I’m in love with chocolate and these cacao recipes are the perfect way to satisfy my craving for this wonder food. Cacao is higher in antioxidants than any other food per ounce and it is also rich in magnesium, iron, fiber and copper. It is also low in fat if you choose to use cacao powder, while cacao nibs have a little more healthy fats in them. Raw cacao, or raw chocolate, is often called ‘the food of the gods’ and with good reason. It can help with depression, alleviate headaches, increase healthy blood flow, lower cholesterol, serve as an appetite suppressant, and can be a great source of raw energy. I find it helpful for curing sugar cravings! Check out these cacao recipes, which are a collection of some of my favorites on the web. You may just find a new way to satisfy that sweet tooth of your own with these healthy recipes!
1. Acai Berry Cacao Truffles
Cacao recipes are one of my favorite types of recipes to work with because the flavor of cacao pairs well with so many flavors and foods. From spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, to foods like dates, walnuts, almonds, coconut, and superfoods like acai and goji berries, cacao's flavor can be paired with almost anything! In these acai truffles, I implemented raw cacao’s superfood powers to enhance the power of acai berries. Both acai and cacao are rich in antioxidants, energizing benefits, and when added with the power of raw coconut oil, they are taken to a whole new level of decadent and delicious!
1½ Tbsp Coconut Oil
⅓ Cup Navitas Naturals Acai Powder
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Coconut Palm Sugar
8 Large Medjool Dates
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
1 pinch Sea Salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except for the cacao nibs, and process until a dense acai dough has formed. Add in the nibs and pulse a couple times to combine.
A heaping teaspoon at a time, roll into 1” balls, and place on a plate.* Place plate in the refrigerator for one hour or longer before serving. Makes 16 1” truffles. NOTE: Always serve chilled, or truffles will be too soft.
*Optional: Roll truffles in a plate of acai powder to dust exterior before refrigerating.
2. Cacao Goji Berry Stars
As I mentioned, cacao pairs wonderfully with goji berries, as well as acai berries. Goji berries have a sweet, yet tart taste and are full of amino acids and low in sugar. These energizing bites are perfect for dessert or a snack, and they really satisfy a sweet tooth. They’re cute to look at too!
8-10 pitted Dates
1½ Cup Walnuts
¼ - ⅓ Cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
Navitas Naturals Goji Berries
Blend ingredients to a ground paste like consistency. Mold into one ball then pinch off smaller pieces and make little discs. Garnish discs with goji berries. Ready to eat or refrigerate leftovers!
My Note: You can also freeze these in a storage container for longer use and eat straight out of the freezer.
3. Immunity Boosting Choco Maca Smoothie
****If you’re not on maca, well you should be, ladies! Maca is a superfood rich in hormone-boosting and hormone-stabilizing adaptogens. Maca lowers stress, enhances libido, provides energy and creates a sense of calm in the body. Maca root is sold as a powder and is rich in amino acids that repair muscles from exercise as well. Maca’s caramel flavor blends wonderfully with cacao in this super smoothie! If you’re stressed or having a craving, or you just want a really delicious smoothie, break out you blenders and try this amazing superfood recipe!
1 tsp Navitas Naturals Raw Maca Powder
½ tsp Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds (optional)
Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs (optional topping)
¼ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
1 Cup unsweetened Almond Milk
½ to 1 Cup Ice
Place all ingredients except for the cacao nibs into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large glass, top with cacao nibs (optional) and enjoy!
4. Grasshopper Smoothie
No worries, girls, I’m not asking you to throw grasshoppers into you blender here! Many mint flavored recipes are often referred to as Grasshopper shakes or smoothies. I’m not sure where the name came from, but I am sure of how tasty this superfood shake is! Lucuma powder is a sweet fruit powder sold by Navitas Naturals, a superfood company I love, and it is incredibly sweet. In fact, many other cultures use whole lucuma fruits in ice cream recipes. When blended with cacao and mint, this smoothie tastes like a sweet, creamy chocolate mint shake, which has always been my personal favorite!
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Lucuma Powder
2½ Tbsp Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
2 Cups Coconut Milk
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Cup Coconut Water
handful Mint Leaves
Blend and enjoy this minty, creamy, chocolaty treat!
Fresh peppermint is the secret to this minty cacao blend. Peppermint has cooling and refreshing properties, plus it freshens your breath! Coconut water keeps this blend light yet super hydrating the naturally occurring electrolytes are so important in the heat of summer. Cacao just brings it's 'get up and go' to this blend, bet you can't sit still after having this one!
5. Hazlenut Chocolate Snowballs
Does anyone actually not like Nutella? I didn’t think so! What I don’t like about Nutella is the refined sugar in it, but with this delicious truffle recipe, I get the best of Nutella’s flavor from hazelnuts and cacao, without needing to buy the stuff in the jar. These truffles are exquisite! They would make such an easy treat to take to a party or make at home for snacks on the go!
½ Cup Coconut Flakes, dried, unsweetened
½ Cup Raisins
¾ tsp Hazelnut Extract
2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
8 pitted Dates
1 Cup Hazelnuts
pinch Himalayan Crystal Salt
Process ¼ c. of the coconut (reserving the other ¼ c. for rolling the cookies in) along with the hazelnuts, Navitas Naturals Cacao powder and salt in a food processor (fitted with the “S” blade) until coarsely ground. Add the hazelnut extract, dates and raisins.
Process until it is a texture, which holds together when gently pressed between your fingers. Roll into balls and then roll in the coconut.
Yield 15-20 cookies
6. The Super-Sexy Green Smoothie
This is my personal favorite smoothie that I eat every morning for breakfast. I know it looks so odd, and actually quite gross I’ll admit, but it is so delicious. It is rich, creamy, sweet, and just happens to be green, but it doesn’t taste like it at all! It is so tasty I couldn't care less what it looks like! It is full of antioxidants, fiber, water, Vitamin A, E, C, magnesium, protein, is low in sugar, and high in brain-boosting properties. It also fills me up for hours! I recommend making this if you’re new to green smoothies since the taste of the ingredients I use don’t taste too bitter or too “green,” so to speak. The Bright Earth Foods Rainbow Superfood Smoothie Mix using cacao is the best part of this recipe, so don’t leave it out! You can find a link for where to buy if you’d like in the sources below!
1 zucchini squash ( green)
1 cucumber ( peeled if not organic)
juice from 1 lemon
1 cup of spinach ( packed)
1 cup almond milk ( I used Silk unsweetened vanilla or you can use homemade)
1 cup cold water
1 tsp. chia seeds ( sub in flax seeds or almonds if you don't have chia)
1 packet of NuNaturals stevia, or 2 droppers full of liquid Stevia
1 tsp. Bright Earth Foods Rainbow Superfood Smoothie Mix * contains raw cacao
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of ginger ( optional)
Add the ingredients in the order listed to a blender. I like a Vitamix the best, but my Nutribullet also worked GREAT too:) I'm sure a household blender would do the job just fine too: )
Blend the ingredients for about 10 seconds and pour into a glass. Serve immediately, OR, my favorite- place it in the freezer covered for about 45 minutes and eat like a Frosty:)
*If you don't own Rainbow Superfood Smoothie Mix by Bright Earth Foods you sub in another cacao- flavored superfood powder or use plain raw cacao. If you would like to know more about Rainbow Superfood Smoothie Mix, you can check it out more in the sources below.
7. Mini Vegan Raw Almond Joy Bars
I’ve always been weak in the knees for Almond Joy bars and Mounds bars. When it comes to coconut and chocolate, I’m an addict! These treats, however, are actually quite healthy, unlike the popular candy bars I ate as a child. Using whole, real ingredients with no refined sugar, and amazing raw cacao, these bars are incredibly energizing, beautifying, and provide a huge sense of satiety. Make them now and thank me later! If you don’t have raw cacao butter, please simply just use the same amount of coconut oil, which will work the same, though raw cacao butter is quite honestly one of the most amazing foods on Earth!
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
For the coating:
1/3 cup melted cacao butter
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
In a food processor fitted with the "S" blade, process all filling ingredients till well mixed and uniform. They'll be a little wet, but they should stick together well.
Shape the filling into twelve mini rectangles. Place them on a parchment lined shallow casserole or baking pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Set up a double boiler, using a medium sized mixing bowl. Melt the cacao butter, then whisk in the cacao powder, syrup, and sea salt.
Take each mini bar and dip it into the coating, quickly placing it back on the parchment. Return them to the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or until one coating has set. Repeat the process, so that each has a double coat.
Press one almond on top of each mini bar. Return them to the fridge for another 15 minutes (or more), to let them set. When ready to serve, let them sit outside the fridge for about 15 minutes, then share them!
8. Choco Chia Cereal Blend
If you’re a cereal girl, as I’ve always been, you know that stopping at one bowl is hard to do. Well, not with this recipe! This recipe using cacao, almonds, and superfoods like chia, camu-camu berries and buckwheat groats, which are gluten-free, are very filling, satisfying, healthy and energizing. This is one of the most unique cereal recipes I’ve ever found and the great thing is, if you don’t have any of these superfoods, just use which ones you do have!
Ingredients: (for 2 portions)
1/2 cup Organic chia seed
1/4 cup sprouted buckwheat groats
1-2 Tbs Organic Raw Cacao Powder
1/4 cup your choice Almonds, Pepitas, Goji Berry, chopped dates
1 Tbs Yacon Powder ( or another sweetener)
1 Tbs Lucuma Powder ( optional)
1 tsp Camu Camu (optional)
1/4 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
Combine all ingredients as a dry mix, and store for enjoyment any time (multiply everything by 4 for bulk batch). You can add warm water and soak for 10 minutes for a "hot cereal" or splash your favorite nut/seed milk (vanilla-hemp, or chocolate-hazelnut = wOw!) and dive in for cool and crunchy.
For all of the superfoods mentioned in this article, you can find them at Bright Earth Foods through the link below. You can also find many of them at your local health food store or other places online. Raw cacao alone is worth trying if you never even use the other stuff. It satisfies cravings, aids in depression, and just generally makes me a happy girl! Do you eat raw cacao?