Why, oh why, have I never added cocoa powder to a smoothie before today?
There is no good answer to this question. I’m just going to chalk it up as one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.
What I can tell you for certain is that the smoothie I made this morning, incorporating unsweetened cocoa powder, was outstanding. It is one that I highly recommend, particularly to anyone looking to ease into green smoothies. I happen to love the hint of leafy goodness that most green smoothies impart, but I know it’s not for everyone, and in this one both the taste and color of the greens are artfully disguised by rich chocolatey goodness.CHOCO-BERRY GREEN SMOOTHIE
Yield: 1 large smoothie
Vegan and gluten-free
1 cup water
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
2 large collard green leaves, torn into smaller pieces
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (start with 1 and add more to taste)
Add all ingredients, in the order shown, to a blender and blend from low to high until smooth and well-combined.
- Any dark green leafy vegetable can be substituted for the collard greens (e.g., spinach, kale, or chard). It should come out to about 2 packed cups full. If you’re new to green smoothies, start with less and gradually work up to 2 cups.
- Fresh fruit may be substituted for any of the frozen fruit. You may want to add some ice if substituting more than one frozen ingredient.
- Use non-dairy milk in place of the water for a richer, “milk chocolate” version.
Yes, I did toss some chocolate chips on there for garnish. And I’m not sad that chocolate chips were part of my breakfast. Not sad at all.
Unsweetened cocoa is chock full of health benefits so you can definitely feel okay about having it for breakfast. It is low in calories while being high in fiber, iron, copper, and magnesium. It also naturally contains a hefty dose of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids. Just be aware that many commercially-available varieties have had the flavonoids removed (our American food industry at work, ladies and gents). [Sources: Livestrong and Metabolic Effect]
I know people often achieve similar smoothie results by for example adding chocolate protein powder to a smoothie. Personally I have never encountered a protein powder (vegan or non-vegan) that I found palatable, so the cocoa powder works out great for me.
I can totally imagine feeding this smoothie to my kids someday for a little veggie boost at breakfast time. [Hopefully my future children aren’t reading this, but if they are–SURPRISE! You ate a vegetable. Mama only tricks you because she loves you.]
Weigh in: chocolate protein powder or unsweetened cocoa powder?
I am firmly in the cocoa camp!
Update: I am sharing this smoothie in the Sunday Smoothie Link-up being hosted over at The Gluten-Free Treadmill–check it out!