This is a guest post from registered dietitian nutritionist Vanessa Perrone, owner of Motive Nutrition. For more of her delicious recipes and an abundance of great information about nutrition, cooking and lifestyle please check out her website at www.motivenutrition.com.
I can’t seem to get enough of smoothie bowls.
I don’t know whether it’s the different textures, the fact that they remind me of my time in Maui or because they force me to savour each bite with a spoon, but I urge you to jump on the smoothie bowl band wagon if you haven’t already. I posted a video recipe last year that you can watch here in case you missed it.
Today’s recipe is a chocolate cherry smoothie bowl that is guaranteed to become a staple on your spring-summer smoothie rotation. And let’s be honest: we could all use a little bit more chocolate in our lives!
Remind me…what makes chocolate healthy?
It’s all about the cocoa flavanols. These powerful plant compounds also found in foods like green tea and red wine improve what’s known as endothelial function, the inner lining of our blood vessels. Essentially, cocoa flavanols help keep our blood vessels nice and flexible which results in improved blood flow.
Keep in mind that good blood flow is not only important for your heart, but for delivering oxygen and key nutrients to your brain, skin, muscles and any other organ you can think of.
What are the best sources of cacao?
Cocoa flavanols are sensitive compounds! In fact, processing can cause them to drop by 90% from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. So to reap the most health benefits from this fabulous fruit, enjoy it low on the processing chain. Here are some examples:
Cocoa nibs: Once the cocoa bean is fermented, dried, roasted then cracked you wind up with cocoa nibs. No sugar has been added, so the taste is quite bitter but the crunchy texture is great in sweet and savoury dishes. They’re a great addition to a smoothie bowl.
Raw cacao powder: The key here is to look for raw cacao, not a dutch processed cocoa (the kind typically found in the baking aisle) since this process dramatically reduces cocoa-flavanol content.
The recipe below showcases two chocolate derived foods that I highly recommend: cocoa nibs and raw cacao. Since many of you struggle with building these foods into your diet, I hope that this recipe will become your antioxidant go-to. Bon appétit!
Chocolate cherry smoothie bowl
- 1 cup frozen pitted dark cherries
- 1/2 ripe frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
- Other options: granola cereal, fresh fruit, drizzle of honey
- In a power blender, combing all smoothie base ingredients and process until smooth.
- Pour smoothie mixture into a bowl and top with sliced banana, cocoa nibs and any other toppings of your choosing.
- Serve and enjoy immediately.
Vanessa Perrone is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and owner of Motive Nutrition, in Montreal, Quebec.