Healthy nutella – sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too, until Josh and I made a homemade version after our long run this weekend . Made with roasted hazelnuts, soaked dates, cocoa powder, and coconut milk this spread is simple and satisfying. Already a new staple in our house.
After taking a winter hiatus from any real training (too cold, too icy, too dark… reasonable excuses), Josh and I are back, running our usual Sunday route along South Boston Harbor Walk. This weekend was sunny and windless; for the first time in months I was happy to be outside. With harder training comes the glorious need for more food and this healthy nutella is the ideal post-workout fuel (or snack, dessert, or… breakfast).
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// Is store bought nutella healthy? Not really. The first ingredient in store bought nutella is sugar, followed by palm oil, which the production of usually involves tropical deforestation. Hazelnuts and cocoa are the third and fourth ingredients, followed by a slew of questionable ones: skim milk, reduced minerals (whey), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor. Hazelnuts and cocoa are the only two ingredients I trust here, which I why I made my own.
Is this version of nutella healthy? Absolutely. Dates, chock full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, are used to sweeten this nutella. No palm oil – or any sort of oil – is necessary here as the hazelnuts have natural oil, a great source of healthy fat. Hazelnuts are also high in folate, magnesium, vitamin E and B vitamins. Instead of skim milk and strange “reduced minerals,” this nutella uses simple coconut milk. And rather than artificial vanilla flavor, this version is made with real vanilla extract.//
This nutella is perfect to spread on toast, add to oatmeal, dip a banana in or throw into a smoothie.
- 2 cups raw hazelnuts
- 20 dried dates, soaked overnight, soaking liquid reserved
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut milk (I used easy semi-homemade coconut milk)
- ¼ cup reserved date liquid
- stevia to taste (optional)
- Roast hazelnuts in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn. They should be fragrant and golden brown.
- Pour the nuts into a kitchen towel, let cool slightly and then massage the hazelnuts in the towel so the skin flakes off (not all the skin will come off, and that's ok).
- Add the skinned nuts to a food processor and process until they become a smooth butter, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until smooth.
- Add a couple drops of pure stevia, if a sweeter spread is desired.
- OPTIONAL: For an extra smooth spread, transfer mixture to a Vitamix and blend until desired consistency is reached.