I Can’t Believe It’s Healthy Hot Chocolate


My niece, Laina, sent me an email telling me that storm “Nemo” has her trapped in her Boston apartment. I feel for her. Although I was born, raised and currently live in California, I did a 1-year psychotherapy internship in Burlington, Vermont – so I know winter storms. You don’t want to do anything but curl up by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

Or, if you’re a chocoholic like me, you don’t need the excuse of a winter storm to drink cocoa. Despite the fact that I went walking barefoot on the beach this morning, I’m having a cup right now. It’s sweet, rich and frothy as if it were made by my favorite barista at Kean Coffee. Yum! And it’s an indulgence I feel good about because it’s healthy.

Yes, healthy. This may sound like an oxymoron, but hear me out. Chocolate, in its pure form, is good for you. Science Daily has documented at least 66 studies that show that it promotes heart health. Of course, you negate these bennies when you make it with full fat milk and loads of sugar. So, don’t go there! The way I make it is 100% organic, vegan, wholesome, sugar-free and ultra skinny at only 190 calories.

It’s funny to me that Laina inspired me to share my I Can’t Believe It’s Healthy Hot Chocolate recipe because she’ll probably never make it. When I did lunch with her on my last Boston trip I told her about my plant-based diet and she thought I’d turned into a wacky health nut. Oh, who am I kidding? If I met anyone who ate the way I do before I started eating this way last year, I would have thought they were crazy too.

Maybe I am crazy, but so what. As long as I can indulge in chocolate – I’m good!

I Can’t Believe It’s Healthy Hot Chocolate

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 2 teaspoons of unsweetened organic cocoa powder
  • 11/2 cups almond milk (I use 365 Organic Almond Milk)
  • 2 (or up to 4 if you like things sweet) pitted jumbo Medjool dates
  • ½ teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon


Put all ingredients in a high powered blender (like a Vitamix) and blend on high for 45 seconds. If you’re using a Vitamix, it will heat the cocoa while it’s blending, so just pour it into a mug and enjoy. If you like very hot drinks, however; heat your cocoa in a pot on the stove for another minute or so.

If you don’t have a Vitamix

I’ve tried this recipe in a regular blender, and it doesn’t turn out well because the dates only blend into tiny chunks instead of turning to liquid. If you still want to try the recipe, I recommend that you soak the dates in water for half an hour before making your cocoa.

Image courtesy of Skinnyms.

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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60 Responses to I Can’t Believe It’s Healthy Hot Chocolate

  1. Thank you for the lovely comment, look forward to reading more of your posts, that hot chocolate sounds gorgeous, can’t wait to try it.

  2. looks perfect, just made some RAW! Chocolate Torte that is No Added Fat or Sugar, Gluten Free and Vegan, love it all!

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ll try it, think I’ll use lucuma as dates upset my stomach



  3. Haven’t added that recipe yet, as it needs to be photographed, but it was very good 🙂
    I shall sort it out soon


  4. Yea! I look forward to that recipe.

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  6. Sounds yummy! 😀 winters coming up, so it’ll be exciting to try and maybe adapt 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on Honk If You're Vegan and commented:

    It’s probably not a thing to reblog your own posts, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m reblogging my hot chocolate recipe because it’s been cold and overcast where I live the past few days. This might seem strange since it’s June and I live in California, but it’s not. Coastal California gets cold and gloomy for the months of May and June. It’s almost a fifth season that we affectionately refer to as May Gray/ June Gloom. The gloomy weather gets me down, but hot chocolate always cheers me up. I know that most of my readers don’t go back in my archives to see my early posts, so I wanted to reblog my hot chocolate recipe for anyone else out there that might need a warm chocolate pick-me-up.

  8. I am being tortured looking at this. But ONLY because I’m at work!! I can’t wait to get home and make some and drink it up. Thank you, Celeste! Is the photo yours?

    • Hi Deborah! If I could, I’d come to your work to make you some. Hey, that’s an idea. Maybe I should start a healthy drink cart.

      The photo is not mine. Despite my class, food photography continues to be a challenge for me. I’ll keep working at it and I know I’ll improve. I promise, however; that my hot chocolate tastes as good as the photo looks. It’s even frothy like a coffee house hot chocolate. Have a wonderful day! Celeste 🙂

  9. debbiec67 says:

    I am totally trying this.

  10. Ally says:

    Well I am glad you re-blogged this post. I haven’t thought to sweeten hot choc with dates. I have some beautiful medjool dates just waiting to jump in the blender with some cacao powder! It is winter here, and hot choc has been my drink of choice for the last week as I continue to cut down on coffee consumption. I’ve been having it unsweetened (ah, a bit bitter) or with a dash of maple syrup. The cinnamon sounds fab.
    This may be my ‘new’ drink!
    Thanks Celeste.
    I was also interested to read about the ‘5th season’.

    • This was the first vegan recipe I created Ally. I did it because when I first went vegan I also gave up sugar and coffee (I’ve since backslid a bit on those two). This was my go-to sweet treat – it’s really good. I hope you like it and that it becomes your ‘new’ drink. Celeste 🙂

  11. Cassie Hutchinson says:

    Mmmm….looks yummy I would have to try this sometime. Thanks for sharing!

  12. liveblissful says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe when I get my new vitamix 🙂

    • Yea – you got a Vitamix! You’re going to love it. I honestly don’t know what I would do without mine. And please do try this recipe – it’s so yummy!! Celeste 🙂

  13. I live in New Zealand where it’s currently winter and absolutely freezing. Couldn’t have come across your lovely recipe at a better time!

  14. Sophie33 says:

    I can relate to you & the weather that you are having. Summer is here but the last few days, we have been having a lot of rain & the temperature has been dropped to only 13°C instead of 23 to 30°C! I also repost sometimes a post! There is nothing wrong with that! 😉 x Your home-made hot chocolate is a really good one! I am drinking one right now! x

  15. gwynnem says:

    This is going on my winter drink list. Thank you!

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  17. This sounds AMAZING! And perfect for London’s grey Autumn weather. Thank you for sharing. I sadly don’t have a Vitamix – may need to add that to my Christmas wish list!

    • Thanks for your comment!! And I’m not working for Vitamix, but I have to tell you that it’s the one kitchen gadget that I can’t live without. I don’t think a day’s gone by that I haven’t used it since I got it. It just works soooo much better than a regular blender. You can get a refurbished one for a little cheaper on the Vitamix website. That’s what I did, and it seemed like it was new when I got it. I hope your Christmas wish comes true!! Celeste 🙂

  18. Geraldine says:

    Great minds! I just picked up a container of organic cocoa drink mix at our food coop yesterday, but put it back down when I saw (as suspected) that it was full of sugar (first ingredient) 😦 Thanks for the recipe Celeste. Now I want one of the Vitamix blenders, what a great idea about the heat! 🙂

    • I tried to make this recipe in a regular blender, but it didn’t work (it left little chunks of dates – yuck!). With the Vitamix, however; it turns out amazing! I love my Vitamix. It’s the one kitchen gadget that I honestly don’t think I could live without. You can get a used one on the Vitamix website for a bit cheaper (that’s what I got). Thanks so much for reading and for your support Geraldine!

  19. Dates are just so yummy!
    You know, I make banana/pineapple/walnut smoothies and the blender never completely pulverizes the walnuts. Somehow, I like needing to chew every few sips, though. I wonder if the same would hold true for dates in hot chocolate? Hmmm…

  20. deliciouslynell says:

    Nothing is better than knowing the hot chocolate is good for you! :3

  21. Melissa says:

    This was tasty! I used my vitamix, added an extra tsp of cocoa and 4 dates. Heated up on the stove for a minute or two and it was delightful. My son said it tasted like it had marshmallows in it because it was so foamy. Thumbs up! Thanks!

    • I’m so glad you liked this Melissa!! I’m glad you’ve got a Vitamix, because it just isn’t the same without it. And your son liked it too – so cool!! Have a great weekend chica! Celeste 🙂

  22. Carrie says:

    I just made this with soy milk since I didn’t have any almond milk on hand – delish!

  23. Thanks for visiting my blog! I would really love to learn how to make appropriate meat subs. I have celiacs and an aversion to soy, which makes vegan so hard; would love advice…blessings

    • I’m not a big fan of soy either! I do eat it on occasion, but mostly in desserts. If you’ve never tasted pies or puddings using Silken tofu, I bet you’d be amazed at how delicious they are. I served a chocolate mousse pie made with tofu for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! You’d never know you were eating tofu if no one told you it was in the pie.

      That being said, I rarely use tofu for main meals. Most of the meals I make center around grains, beans and veggies. For example, I make a lot of “bowl” meals. This just means that I cook a grain and top it with seasoned cooked beans, veggies, nuts and seeds, a delicious sauce (like almond butter mixed with Braggs’ Liquid Aminos and a little mustard). I usually add some chopped avocado and sometimes sauerkraut or olives. This is just an easy go-to recipe I make when I don’t feel like cooking.

      There are also a lot of gluten free pastas. You can make a meal out of these by adding beans, veggies and a great sauce. Another quick and easy dinner that doesn’t get complaints from anyone.

      You can also get gluten free pizza dough and top it in so many ways to make a filling meal. Here are a couple of my go-to pizza recipes:

      Since you asked about “meat substitutes”, I don’t know if I’m answering your question in the way you want. I guess that I just rarely use actual meat substitutes. I do occasionally make coconut bacon (it’s gluten free). Here’s a recipe: http://vegangoodthings.blogspot.com/2010/08/by-popular-demand-coconut-bacon.html
      Or you can buy Phony Baloney’s coconut bacon (also gluten free): http://www.phoneybaloneys.com/bacon/

      Feel free to ask other questions and have a lovely week!

      Celeste 🙂

      • Oh, this is great! thanks… for soy, I just can’t digest it. many use soy products like patties, or tofu in stir frying or as ‘pretend’ scrambled eggs’ etc. I will keep watching you blog!

  24. Great post! I am also a choc-a-holic, eat healthy chocolate daily and love the feel of this recipe. I must try the dates. So far I have used raw honey to sweeten, and then did not heat the hot chocolate more than 38 degrees Celsius, so all the good stuff from the raw cocoa and the raw honey is retained. But I will surely try dats instead, just need a better blender, it seems!

    • Thanks so much for reading and for following – I appreciate it! I hope you try this recipe soon, it’s SO yummy! This recipe might work with a regular blender if you soaked the dates for a long time. The reason I never had success with a regular blender might have been because I was impatient and didn’t give the dates enough time to soak. Then again, maybe not, I really don’t know. Have a lovely day and happy holidays! Celeste 🙂

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  26. simpleintn says:

    Thank you for liking my post today. I’m going to have to try this recipe…I have a vitamix AND some dates!

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  28. gg says:

    II got a Vitamix for Christmas and can’t wait to try this recipe. Where do you buy your unsweetened organic cocoa powder and what brand is it?

    • What an awesome Christmas gift!!!! You’re gonna love your Vitamix. I use mine almost everyday. I hope you love this recipe too, it’s my go to sweet treat that keeps me from indulging in coconut milk ice cream (most of the time anyway).

      As far as cocoa powder, I typically use Rapunzel or Equal Exchange Organic Baking Cocoa. Both brands are organic and fair trade and seem of equal quality. I get mine at either Whole Foods Market or Sprouts. If you can’t find either of these or another good quality cocoa powder, here’s links for the brands I use. http://newleafchocolates.com/Rapunzel-Organic-Cocoa-RP001.htm

      Thanks so much for reading and have fun with your Vitamix! Celeste 🙂

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