Spiced Cranberry Sunflower Tryptophan Balls

Spiced Cranberry Sunflower Tryptophan Balls
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

These tryptophan balls were inspired by my friend’s pregnancy book. We’ve been reading it every morning, and last week it was talking about getting more sleep.

The book said it can be helpful to have a bedtime snack of some food with tryptophan to help get to sleep, and the suggestion of turkey made us laugh.

Spiced Cranberry Sunflower Tryptophan Balls

Prep time:
Cook Time:
Time from start to eating:
Makes 18-20 balls >

I decided it would be fun to try to make a treat using plant foods that have tryptophan, and came up with these little balls that I started calling Tryptophan Balls, and the name kind of stuck.

The video is me figuring things out experimentally, so I’m looking forward to making these more to try different flavors and get the cooking time right. I put them in for 20 minutes, and it was a bit too much.

If you want, you can use another type of gluten-free flour, a ground nut meal or even a protein powder if you like. I think they’d also do really well with some cocoa or carob powder instead of (or in addition to) the spices and molasses.

If you use something like almond meal, you can make these without baking them if you prefer. Just put the balls in the fridge after you form them, and let them chill until they’re solid.

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  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch cloves
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup soy flour
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the tahini and maple syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Add the molasses, almond extract, spices and flax and stir well to combine.
  3. Stir in the flour until thoroughly combined.
  4. Then stir in the seeds and cranberries.
  5. Form the mixture into balls, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or sprayed with oil.
  6. Put them into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden.
  7. Take out of the heat and allow them to cool.

What kind of nighttime snack do you like to help you drift off to sleep? Or does not having a snack at all work better for you? Let me know below 🙂


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