Sometimes it seems like a good idea to put chocolate in things.
Vanilla ice cream? Top with chocolate.
Sugar cookies? Add chocolate chips… and oats and pecans, please.
Red mole sauce? Wouldn’t be the same without that hint of cocoa.
But KALE? My friends, I added chocolate to kale today, and it wasn’t bad.
I’ve been bored with my green smoothie routine lately, which is pretty common among the health food crowd. Should we call it Green Smoothie Burnout? Anyway, I had an almost-full container of unsweetened Hershey’s cocoa powder and a freezer full of frozen strawberries, and I just thought, hey, why not?
See, unsweetened cocoa powder isn’t the same thing as a gallon of chocolate ice cream. It’s been shown to be good for heart health in numerous studies (this article links to several). The flavonols in cocoa seem to have protective effects on blood vessel structure, which also helps to prevent high blood pressure. Unsweetened cocoa powder also has a decent amount of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
Needless to say, a spoonful of cocoa in your green smoothie might be just the thing to kick you out of Green Smoothie Burnout and into the territory of sparkling blood vessels and a happy heart. [Cue romantic music.] One of my old health-nut roommates used to use a scoop of Ghirardelli’s unsweetened cocoa in her green smoothies as she adjusted to the taste, so this is a good trick for beginners, too. Pair it with some strawberries and a drizzle of honey and get ready to remind yourself that it’s not Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate-Strawberry Green Smoothie
- 1 cup kale, washed
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup frozen strawberries + 1 cup frozen raspberries OR 2 cups fresh strawberries + a handful of ice*
- 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- honey to taste
In your blender, blitz the kale, almond milk, cocoa powder, and a good drizzle of honey. Once everything is smooth, add the fruit and blend. Add more honey if desired. Top with a sprinkle of cocoa.
*PLEASE NOTE: In my experience, frozen strawberries have a pretty mild flavor, so if you’re using packaged frozen strawberries from the store, you’ll want to punch it up with some raspberries, too, or the berry flavor will be lost in a jungle of cocoa and kale. If you’re using fresh strawberries, no need for raspberries. Just toss in some ice for that smoothie texture.