Lemon-Coconut Date Balls

  • Yield: 26-30 balls


This recipe has been adapted from The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook. You will need coconut manna also known as coconut butter, which is a new ingredient for me. I ordered mine from Amazon, but your favorite local health food store likely will carry it.

How, you might be wondering, does coconut manna differ from coconut oil? Coconut oil is the oil that has been extracted from the coconut meat, whereas coconut butter is made from the flesh that has been ground into a spreadable paste. You can read more about the difference between the two on The Kitchn, but if you’re wondering if you can substitute coconut oil for the butter, I can’t really say because I have not tried.  The Kitchn does not recommend substituting one for one another. They suggest using coconut oil for cooking (sautéting, roasting, and baking), and using coconut butter with foods that are already cooked. These date balls are raw, however, so coconut oil (unmelted) might be fine? If you give it a go, let me know.

Notes from The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: In order to measure the coconut concentrate, it is best to soften it in a warm-water bath before use, as it is solid at room temperature. (I did not do this.) If you find yourself sensitive to vanilla bean seeds, scrape out the seeds and just use the pod.


  •  Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups dates, pitted (about 28, soft ones are best)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger or a small knob of fresh ginger
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, minced or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter, see notes above


  1. Combine the lemon zest, coconut flakes, and sea salt in a shallow bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor, and pulse to process until a “ball” forms. If the mixture is still too dry, add 1 tsp of water at a time until it does form a ball.
  3. Roll the mixture into approximately 25 to 30 small balls—I use a #100 scoop for this—then roll through the lemon zest mixture to coat. Place on a plate, and transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes to harden. Then transfer to an airtight container for storage in the refrigerator or freezer—I store in the freezer in a quart container.