Clockwork Orange… And Pistachio Energy Balls

While waiting for the garden to grow summer produce, I’ve been trying to be patient. I go out to the garden every day and check the progress of the tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini, peppers, broccoli, scarlet runner beans, cucumber, fava beans (favas are really tasty as evidenced by this prior post FAVA), sugar snap peas, blueberries, apples, grapes, and count the figs on my baby fig tree (only 6 so far this year in case you wanted to know). Sooooo, to keep busy in the meantime, I’ve been baking. 

Somehow, I’ve gotten stuck on pistachios as the main ingredient. I don’t know if it’s because I’m missing a trip to Italy this year, or that I just love that crazy nut, but it keeps coming up in the recipes I want to make. Check out these pistachio cookies I made. That post also has some interesting facts about pistachios. 

One thing I love experimenting with is flavor combinations. This recipe pairs orange with dates and pistachios. This combo turned out oh so good. I keep these pistachio balls in the freezer and when I want a shot of sweetness or pick-me-up, I grab a couple. 

And while I had the jar of pistachios out I made another quick recipe with them – candied nuts. Be sure to read to the end of the post to see that quick and easy recipe. Now that I’ve opened the pistachio floodgate, I can’t keep them in stock. I predict another run to Costco in my future. 

This recipe uses orange zest as well as juice from the orange. 

Dates are pitting and chopped. You could also use a food processor to chop up the dates.

Form ingredients into balls and roll in chopped pistachios. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set. 

Pistachio Energy Balls

Makes 12-16 balls depending on size of the ball.

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  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of ½ orange (small to medium size)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons pistachio meal (milled in food processor or finely chopped)
  • 6 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped (for rolling balls in)


  1. Place all the nuts in a food processor and whiz to a crumb-like consistency. Remove 6 tablespoons and set aside. Continue processing the remaining pistachios to more of a meal-like consistency.
  2. Add the dates, orange zest, and coconut oil into the processor and pulse it all together. If it gets stuck, use a spatula to push it down toward the blades again and give it another few pulses. When it’s starting to stick together, add in the orange juice (a little at a time) and whiz again until it’s a nice sticky consistency that you can roll into balls. HINT: you don't have to add all the orange juice. I did that the first time and the mixture was kind of runny.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Use a teaspoon to get a nice amount together and roll into a ball. HINT: Wet your hands slightly so that the mixture is easy to roll into balls.
  5. Drop the ball into the nut crumbs and roll it around to coat. Set it on the baking sheet.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Freezes well.


Calories: 1336 cal
Carbohydrates: 266 g
Fat: 35 g
Sodium: 17 g
Protein: 21 g
Fiber: 28 g

But wait! I have one more pistachio recipe you’ll like and it is so easy, there are only two ingredients. 

Warm nuts and sugar in a fry pan, stirring to keep nuts from burning. When sugar dissolves and all nuts look well coated, lay out on waxed paper to cool. Make sure the nuts are spread out and don’t clump and stick together. That’s it, you are done!

Here are the ingredient proportions:  1 cup pistachios, 2 tablespoons of sugar.  That’s it!

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