The Genius (but Simple) Way to Make Nutella Healthier

Eat To Live
Photo: Harper Collins

The cult of Nutella is no longer niche—the chocolate hazelnut spread, which has three times as many Instagram followers as Chipotle (and forty times that of peanut butter mainstay Jif), practically broke the internet when word got out that an official Nutella cafe was coming.

Creamy and delicious, yes. Healthy? Er, not so much. As you can probably guess, it's full of sugar—21 grams per serving, to be exact. The fact that it's also loaded with controversial palm oil doesn't boost its wellness bona fides.

So what's a Nutella-loving girl trying to limit her sugar intake to do? Behold: nutri-tella, a healthier take on the original that's just as spoon-licking worthy. The recipe was perfected by Nutritional Research Foundation president and best-selling author Joel Fuhrman, M.D. "

The ingredient list—featured in his new book, Eat To Liveis packed with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry: hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla, and—the game changer—coconut water for the base. "[It] adds a nice, creamy sweetness," Dr. Fuhrman says.

While your first thought may be to spread this alt-'tella on a slice of grain-free toast, he offers up another way to enjoy it: "It's a great dip for raw greens, like cucumbers, celery, or green apples. You can also toss it in a salad with shredded Boston or bib lettuce." Or you can just, you know, just eat it by the spoonful.

So, why take on a dessert spreadable that's so beloved? "My goal is to remove obstacles to healthful eating to save people’s lives," Dr. Fuhrman explains. "What we eat is the largest factor shaping our health destiny, and modern nutritional science has shown we can literally wipe out heart disease, strokes, and dementia—and save millions of lives from cancers—if people just ate much higher amounts of natural plant foods." When it tastes this good, it's hard to argue with him.

Here's how to make your own nutri-tella, courtesy of Dr. Joel Fuhrman.


Yields 8 servings 

1 cup raw hazelnuts
2–3 medjool dates or 4–6 regular dates, pitted
2 1/2 Tbsp natural cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut water or more as needed to facilitate blending

1. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until the consistency of hazelnut meal.

2. Transfer the processed nuts to a high-powered blender and add the dates, cocoa powder, ground chia seeds, vanilla, and just enough coconut water so that the mixture moves.

3. Blend at high speed until smooth and fluffy.

4. Refrigerate for several hours to thicken.

Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. You can find more mouthwatering must-try ideas from the Recipe of the Week archive.

If you're looking for other low-sugar recipes, these desserts will hit the spot. Or, try making ketogenic fat bombs.

Reprinted from Eat To Live Quick & Easy Cookbook by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Copyright 2017.

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