Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Healthy "Nutella" Smoothie

It's true. We love(d) Nutella.

Chocolate, hazelnuts and sweetness- blended into the perfect topping for crepes, toast or eaten by the spoon. It's touted as a healthy start for the day, right?

I know I refused to look at the ingredients for too long because we loved it. The kids ate their whole grain toast and their buckwheat crepes with it. But I had some twinges of guilt that I was feeding this modified-oil and sugar combo to my family despite my organic leanings- and probably too often.

Despite the fact that we now sometimes use an organic alternative to Nutella for those weekend/special treat mornings, there are those days when we crave that classic Nutella flavour but want something healthier for our mornings.

May I present The Healthy Nutella Smoothie
(or Hazelnut Chocolate Smoothie)
Blend this all up and voilĂ , a tasty and a truly nutritious start to the morning! This makes one large smoothie, or enough for 2-3 smaller portions.

2 cups hazelnut milk (instructions below) or 1/4 cup hazelnuts and 2 cups water (*)
2 tbsp pure cocoa (dutch-process, the dark one)
4 dates, pitted (or more, according to your desired sweetness)
1 banana (frozen or fresh, peeled)
1 tsp vanilla
4 ice cubes

This is really a simple starting point. Add more cocoa if you like a more chocolatey smoothie, more dates for more sweetness- it is completely adaptable for personal tastes.

* Note: You can blend 1 cup soaked hazelnuts with 4 cups water very well, strain it through a nut-milk bag, fine cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to rid it of the grainy texture. You will have enough to make 2 smoothie recipes or reserve additional for other uses. I have reserved the nut "meat" that is leftover to put in the freezer to use in nut loaf, cookies or pancakes. If you don't mind some texture in your smoothie, or have a super-powerful blender, just add the nuts and water and sip away!