This banana & cacao smoothie recipe is one of my all time favorites! I posted it last year when I showed you a trick to never throw away a banana again, and realized the recipe got a little buried in the post so I wanted to post it again to make sure you saw it.
What’s cacao you ask? No, I didn’t spell cocoa incorrectly, but they both come from the same plant.
Cacao is raw cocoa in its unadulterated state.
Cacao comes from the seed of an Amazonian fruit tree and is considered one of the highest–if not the highest–antioxidant foods on the planet. It’s full of magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium and is also extremely high in anandamide (aka the “bliss chemical”). This superfood also contains plant-based protein, good fats & healthy carbs, and can improve cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, and can elevate your mood. What’s not to love?!
When both cacao and cocoa are produced, the fat (i.e. cacao/cocoa butter) is separated from the bean. The difference is that to make cocoa, the bean is first roasted. Cacao is left raw and never roasted, leaving it’s enzymes and many other nutrients in tact. The end product is not mixed with anything else.
On the other hand, with cocoa powder you’ll notice it’s typically listed as a percentage, such as 70% or 80%, usually meaning is 70/80% cocoa powder mixed with milk and/or sugar to produce a sweeter taste. True raw cacao isn’t nearly anywhere as sweet as most conventional cocoa powders, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious. Plus, since it’s so high in antioxidants, you’re doing yourself a favor by consuming it’s raw chocolatey goodness.
Legend has it that the spelling of cacao comes from way back in the early trade days of people simply misspelling cocoa (or vice versa) and eventually the raw state came to be known as cacao. Who knows if that’s true, but it’s a fun story and seems to make sense. Regardless, when prepared correctly cacao tastes divine and will definitely satisfy your “chocolate tooth” — without the added sugar and dairy that usually comes with chocolate.
You can find raw cacao powder at most natural grocery stores or on Amazon. Keep it in the fridge for an even longer shelf life.
Frozen Banana & Cacao Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup purified water
- 1 small frozen banana (2 small frozen halves)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao (raw cocoa powder)
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- dash of cinnamon
- handful of ice
- optional: add 1 serving of high-quality, organic chocolate or vanilla protein powder if drinking post workout
Method: Blend all ingredients until smooth; serve cold.
Tip for your bananas: When bananas start to over-ripen, peel them, 1/2 them, then freeze them. Add them to your daily smoothies as needed for nutrients, fiber and an extra creamy texture. Another option would be 2-ingredient vegan banana ice cream, you can find that here.