(Note: this post was originally published on March 25, 2019. It was one of the earliest recipes on The Rogue Brussel Sprout! The photos were updated in April, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Truffles are so pretty and decadent and special. But these truffles are unique: not only can you make them at home in half an hour, they're also secretly super nutritious. These healthy truffles are essentially a protein bar in disguise. They're deliciously sweet and indulgent, but are made of just fruit and nuts. It's truffle magic!
If you've never made truffles at home before, don't worry; this easy truffle recipe is simple and fun. The filling is totally non-traditional and it comes together in minutes in the food processor. In a lot of ways, these vegan truffles are actually much easier than making cookies, so don't let the idea of homemade truffles be overwhelming.
These cute, healthy truffles pack a major flavor punch with sweet jammy figs, crunchy nutty pistachios, and zippy fresh lemon. A thin dark chocolate coating brings those flavors together and balances the sweetness of the figs. I can't wait for you to try them!
Flavors from Spring in Italy
The flavors of these lemony vegan truffles are inspired by the time Dave and I spent in Florence and in the Chianti region of Italy. Florence, or Firenze, is a magical city filled with narrow winding streets, cobblestones, arching bridges, and beautiful fresh food. During our time there, we went to the street markets every day for fresh produce, then back to our apartment to cook, drink Chianti, and have dinner on the patio. We were also hiking or walking at least 15 miles a day, so of course everything we ate tasted amazing.
Among other things, we often found ourselves eating figs and roasted pistachios, and cooking a lot with lemon. Those have always been important foods to me because I'm of Italian descent, but now the three of them together remind me so much of sitting in the sun on our patio in Firenze.
I've united all these nostalgic, springy, fresh, Italian flavors together into a delightful little package. These healthy truffles are the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and citrusy. The stickiness of the figs combined with the crunchy fig seeds and pistachios is magic. A dark chocolate shell, with its subtle bitterness and crunch, takes this easy truffle recipe over the top.
Nutritionally-speaking, this easy truffle recipe is a major win. Remember my guide to Homemade Lara Bars? The center of these vegan truffles is basically that, but in disguise. The filling is just figs, roasted pistachios, lemon zest, and the tiniest bit of maple syrup. That nourishing filling gets rolled into a ball, dipped into dark chocolate, and sprinkled with sea salt. They're easy, flavorful, and packed with good-for-you ingredients.
In case you're keeping track, that means these healthy truffles are vegan, grain-free, high in protein, and free of refined sugars (depending on the chocolate you choose). The recipe calls for a tablespoon of maple syrup since I love the decadent stickiness it provides, but you can easily leave it out if you'd prefer them to be fully fruit-sweetened.
One additional idea, which I've done before with great success. If you want to omit the chocolate (which then keeps these healthy truffles entirely fruit-sweetened), they work great as a "naked" truffle. In that case, I suggest rolling them in some unsweetened shredded coconut for a festive finish.
Truffles as a Homemade Gift
These adorable vegan truffles are a great homemade gift. If you're making them for an occasion, here are a few ways to help them feel extra-special:
Add a drizzle. Drizzle them with a different chocolate than what you dipped them in. This will work great with an extra-dark chocolate (as I've shown in the photos here) or even white chocolate (although note that you'll want to choose a dairy-free white chocolate if keeping these vegan is important to you).
Add crunch. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the tops of the truffles with some finely-chopped pistachios.
Add a sour pop. Before the chocolate sets, carefully set a thin, elegant piece of candied lemon peel on the top of each truffle.
Give them some tropical flair. For some reason I love coconut and lemon together. If you do too, then sprinkle the truffles with some finely shredded, unsweetened coconut before the chocolate sets.
Go nostalgic and colorful. For an extra springy, nostalgic vibe, add some pastel sprinkles into the filling and also on the truffle tops. This will work especially well if you use white chocolate instead of dark (as above, choose a dairy-free white chocolate if you want to keep these vegan).
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Dried figs. I prefer the large, light-colored Calimyrna figs; they have such great texture. Any dried figs you enjoy will work fine here though. They give this easy truffle recipe its stickiness, which keeps the filling together.
Roasted, salted pistachios
Maple syrup. Or feel free to use honey if you're not fully plant-based. You can also omit this if you feel strongly about avoiding any added sugar in these healthy truffles.
Dark chocolate chips. Use a high-quality dark chocolate since the flavor really stands out. Make sure to choose a vegan chocolate if you want to keep these truffles vegan. You can also use an unsweetened chocolate to avoid refined sugars.
Flaky sea salt. Optional, but you can sprinkle these with a tiny bit of flaky sea salt if you like a sweet/salty contrast.
Aren't these adorable vegan truffles so perfect for spring? I love lemon in anything and everything this time of year. Something about pistachios feels so springy to me too; maybe its their bright green color or the fact that they go so beautifully with lemon.
Make this easy truffle recipe and share them with people you care about. They'll make the perfect gift because they seem so special but are also nourishing for the body. Or make them just for yourself, because you're special and deserve truffles every day!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
It's much more than just food. Together we'll explore seasonal ingredients and healthy recipes. But we'll also delve into health and wellness topics, self care tips, books, podcasts, and the natural world. This newsletter is all about leading a more colorful, plant-filled, holistic, and intentional life.
Bursting with sweet figs, crunchy pistachios, and tart lemon, these homemade vegan truffles are a spring and summer delight. They're made with just a few simple whole-food ingredients, so they're a treat you can feel good about enjoying!
In a food processor, combine the figs, HALF of the pistachios, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Process for several minutes until the mixture clumps into a sticky ball.
Add the remaining pistachios and pulse the food processor several times. This will leave some big, crunchy pieces that provide a nice textural contrast to the figs.
Scoop out the mixture by the tablespoon and roll it into small balls.
Wash all the sticky filling off your hands and give each ball one more roll with clean, damp hands. Doing this gives them a smoother surface, which will make the chocolate coating look neater.
Put the balls of filling into the freezer for ten minutes while you prepare the chocolate coating.
Over a double-boiler, slowly melt the chocolate and coconut oil together to create a smooth, shiny texture.
One at a time, dunk each truffle into the chocolate. Use two forks to roll it around until fully covered, then lift it out and let the excess chocolate drain off. Set it on a piece of wax paper to harden.
If desired, add a small sprinkle of flaky sea salt before the chocolate sets.
Allow the chocolate to harden completely while at room temperature; this ensures a shiny finish.
Store the finished truffles in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to several months.