This chocolate hazelnut protein smoothie is so decadent and delicious, you wouldn’t believe it’s so good for you!
If you enjoy the classic snack of banana coated with a chocolate-hazelnut spread like Nutella, then this smoothie is for you!
Made with naturally high-protein ingredients such as nuts, dairy, oats, and spinach, this smoothie is excellent post workout, or when those chocolate cravings hit!
This recipe can be made with or without protein powder.
Here’s how to make this healthy and delicious chocolate hazelnut protein smoothie…
How to Make a Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Smoothie
Step 1: Gather ingredients
One of the star ingredients in this smoothie is cocoa or cacao powder. This is what brings the lovely chocolate-y-ness, while also being healthy. That’s right, chocolate is actually good for you! (see more on this below)
The difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder, is that cocoa is typically the more processed version of cacao.
Like all chocolate products, cocoa and cacao powder come from the seeds of the cacao tree. These seeds, known as cacao beans, are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground into raw cacao or cocoa powder, which can then be used to make chocolate products.
Cocoa powder is made by roasting at a higher temperature than cacao powder, and may consequently contain fewer nutrients than the minimally-processed cacao powder. The difference really depends on the specific brand of product though.
You can use either raw cocoa or cacao powder for this recipe. I use raw cocoa powder because that’s what I tend to have on hand and find in the store. I just make sure that it is 100% cocoa powder, with no added sugar or other additives.
The other star ingredient in this smoothie, is hazelnuts, in the form of hazelnut butter.
Hazelnut butter is just ground up hazelnuts, where the buttery-ness comes from the natural oils of the nut – the only ingredient in hazelnut butter should be hazelnuts.
Alternatively, you could use toasted whole hazelnuts (try about 1/4 cup).
Another crucial component of this smoothie is banana. Banana adds sweetness and cuts back on the bitterness of the raw cocoa powder. A frozen banana is best as it makes the smoothie creamy and cold.
Dates are also added for their natural sweetness. Alternatively, you could use 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup instead.
Oats and spinach are included because of their high protein content. You really can’t even taste the spinach because of the strong chocolate and hazelnut flavour profile in this smoothie.
A high-powered blender is recommended for this smoothie, in order to get through the oats and spinach, which can be grainy otherwise.
The liquid base of this smoothie consists of milk and yogurt, which offer a lot of protein, while making the smoothie nice and creamy as well.
Lastly, the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt are all little additives to enhance the flavour.
Optionally, you can add in your favourite protein powder to this smoothie to make it a true protein shake. But this is not necessary as this recipe has plenty of natural, high-protein ingredients in it already.
Step 2: Blend!
Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Smoothie Health Benefits
The main health benefit that this smoothie offers is, of course, dietary protein.
Protein is important for so many functions in the body, such as growth, development, repair, immune system defences, metabolism, circulation, and more.
And the best way to get protein is through natural food sources such as the cocoa, hazelnuts, oats, spinach, and dairy in this smoothie.
In addition to being a good source of protein, cacao/cocoa powder, when raw, offers many health benefits. It is a great source of fibre and many important minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and more.
Additionally, cocoa contains high amounts of powerful antioxidant compounds called flavanols. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity may offer many health benefits, such as reducing cellular damage and improving cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Who knew chocolate could be so nutritious!
Hazelnuts are also incredibly nutritious. Not only are they high in protein, but they also contain plenty of healthy fat, fibre, micronutrients, and antioxidant compounds.
Give this healthy and delicious chocolate hazelnut protein smoothie a blend, and let me know in the comments below how you like it!
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp hazelnut butter
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 scoop plain, unsweetened, Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of cinnamon
- Optional: 1 scoop of protein powder
- Add all ingredients to a blender (frozen ingredients added last).
- Blend on high until smooth (about 60 seconds).
- Serve and enjoy! Garnish if you'd like with chocolate shavings, oats, nuts, banana buttons, granola, etc.
- A chocolate-flavoured protein powder goes best with the theme of this smoothie 😉
- Feel free to leave out the protein powder if you'd like - this recipe contains plenty of natural protein sources, so added protein powder is not a necessity.
- As an alternative to the dates, 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup can be added as a natural sweetener.