanks for the great tip =)


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

You’re most welcome, Kim!


Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I’m looking forward to trying these. I love mixing different ingredients and making fun new protein & energy balls/bites – Can’t wait to give your ideas a try. Yum!


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Enjoy them, Caity!


Alexia @ NamasteYoga December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

so yummy those raw balls! I just made a delicious mix of figs, raisins,ginger, flax, gojis, raw honey, coconut and cinnamon. the best mixture ever! and they probably would have been even better for u if i subbed the honey with blackstrap molasses. such a good idea for an extra iron boost!


Danielle December 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Looks awesome! How many do you find usually fill you up for a snack? Just want to plan ahead for packing snacks to take with me!


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Danielle, I usually pack 3-4 for a snack :) Sometimes 2 will do it, sometimes 4.


Lisa @ The Raw Serenity December 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi gena,
I have never tried molasses because I heard some people say that it isn’t as healthy as what it is made out to be. Similar to agave. Have you heard a similar thing?


Gena December 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I haven’t heard such a thing. But then, I’m not particularly put off by the anti-agave stuff, either.


Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family December 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I have just started using blackstrap molasses and this looks like a super easy recipe to include it in (I like to use it mainly in the gingerbread biscotti I baked for my Christmas cookie giving).

Hope you have a fantastic Tuesday Gena!


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Thanks Rachel!


dcwilli December 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Do you think these could be made with almond meal? I am always looking for ways to use almond meal — after I make almond milk. I hate throwing it away.
Thanks for the great recipes!


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Willi, wet pulp probably won’t work here. Do you mean dehydrated?


dcwilli December 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

I could dehydrate it. If I did, how much should I use and what other changes would you suggest ?


Lauren December 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

These look perfect!


Ela December 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Oh, yum. Molasses, for some reason, is something I just adore, and there was a molasses-raisin energy bar I made two or three years ago that I have not repeated, simply because i was afraid of how much I liked it, two of my favorite sweet things together. Maybe now is the time!


Gena December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I think now’s the time, Ela :)


Alex @ Raw Recovery December 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

These look delicious and I’m excited to try them! I just made cashew cheese for the second time and although the texture was a bit off because I added too much water, it was still delicious! I added lemon juice and dill and even though they are more summer flavors, I found it refreshing at my parents’ holiday party this past weekend :)


Katie December 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Looks delish! I make PB2 Poppers (balls) I love anything you can just pop in your mouth and love


Sarah December 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm

These look SO good! And, coincidentally, I was JUST telling someone how molasses is so high in iron! They were shocked, haha. Making these ASAP! Perfect fuel for finals. Thanks, Gena!


jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur December 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

These balls look delicious! I love the raisin-almond combination, and molasses adds such a nice depth of flavor to recipes, in addition to its great health benefits! I actually made a wonderful mesquite barbecue sauce tonight with a hint of blackstrap molasses and coconut sugar rather than the usual brown sugar.


Kari @ bite-sized thoughts December 12, 2012 at 1:28 am

I am certainly convinced – the iron is a bonus and these look great in their own right too :)

(I also think that alternate title would have been super!)


Melissa December 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

Yummy but SUPER messy to make, lol. Oh well…just gonna have to lick my fingers ;-)


the delicate place December 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

speaking to my heart but definitely teasing me a bit here! i have been hunting for blackstrap molasses for a while and i went on tuesday night to get my fix and they were sold out at WF! now i’m dying to make these haha but i’ll have to be patient i guess :)


Lindsay December 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I love black strap molasses! There was this stand at the market my husband and I used to go to in New Brunswick (Canada) that had these amazing oat and black strap molasses cookies.


Mélanie December 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I just made these this afternoon with my son and they are totally delicious! I’m already planning to buy more raisins to make another batch because I expect these will be gone within the next 24 hours. (BTW, I used golden raisins. ) They taste like gingerbread cookies in raw ball form. Very “christmassy” :) In fact, I should make a double batch and give some as gifts…


Gena December 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm

So glad you like!


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl December 17, 2012 at 12:23 am

Can you sub walnuts for the almonds, and cranberries for the raisins? Getting a bit creative over here… :)


brittany December 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Em, you’ve probably already done this, But i tried it with walnuts and dried cranberries (little strange taste with the molasses). i had to add sprinkles of water here and there to get the mixture to get it to stick together, but it worked… hope that helps!


Herbivore Triathlete December 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I love blackstrap molasses, I added to my oatmeal!

One question for you: what is the difference between raw and high raw?


Beth December 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

Another winner here, Gena! I made these this morning (in about 5 minutes — yay!) and now have a new staple snack !


Gena December 22, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hooray! So glad you enjoyed it.


Richard January 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

Wasn’t convinced on these but had to try!
Wow – full of chewy sweetness that actually gives you a wonderful energy kick!
You’re my hero Gena!


adorpheus January 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

Just made these today! I substituted dates for the raisins because I didn’t have any raisins and I added a scoop of hemp protein. They’re delicious!!


Jody February 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Wow- I tried these and they are nasty. I am thinking if I used honey, it would’ve been way better.. ?


Nityda December 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm

These are ahhhhhmazing. I am a chocolate-obsessed freak, and for me to like a sweet snack that does not include chocolate this much is impressive. My husband and I are devouring them!


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