Get your chocolate fix the *healthy* way with these 9 cacao nibs recipes


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Photo: Lee From America

There’s a sad misconception that chocolate doesn’t have a place in a healthy diet. And, sure, your doctor isn’t going to be handing out candy bars on your way out of their office any time soon. But cacao nibs—chocolate’s cool, non-processed cousin—are delicious and healthy.

Unlike processed chocolate, cacao (and cacao nibs, which are basically chopped up cacao beans) in its raw form is full of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and brain-boosting flavonols. So you’re basically getting the rich flavor of extra dark chocolate without a ton of added sugar or other junk. Sign me up.

If you want to know what to do with cacao nibs besides just sprinkling them on top of your morning yogurt, check out these nine sweet cacao nibs recipes. Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you.

cacao nibs recipes scones
Photo: Naturally Ella

1. Cacao nib and oat scones

Making a batch of these for your fam will definitely ensure your “favorite child” status. Naturally Ella blogger Erin Alderson’s recipe also calls for honey and a teeny bit of vanilla extract to add an extra layer of sweetness.

cacao nibs recipe muesli
Photo: 8th and Lake

2. Simple overnight bircher muesli

Sure, you can have a regular ‘ol bowl of muesli for breakfast, or you can spice it up with some cacao nibs. This recipe from blogger Marie Reginato is beautiful in its simplicity: All you need to make it is alt-milk (she uses cashew milk), raspberries, banana, rolled oats, honey, and of course, the cacao nibs.

cacao nibs recipes waffles
Photo: Love and Lemons

3. Cacao nib and strawberry vegan waffles

Love and Lemons blogger Jeanine Donofrio’s waffle recipe is full of nutritious ingredients while still tasting…really, really good. A partial run-down: almond milk, apple cider vinegar, flax meal, cinnamon, strawberries, and of course cacao nibs. This is what weekends are made of!

cacao nibs recipe oat bars
Photo: Half Baked Harvest

4. Chewy cherry, almond and cacao nib granola bars

Half Baked Harvest blogger Tieghan Gerard wrote that she came up with this recipe while looking for a healthier spin on the granola bars she loved as a kid. And her recipe really delivers—it’s made with toasted buckwheat, coconut oil, almond butter, honey, and a small handful of those glorious cacao nibs.

cacao nibs recipes lemon bars
Photo: Naturally Sassy

5. Lemon and almond butter oat bites

Some fruits, like strawberries and cherries, almost beg to be eaten with chocolate. Lemon is a bit more unexpected, but the pairing is just as delish—as proven by this recipe from Naturally Sassy blogger Sassy Gregson-Williams. They’re also super creamy and full of protein, thanks to almond butter being one of the main ingredients. Consider this your new post-workout snack go-to.

cacao nibs recipe brownies
Photo: Nutrition Stripped

6. Raw chocolate nib brownies

Don’t tell Little Debbie, but brownies don’t have to be processed or wrapped in plastic to be crowd-pleasers. This recipe from Well+Good Wellness Council member and Nutrition Stripped founder McKel Hill, RDN only uses nutrient-dense, all-natural ingredients—and no refined sugar. It’s all the antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats without any weird fillers. (But yes, it still tastes like a brownie.)

cacao nibs recipe smoothie
Photo: Lee From America

7. Mint chocolate chip cauliflower smoothie bowl

Okay, so it’s not exactly ice cream, but blogger Lee From America’s version is a close, dairy-free runner-up. The secret to making it extra creamy: 1/3 cup of raw cashews, blended with the cauliflower florets. And obviously, those chocolate chips are actually cacao nibs!

cacao nibs recipe chunky monkey
Photo: VeguKate

8. Chunky coco monkey ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey is one of the most genius ice cream flavors ever, and VeguKate blogger Kate Gavlick has a genius way to enjoy it without any dairy or artificial ingredients. Her recipe calls for bananas, Medjool dates, coconut milk, vanilla bean pod, walnuts, and cacao nibs. That’s literally it.

cacao nibs recipes chia pudding
Photo: Choosing Chia

9. Triple chocolate chia pudding

This recipe from Choosing Chia uses cacao in two different forms—nibs and powder—making this it packed with antioxidants. Another major bonus: It only requires one bowl (and zero oven or stovetop time).

Pair your cacao nibs dish with one of these inflammation-fighting drinks. And check out these low-sugar dessert recipes if you really have a sweet tooth.

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