Decadent Black Cherry Chocolate Raw Vegan Protein Smoothie
The black cherry chocolate smoothie. Thick, creamy, chocolaty with the perfect balance of deep dark cherries. Swoon! I don’t know what to say about this smoothie recipe other than I love it a little too much. It’s bold. It’s romantic. It supports your body in becoming a powerful plant-built athletic machine. What could be better?
Inspired by the inherently delicious banana/cherry combo, I took the idea further and developed it into a nutritional powerhouse boasting 58 grams of clean raw vegan plant protein. This makes it not only delicious as a dessert-like shake, but also packed with protein to support growth of muscles, hair, and nails. This raw food recipe makes an entire blender full of smoothie, so it could very well last you all day or comprise two meals depending on your hunger and activity level.
I went vegan at age 14 and have tried many plant-based protein powders over the years. Sunwarrior’s raw vegan protein powders are a great fit for me, since they not only taste great but also digest easily with no side effects or unpleasant textures. In fact, I find that blending Sunwarrior protein powder with frozen fruit, especially bananas, gives my smoothies a rich texture reminiscent of cold creamy milkshakes on a hot summer day. Yum. Only, unlike dairy-based milkshakes, raw vegan smoothies support my body’s best health.
If you lead an active, athletic lifestyle your protein needs are a little higher than average. While the focus of a healthy vegan lifestyle should be abundant fruits and vegetables, addition of a high-quality raw vegan protein powder can provide a nice boost or an insurance policy to ensure you are getting enough of this important macronutrient in your diet. I run, lift weights, do pilates, spin, and hike. Fruits and vegetables supply me with the vast majority of my nutritional needs but on occasion I find that including a little extra protein helps my muscles recover more quickly from strenuous workouts and long-distance runs.
Don’t like the idea of using raw vegan protein powder? That is OK! Simply omit it from this recipe and use 1-2 teaspoons of raw cacao powder and add 4-5 pitted dates for increased sweetness. Not everyone believes in using protein powders. There is some level of personal experimentation you will wind up doing on a raw food diet. At the end of the day, you need to pay careful attention to your body and your overall health. Do what works for you!
This recipe also contains nearly 65% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, which supports the immune system, faster recovery from workouts, and healthy collagen production.
Now let’s talk about maca for a minute. Maca is a unique ingredient in this recipe that I hadn’t heard of until going raw. It’s basically a powdered root known for its libido-boosting properties as well as its power to balance hormones while elevating mood and energy. I make no promises about its therapeutic effects; I’m simply relaying common information. You will need to check out maca for yourself. Health benefits aside, maca simply tastes great with chocolate making it an ideal component of this recipe. I would not advise anyone to go overboard with maca straight out of the gate. This is why I only included two teaspoons in the recipe. Give yourself time to feel its effects, if any. Some people feel nothing on maca and simply enjoy its earthy sweet flavor in raw food recipes.
Now go make your smoothie and come tell me how you liked it!
Tips & Tricks:
1. Keep bags of frozen fruit handy so that you always have smoothie ingredients in your home. You can also freeze banana chunks in advance.
2. Store your smoothies in glass jars with plastic lids for maximum freshness and convenience.
3. If you like, you can quickly turn this into a green smoothie recipe by adding your favorite greens. Spinach would work well, if you so choose.
4. When selecting bananas, look for freckles! Freckles are your friends, signifying that the banana’s natural sugars are well-developed and the fruit is ready to eat as well as easiest to digest. The lighter your digestive burden, the more energy your body has for other tasks. Try to avoid bananas that still have green tops. Compare in the photo below.
Raw Vegan Black Cherry Chocolate Protein Smoothie
2.5 cups of frozen dark cherries
2 small bananas, fresh or frozen
2 tsp maca powder
2-3 cups of water or as needed to achieve milkshake consistency
*If you choose to omit protein powder, simply use a combination of 1-2 teaspoons of raw cacao powder and 4-5 pitted dates. You could also use 1/4 cup of raw cacao nibs, but be aware that they can make your smoothie have tiny crunchy bits in it, which I actually enjoy!
Blend all ingredients in your favorite high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy immediately!
Yours in delicious heath,