Paleo Pistachio Truffles
These Pistachio Truffles are for That Person in your life. The one for whom it is impossible to shop because she already has everything. The one with unattainably high standards. The one you can’t invite over for dinner without first sending the complete menu for approval because she doesn’t eat X, Y, and Z. You know the one.
This is the moment where I pause to ask myself, “Am I THAT PERSON?”
Then I look down and realize I spilled yogurt on my pants three hours ago and I’m wearing an old college t-shirt with a hole in the armpit. No, I am definitely not That Person.
I’m going to eat Pistachio Truffles anyway. This easy dessert is here to please all, whether you happen to be highly discerning or regularly walk around wearing socks that don’t match.
We are in universal dessert-love territory. Let’s explore.
Like classic chocolate truffles, these Pistachio Truffles are unapologetically rich, luxuriously chocolatey, and gloriously decadent.
Unlike chocolate truffles, they are made entirely from healthy ingredients and are suitable for almost any diet, be it gluten free, dairy free, vegan, paleo, or another diet I haven’t even heard of yet. No matter to whom you are serving them, these Pistachio Truffles will become a favorite treat.
If the concept of a healthy truffle that tastes like a real truffle sounds more like a holiday miracle than reality, please allow me to introduce you to the wondrous combination of dates, nuts, and chocolate.
When Medjool dates are blended with any kind of nut (I used raw walnuts for their body and toasted pistachios for their flavor) and unsweetened cocoa powder, they form a sweet, smooth filling that is a dead ringer for the center of a chocolate truffle.
Dunk these beauties in melted dark chocolate, then sprinkle them with nuts, and the resemblance is complete.
I brought a big plate of Pistachio Truffles to my book club, and the few we didn’t devour my friend brought home for her husband. He inhaled them, without having the slightest clue they were made mostly of fruit. After she revealed the secret, he was shocked. To me, that’s the best proof that these Pistachio Truffles, while healthy, taste nothing short of magnificent.
Whether you are looking for a homemade holiday gift for dear friends (or picky acquaintances), a universally diet-friendly dessert for an office gathering, or a treat that will allow you to indulge more healthfully in this season of cookies, candy, and cakes, these Pistachio Truffles are the perfect choice.
Unless, of course, the recipient of your lovely Pistachio Truffles doesn’t like chocolate, in which case there’s always coal.
Just kidding. Use white chocolate instead! Or give the extra Pistachio Truffles to a chocolate lover who may or may not have a yogurt stain on her pants right now…
- 1 cup shelled pistachios — divided
- 8 pitted Medjool dates
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3.5 ounces dark chocolate — I used 70%, roughly chopped (about a heaping 1/2 cup), dairy free if you'd like to make the truffles paleo/vegan. DO NOT use chocolate chips, as they will not melt smoothly
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
For the Pistachio Truffle Filling: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pistachios on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until the pistachios smell toasty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY, and keep a close watch on them so that they do not burn. Once the pistachios are toasted, immediately remove them from the baking sheet to a bowl or plate so that they do not continue to toast and burn on the hot baking sheet.
If the dates are hard or dry, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate. Let sit 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
Place the walnuts and 3/4 cup of the toasted pistachios in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts reach the consistency of a meal. Remove from the food processor and set aside. Place the remaining 1/4 cup pistachios in the food processor, then pulse until they are as crushed as you would like them to be for sprinkling on top (I left mine somewhat coarse). Remove to a separate plate or bowl and save for topping the truffles.
Place the pitted dates in the food processor. Pulse in long bursts until the dates form a sticky paste and only small bits remain (the dates may form a ball that sticks to the side). Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and 1/2 cup of the ground walnut-pistachio mixture. Pulse a few times to incorporate. Continue adding the ground nuts a few tablespoons at a time until you have a loose, malleable "dough" that can be scooped and pressed into balls.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a small scoop or spoon, scoop a portion of the dough, then roll it into a ball with your hands, pressing lightly as needed so that the ball holds together. Place the ball on the baking sheet. Repeating with remaining dough. (You will have about 12 truffles total, depending upon how large you roll them.) Place in the freezer and allow them to firm up for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then set that bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl and the water do not touch. Melt the chocolate, stirring often. When the chocolate is almost completely melted but you can still see a few pieces, remove the bowl from the pan. Add the coconut oil and stir until smooth and glossy, letting the residual heat of the chocolate melt the mixture the rest of the way.
Remove the truffles from the freezer. Working one at a time, dip a truffle into the melted chocolate. Use two forks to roll it around so it's coated, then use the forks to remove the truffle from the chocolate and lightly tap away any excess chocolate. Place the truffle on the parchment paper, then top immediately with some of the reserved chopped pistachios. Be sure to sprinkle it right away—the chocolate sets fast! Repeat with the remaining truffles. Let sit at room temperature for a minute or two to set. Enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, at room temperature for 1 week, or freeze for several months. Set out at room temperature for a few minutes prior to serving.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 truffle) — Calories: 214, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 80mg, Carbohydrates: 19g, Fiber: 4g
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