This is my favorite vegan chocolate smoothie that I enjoy year-round! It is rich and creamy and packed with good-for-you smoothie boosters: avocado, spinach, hemp seeds, cacao nibs and chia seeds. The decadent chocolate is enhanced by an optional drop of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt making this smoothie incredibly addictive.
My entire family loves it for a filling breakfast and sometimes we share it for a hearty afternoon snack to get everyone through until dinnertime. My girls just love it even when I sneak in some baby spinach (which they never suspect). It is simple to throw together and is ready in five minutes or less.
Of course this smoothie is 100% dairy-free and gluten-free. It is also raw and grain-free. There is an easy nut-free option as well, so pretty much everyone can enjoy!
The smoothie is lightly sweetened with dates (or you could use maple syrup). Either way these natural sweeteners keep it refined sugar-free! I personally love using dates in smoothies whenever possible since they are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Dates are considered a stone fruit and have a distinct caramel flavor that works wonderfully in this smoothie.
I love topping my smoothie with extra hemp seeds and cacao nibs. Totally up to you though.
Haven’t heard of cacao nibs? Here is the low-down. Cacao nibs are 100 percent pure cacao and said to be the least processed form of chocolate. Cacao nibs are prepared by removing the shell from cured, cleaned, dried, and cracked cacao beans. The result is a hard, crunchy and tiny nib. Each one is unique in shape and fairly jagged. They are a bit larger than a lentil and smaller than a coffee bean. With cacao nibs you are getting more flavanols than overly processed chocolate bars that contain additives such as sugar, cream, milkfat or milk. Although cacao nibs taste intense and slightly bitter as opposed to sweet, they allow you to enjoy chocolate flavor while providing antioxidants, dietary fiber, protein, iron and magnesium.
If you give this smoothie a try, please snap a pic and tag me on social media (#eatingbyelaine / @eatingbyelaine). Cheers!
- 3-4 pitted Medjool dates
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw almond butter (or substitute oats for a nut free version)
- 2 tablespoons ripe avocado
- 1-2 handfuls of spinach
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla flavored plant-based milk (I use almond milk but you could also use hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk or coconut milk)
- 2-4 cups ice (depending on how thick and frosty you like your smoothies)
- Optional Toppings: 1 teaspoon hemp seeds and 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
- Soak the pitted dates for 30 minutes in boiled water. This step simply softens the dates and helps the blender blend them smooth. If you have a high speed blender, you can skip this soaking step as the machine is powerful enough on its own to blend the dates smooth.
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender in the order they appear in the ingredient list (dates go in first and ice goes in last). Blend gradually from low to high speed until smooth and creamy.
- Taste and adjust sweetness if needed. You can add an extra date to make it sweeter if desired. You can also add a drop of vanilla extract or a pinch of salt if desired to bring out the flavors. If you prefer a frothier and thicker smoothie, add more ice. If you prefer more of a shake and a thinner consistency, add more plant milk.
- Pour the smoothie into 1-2 large glasses. Add your desired toppings and serve immediately.