6 Healthy Recipes You’ll Love That Have Cacao in It

Most people love chocolate and use it as a go-to dessert. You can find chocolate in most desserts or in a variation of your favorite desserts. However, what if we told you that you can have the deliciousness of chocolate without all of the unhealthy aspects? It is possible! All you have to do is add cacao to your favorite recipes. This is different from cocoa, which is the processed form of the bean. Cacao is the unprocessed and raw form that is packed with nutrients. There are several recipes that use this ingredient and are completely healthy. Keep reading to find six healthy recipes for you to try.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There are several great health benefits that come from consuming cacao and dark chocolate. Probably the most important is the sheer number of antioxidants and nutrients it contains. Antioxidants go through your body and heal the damage done by free radicals, as well as protect you from further damage. Research links free radicals to premature aging and, in some instances, cancer. On top of a large number of antioxidants, there are other benefits of this kind of chocolate. It can help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to improve brain function. For many people, these benefits are an added bonus when they use it in their favorite chocolate recipes. 

Healthy Recipes You Will Love

The above-mentioned health benefits can help you to see how cacao recipes can be healthy. Granted, the rest of the ingredients need to be good as well. Using this form of chocolate in your favorite recipes can help you to enjoy all your favorite foods. In fact, it may even seem like you are having dessert. There are 10 healthy recipes below for you to try that have cacao as an ingredient. Some of them are even vegan, so people with all types of diets can enjoy them.

Blueberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl

This smoothie bowl is a protein and antioxidant-packed choice for breakfast that will help you get the day started right. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 Medjool date
  • 1 scoop of brown rice or pea protein

To start, place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend it until it is smooth. The consistency will be thick, which is perfect for a smoothie bowl. Next, pour the smoothie into a bowl and smooth it out. You can top the smoothie with any other ingredients that you want, like fruit slices, granola, oats, or cereal. Once you add the toppings, it is ready for you to eat!

Chocolate Banana Muffins

If your family has a hard time eating all of the bananas at home, this recipe will turn all your ripe bananas into a delicious muffin. Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 1 cup of oat flour
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 8 large pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of coffee grounds
  • 3 small to medium-sized overripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon of your oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cups of chocolate chips

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and greasing a muffin tin with cooking spray. Next, put the dates, almond milk, bananas, oil, vanilla and coffee grounds in a food processor. Blend it until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together until it is blended well. The batter will be extremely thick like dough. After this, fill each muffin tin three-quarters full and lightly smooth the tops. If you pack the dough in, the muffins will be too dense. To finish, bake the muffins for 25 minutes and allow them to cool.

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Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake recipe is gluten-free, so it is perfect for those who cannot have traditional cakes. It is also easy to make, which is not as common for gluten-free recipes. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of unrefined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of chopped hazelnuts (optional)

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8-inch round cake pan. You should also line the bottom of the pan with unbleached parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and sugar. After that, mix in the rest of the ingredients (except for the chopped hazelnuts). Next, pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top. Let the cake bake for 35 to 40 minutes, then let it cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. After this, your cake is ready! You can store it in the fridge for two days.

Chocolate Nice Cream

You may have heard of nice cream before. Essentially, it is a dairy-free version of ice cream that is both smooth and delicious! These are all the ingredients you need:

  • 3 frozen overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of cacao powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • A broken up dark chocolate bar

All you have to do is take the first three ingredients and blend them together in a blender or food processor. If the mix is a bit too thick, add a small amount of almond milk or any other dairy-free milk and mix it in. Next, mix in the pieces of chocolate and let the mixture freeze for an hour. Once it is solid, you can scoop it with an ice cream scoop and enjoy! You can also use this nice cream to create your own ice cream sandwich and other ice cream treats. The possibilities are endless!

Flourless Peanut Butter Zucchini Brownies

These brownies are both vegan and gluten-free and only requires seven ingredients. These are extremely easy to make and do not require a lot of effort. Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup of shredded zucchini (do not squeeze out the water)
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (or add an egg for a non-vegan recipe)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips

To start these brownies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an eight-inch square baking pan. Next, add all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a mixing bowl. Stir it until combined, and then fold in the chocolate chips. After that, dump the batter into the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, then allow them to cool. Be sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Once again, this recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, making people with a variety of diets able to eat it. This includes those that are lactose intolerant, celiac, or have other sensitivities. This recipe takes longer to make, but that is to let the cashews soak. Here is what you will need for the crust and the cheesecake:


  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of almond milk


  • 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice blend

Start by soaking the cashews in water for an hour. Once that is done, discard the water and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Next, take all of the crust ingredients and put them in a blender. Press the crust mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan and place it in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake. Put all of the cheesecake ingredients into a food processor and pulse it until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust and spread it evenly. To finish, let the cheesecake freeze for at least two hours before serving. You can store these cheesecake bites in the freezer for up to three months.


There are several great recipes that use cacao and its great health benefits, but you can also use it in your everyday recipes. This includes adding the powder to your favorite smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts. You can even sprinkle it over fresh fruit! If you want to try cacao powder, you will surely find a recipe that you love. This makes your desserts more healthy because you avoid all the added sugar and processing. These are recipes that you can enjoy and not feel guilty about.

Related Article: Best Organic Chocolate: A Healthy and Enjoyable Treat

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Lacey Jolley

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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