We all know cocoa for the chocolate-y goodness it brings to brownies and other treats. Cacao products — which include unsweetened cocoa powder, nibs, and dark chocolate — are rich in iron and other nutrients. Those labeled “cacao” and sometimes “vegan chocolate” are made from the raw bean and are minimally processed. To reap its maximum antioxidant power, cacao is best consumed uncooked, as in this rich-tasting smoothie adapted from “Trejo’s Cantina” by Danny Trejo (Potter, $28). Blended with potassium-rich bananas, nut milk, peanut butter, and dates, it’s low in sugar and fat and high in protein. A big pinch of ancho chile powder adds a hint of smoky spice. — Susan Puckett
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 banana, peeled, broken into chunks, and frozen
- 1 pitted date, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter or other nut butter
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao (or unsweetened cocoa) powder
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 4 ice cubes
- In a blender, combine the milk, banana, date, peanut butter, cacao powder, chili powder, and ice cubes. Blend until smooth and frothy.
- Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.