Nutella has been gaining in popularity. Unfortunately, its first ingredient is sugar. It contains artificial flavor, too. Yuck! There are several knockoffs of it now available—some made with “real” ingredients and healthier fats. My favorite is Nocciolata; but it’s rather rich to be eaten regularly. So I decided there needs to be another option—and I didn’t want to wait around for a food company to manufacture it. Here’s my result. I based it on hummus!
Hummus is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, garlic, and salt. So I took that concept and kept the chickpeas and a little salt, but used nut butter instead of tahini and balsamic vinegar as the acid of choice. Don’t worry, I didn’t keep the garlic. Rather, I added all of the fun stuff to transform it into dessert—bananas, cocoa powder, raspberry jam, vanilla extract, almond milk, and dark chocolate. I tossed a pinch of cayenne into the mix for an extra kick in the palate, too. Feel free to play around with ingredient amounts to make a version that suits your tastebuds best. If you want a nuttier taste, add a few drops of pure hazelnut or almond extract.
You can serve this just like you might Nutella. Though I prefer to enjoy it more like hummus since it is bean based, not sugar centered. My favorite pairing is fresh strawberries. When you can’t find seasonal, locally grown berries, know that Florida has us covered right now; their strawberries are seasonal from December through April. And California takes care of us most of the year! Dunking them into this dessert hummus is kind of like eating chocolate-covered strawberries … but better for you!
Calories saved: 140
Why it’s better for you? It’s based on beans!
- 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium fully-ripened (brown spotted) bananas
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons fruit-sweetened seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon no-salt-added creamy hazelnut, almond, or peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk beverage
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips (2 oz.)
- Add the chickpeas, bananas, cocoa powder, jam, nut butter, vinegar, vanilla extract, salt, and cayenne to a food processor or powerful blender. (Hint: If you’re a milk chocolate fan, use less cocoa; if you're an extra-dark chocolate fan, use more cocoa.) Cover and pulse several times.
- In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk to a simmer over medium heat. (Hint: Do not boil). Add the chocolate, remove from the heat, and whisk until the chocolate is fully melted.
- Using a flexible spatula, transfer the chocolate mixture to the chickpea mixture in the food processor. Cover and purée on high speed until velvety smooth, at least 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and chill until ready to serve. (Hint: Mixture thickens to a traditional hummus-like consistency when cool.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Per serving: 60 calories, 2g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 4g sugars, 2g protein
The “Before” Version
Inspired by nutella
Per serving (2 tablespoons): 200 calories, 12g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 21g sugars, 2g protein
- When looking for creaminess in a dessert, try chickpeas or white beans. They’re not just for savory foods.
- Go for sweetness naturally. When possible, pick fruit first, like fresh banana and fruit-sweetened jam.
- Balance tastes. Pair vinegar to sweet food like you might pair wines to food. For instance, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to a chocolate dessert. A pinch of salt helps to cut straight sweetness and brighten up all flavors, too.