I love using raw chocolate (cacao) in my green smoothies! One flavor I love to combine with chocolate is cherry!
While raw cacao can be bitter, it is easily sweetened by the banana and cherries in this recipe.
Cacao may help support the immune system, 1 improve mood, 2 and I find that it enhances my focus when I need to be productive. It also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium that support bone strength.
Also, studies suggest that eating cherries can reduce inflammation. 3 While they are good for you, cherries can be a little pricey depending on where you live. You can always use frozen cherries to help reduce the cost. If you find them on sale, you can buy extra to keep in your freezer. Just make sure you wash and pit them before you freeze them.
Immune-Boosting Chocolate-Cherry Green Smoothie
- 8 ounces (236 ml) homemade almond milk
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 cup (154 grams) frozen cherries, pitted
- 1 scoop vanilla plant based protein power (I like NutriBiotic rice protein powder. You can sub 2 tablespoons chia seeds and the vanilla from 1 vanilla bean)
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) cacao powder
- 3 cups (90 grams) fresh or frozen baby spinach
Nutrition Info: Calories: 323 | Protein: 18 grams | Fiber: 9.5 | Calcium: 10% DV | Iron: 3.3 mg
Serving Size: One. (This recipe makes a large, 32-ounce smoothie. It is a meal-replacement smoothie and not a snack. I recommend drinking half right away and the other half about 30 minutes later. If it is too much for you, store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.)
Get Adventurous! Try This Chocolate-Cherry With Strawberry & Beet
This delicious green smoothie blends some of my favorite summer berries with cacao (chocolate), creamy avocado, and beet. Yes, beet!
Don’t be turned off by putting beets in your green smoothie. Beets are easily masked with sweet fruits like strawberries. I love adding beets and strawberries in the same smoothie. I think they really complement each other.
Of course, the main reason for using beet in a green smoothie is nutrition. Beets are particularly rich in folate. One 2-inch in diameter beet contains up to 22% RDA of folate.
Cacao ties the flavors together, adding a delicious, yet healthy, chocolate taste. Cacao is also a great source of iron. If you don’t want to use cacao, you can always replace the cacao with carob powder. It will alter the flavor a little, but you will still get a chocolatey flavor.
- 10 strawberries
- 1 cup Bing cherries, pitted
- 1/4 avocado (without peel, pit)
- 1 small raw beet, peeled and cubed
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 8 ounces unsweetened almond or coconut milk
Directions: Start by adding the liquid to your blender (see my blender recommendations), followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
How To Blend Beets: Raw beets will blend just fine in a high-end Vitamix or Blendtec blender. If you have a typical department store blender, I recommend steaming and then cooling the beet before attempting to blend it. Steaming will soften the beet, while preserving most of the nutrients. If you have a juicer, you can juice beets instead and substitute 4 ounces of coconut milk with 4 ounces of fresh beet juice.
Nutrition Info: Calories: 340 | Fat: 14g | Protein: 10g | Carbohydrates: 53g | Calcium: 13% RDA | Iron: 5.7mg | Vitamin A: 81% RDA | Vitamin C: 153% RDA
This smoothie is also a rich source of vitamins B1 through B6, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
1) Pérez-Cano, F. J., Massot-Cladera, M., Franch, À., Castellote, C., & Castell, M. (2013). The effects of cocoa on the immune system. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 4, 71. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2013.00071 Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671179/
2) Mood and Chocolate (Dr. Van Rhijn)
3) Kelley, D. S., Rasooly, R., Jacob, R. A., Kader, A. A., & Mackey, B. E. (2006). Consumption of Bing sweet cherries lowers circulating concentrations of inflammation markers in healthy men and women. The Journal of nutrition, 136(4), 981-986. Retrieved from: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/4/981.full
Browse more green smoothie recipes.