Welcome to another “Ingredient of the Week” post. Today is all about cocoa powder.
Though it sometimes gets a bad rap, there’s a lot to love about chocolate. In recent years, there has been a lot of promising research on the flavanols—antioxidants—in chocolate. They have been linked with improved blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other good effects on heart health. Dark chocolate is thought to be especially beneficial, as its flavanol content is much higher than that of milk chocolate.
Magnesium found in cocoa beans has also been shown to alleviate PMS symptoms like cramps and headaches.
Cocoa powder is one of my favorite ways to get a chocolate fix. It also happens to be one of the easiest. At around 10-15 calories, with a gram of fiber and about 4% of your daily iron needs in one tablespoon, it’s a great addition to all kinds of dishes.
Some of the most common ways I use cocoa powder are in yogurt, banana softserve, date balls and hot chocolate (warm vanilla almond milk +cocoa powder). I also love it in chili. Perhaps where I use it most often, though, is in overnight oats and oatmeal.
Here’s a recipe for my favorite (so far) Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal.
- 1/3 c oats
- 1.5-1.75 cups water
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup raspberries
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese (optional but delicious)
- More berries for garnish (optional)
- Bring water to a boil. Add oats and chia seeds and lower heat. Stir.
- Add cocoa, cinnamon and banana. Stir well. Keep stirring to break up banana pieces.
- When the oats have absorbed almost all the water, add vanilla. Stir and cook another few minutes.
- Add raspberries and cottage cheese and stir for one more minute.
- Pour into a bowl and top with more berries, if desired. You can also add a dusting of cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.