Vegan recipes and go-to brands for a healthy chocolate fix

You can still eat chocolate even if you are vegan and even if you are trying to quit refined or questionable added sugars and sweeteners.  It’s so funny that the first thing many people said when I did a whole year of no added sugar (2017) was ‘I could never give up chocolate for a year!’

It’s the same now I’m following a plant-based diet (more commonly known as vegan) which does not include consuming dairy and therefore milk… ‘but what about chocolate?!’

I’m here to tell you that I still love and adore chocolate and I still eat it!

Just probably not the version you are used to!

In fact, the chocolate I eat is actually pretty good for me too.  Even my teeth in some cases if it contains xylitol to sweeten!  I never eat chocolate that contains dairy or that contains added sugar.

(OK, apart from last Boxing Day when I indulged in some vegan choccies with sugar that my brother-in-law gave me and then immediately regretted it and I won’t be doing that again…)

But normally, and for pretty much two years straight, I won’t consume any chocolate that contains sugar and definitely not any with dairy since going 100% plant based over one year ago.

So what chocolate do I eat that’s healthy and vegan?

The secret ingredient to curb those chocolate cravings is cacao!

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - use raw cacao powder

There are so many things that I use raw cacao powder in for a mighty chocolate kick.  Many cocoa powders are heat treated and refined which loses vital nutrients from the raw cacao bean, as well as some cocoa brands being mixed with sugar!

Instead of cocoa, I buy raw cacao powder (which I pronounce ca-cow).  It’s much richer than cocoa powder and undergoes less processing and heat treating.  This means it retains loads of powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Chocolate in its original form is actually very nutritious.  It’s just been altered and then has so many detrimental things added to it to create those regular chocolate bars that we all know and love, turning the once nutritious chocolate into a high-sugar and unhealthy snack instead.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Instead use raw cacao to create all the things you love.  If you’re on a healthy journey then it’s the perfect ingredient to create lots of yummy raw sweet treats with other wholefoods such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds and oats.

Here are some of the benefits of cacao:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Rich source of minerals, especially magnesium
  • Source of vitamins, including vitamin C
  • Contains Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Makes you feel good thanks to phenethylamine (PEA) which is a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love, and also its serotonin content
  • Has a low GI so won’t spike your blood sugar levels
  • Boosts energy which therefore reduces fatigue

It’s a winner!

Easy vegan recipe ideas with cacao powder

Don’t be intimidated by having to make your own items with raw cacao powder as some recipes are actually really simple and only take a few minutes!

Hot chocolate

Simply mix a teaspoon, or more to taste, with some warm plant based milk for a sugar and dairy free hot choccie.  If it’s not sweet enough for you then add a squirt of Sweet Freedom choc shot or a tiny bit of xylitol.

Nut butter bliss balls

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - bliss balls cacao

You can also get cacao nibs which are like a healthier version of chocolate chips!  I love to add them to my muesli, but also to give a chocolatey crunch to bliss balls:

  • 1 jar Meridian cashew butter
  • 1 small mixing bowl’s worth of dates (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes to make them sticky, then drained)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup milled flaxseed
  • a good sprinkle of goji berries, inspiral cacao nibs, cacao powder and seeds

Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor to mix them all before adding the dates.  Then pulse the mixture with the dates added until the mixture forms a big ball.  It usually comes together just as you think it’s not going to work!  Then roll them into bite-size balls which you can dust with cacao powder if you like and leave them to firm in the fridge.

Mulberry and chia bliss balls

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - bliss balls cacao mulberry

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - bliss balls cacao mulberry chia

  • 1 cup of dried white mulberries
  • 1 cup soaked dates (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes to make them sticky, then drained)
  • 1/8 cup cacao powder
  • 1/8 cup black chia seeds
  • 5 tablespoons coconut flour (and a teaspoon extra to dust the balls)
  • 1 tablespoon goji berry powder

The process is the same as the recipe above:
Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor to mix them all before adding the dates.  Then pulse the mixture with the dates added until the mixture forms a big ball.  It usually comes together just as you think it’s not going to work!  Then roll them into bite-size balls which you can dust with cacao powder if you like and leave them to firm in the fridge.

Chilli

A great tip – instead of adding regular dark chocolate to your chilli when cooking, use a spoonful of raw cacao powder instead!

Milkshakes/Smoothies

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - cacao smoothie

Cacao powder is brilliant for making chocolate milkshakes with frozen bananas and oat milk.  My kids absolutely love them!  I use a Nutri Ninja to blend a smooth smoothie or milkshake in seconds!

Here’s a creamy and indulgent smoothie recipe:

  • 5 frozen bananas (I freeze browning bananas in thirds and halves)
  • 250ml oat milk
  • 7 large Brazil nuts and 15 cashew nuts
  • 1 tablespoon 100% cashew butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop cacao powder (or more or less to taste)

Chuck all ingredients together and blend away!

Raw Chocolate Brownies

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan

These are different to a regular brownie, but SO delicious, wholesome and moreish and a sweet treat in its own right.

  • 2 cups soaked dates (soaked in warm water for 20 minutes to make them sticky, then drained)
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds

Put all the ingredients into a food processor & pulse until they form a big sticky ball.  Press into a relevant sized tray, freeze for one hour and then move to the fridge.  Cut into squares.

Dark Chocolate

How to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - homemade recipes.jpg

Making your own dark vegan chocolate just has to be one of the best things to make ever and it’s so easy:

  • 60g cacao butter
  • 30g xylitol
  • 30g cacao powder
  • 2 pinches of black chia seeds
  • 1 scoop wholegrain puffed rice (the Kallo brand has no added sugar)(optional)
  • A dollop of Sweet Freedom syrup

Pop a glass bowl over steaming hot water in a pan.  Chuck all the ingredients in and stir until the cacao butter has thoroughly melted.  Spoon the mixture into moulds or pour into a tray. Pop in the fridge and leave to set.

 

4 Great brands to try for a vegan chocolate fix

There are also some great brands out there that make lots of yummy chocolate treats that are suitable for vegans:

Sweet Freedom

you don't have to give up chocolate to go sugar free here are my favourite brands

We love the squirty choc pot the best, though my image is of the spread which is perhaps just a little thicker.  We had the choc spread once, but I prefer the squeezy tube.  A big squirt of sweet freedom  mixed with hot water and plant milk, or just warm plant milk, makes a yummy hot chocolate.  It’s also great added to cereal to make it chocolatey or spread on wholegrain rice crackers for a much healthier than normal dessert.  It’s 100% natural fruit syrup made from natural fruit extracts (carob & apple), water, cocoa, rapeseed oil, natural chocolate flavour.

Another great tip for a treat for the kids is to squirt a dollop on a plate and serve with some Goodies biscuits (no refined sugar in those either, just fruit juice) or with strips of warm pitta bread (The Food Doctor wholemeal pittas have no added sugar).  The kids love dippy chocolate!

Read more at www.sweetfreedom.co.uk

The Raw Chocolate Company

how to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan - the raw chocolate company xylitol orange

This was one of the first brands of chocolate I tried when I stopped eating anything with added sugar for a year.  They make raw chocolate bars that are sweetened with xylitol.  Xylitol is a natural sweetener that’s derived from birch trees.  The Raw Chocolate Company source their ingredients ethically and naturally.  The bars I had were orange and xylitol made from raw cocoa, xylitol, virgin cocoa butter and orange oil.  That’s it.  Simple and delicious.  They taste a little different to a milk chocolate bar, but now I am so used to raw and dark chocolate that I would find a sugary milk chocolate bar such a weird taste and the thought is so sickly.  My point being, if you think all these raw chocolate things taste weird then you may just need to get used to them and convert your taste buds as they do taste different to regular choc bars.

Here’s their website www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Pulsin

How to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan pulsin.jpg

How to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan pulsin bar.jpg

Their brownie bars are absolutely scrumptious and my favourite is the maca version, as well as the salted caramel.  I love the chunky adult bars and ‘brownies’, but they also make kids bars too which are perfect for their lunchboxes and are sweetened with xylitol.

This is what they say about their brownie bars: ‘We work hard to ensure that all our raw choc brownie recipes are free from gluten, dairy, soya, refined sugars and non GM, meaning you can enjoy a bar which is vegan friendly, and suitable for those following dairy free, soya free and gluten free diets.’

Find Pulsin online at www.pulsin.co.uk

Aduna

How to get a healthy chocolate fix as a vegan aduna superfood bars.JPG

When I first got interested in superfood powders I discovered Aduna and their yummy superfood bars.  They stock baobab, moringa and cacao powders, bars and even teas.  Their bars are super chewy and sticky if that’s your thing.  I think all their cacao products are yummy.  They make a lovely Christmas or birthday present too.

Click here to check out all their amazing products www.aduna.com

 

There are many more great raw chocolate and all-natural brands suitable for vegans, but I’ll leave you with those highly recommended and delicious four.

Hopefully you will realise that being dairy-free and sugar-free doesn’t mean you have to give up chocolate.  In fact, you can even begin to enjoy chocolate in a purer form with many more health benefits.

 

More fab blog posts!

Why being healthy doesn’t have to be expensive

How to reduce your child’s sugar intake when they have a sweet tooth

The problem with refined sugar

How to easily eat these 7 delicious super foods every week

3 healthy vegan snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth

Vegan recipes and go-to brands for a healthy chocolate fix.png