This whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) chocolate cherry smoothie comes to us from Dr. Michael Greger, one of the WFPB movement’s biggest champions. You can learn more about Dr. Greger’s work at his website, nutritionfacts.org, or check out his book, How Not to Die.
To begin with, I would never have expected this combination to be so dazzling to the taste buds. But it is! So are you ready to take a whole food, plant-based, antioxidant-packed leap of faith with Dr. Greger’s Chocolate Cherry Smoothie?
Cool! Then grab your blender and let’s get started.
Ingredients for Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Frozen dark sweet cherries
First, we need to begin with the cherries. How much to pour in? For one twelve-ounce smoothie, I use about one cup of frozen cherries.
Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
The second ingredient you will need is cocoa powder. What you should know is that Dutch process cocoa has a milder flavor than regular cocoa though you can certainly use regular American process cocoa. My first choice is Hershey’s Special Dark Baking Cocoa or any other dutch process cocoa, and Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa as a second choice. I would start with a tablespoon because cocoa powder packs a big punch, but you can certainly add more later if you want a stronger chocolate flavor.
Third, use one tablespoon of date sugar. You may have never heard of date sugar, but you will find it in the natural foods section of your supermarket. It has a pale brown color and is slightly grainy. In terms of flavor, it is mildly sweet with butterscotch notes. In contrast to refined sugar, date sugar is a whole food made of dried, pulverized dates.
You can use date sugar in cooking and baking as a substitute for refined table sugar in a one to one ratio (one part date sugar for one part refined granulated sugar). However, you should know that the final product will taste less sweet. You can buy it in shaker canisters or in small bags. I don’t recommend it as a coffee sweetener though because the grains do not dissolve and they act as a thickener. Of course, as an Oregon native, I like to buy Bob’s Red Mill Date Sugar out of Milwaukee, Oregon.
Ground flax seeds
Fourth ingredient: don’t pass up the opportunity to get ground flax seed into your day, so toss in a teaspoon.
Unsweetened plant-based milk
Fifth is our plant-based milk, so pour in one cup. You can use any kind of plant-based milk, but just make sure it’s unsweetened. It could be soy, almond, cashew, rice or any other kind. If you’re unsure whether it is unsweetened, look at the ingredient list on the side of the carton and make sure it doesn’t have ingredients like cane syrup or other sugary syrups. I used unsweetened soy milk in the smoothie you see in the photos because it has a more neutral taste in recipes than my usual unsweetened almond milk.
Give it a whirl
Once you’ve got everything in the blender, put on the lid and give it a whirl. If it’s still so thick that the ingredients won’t turn and mix, stop the blender and add another tiny splash of plant-based milk and scrape down the ingredients from the inside of the blender with a rubber or silicone spatula, then blend again.
Due to both the cocoa powder and the cherries, your smoothie will be a deep reddish-brown color with amazing depth of flavor that comes with a huge antioxidant bonus.
Cocoa & cherry smoothie love
This whole food, plant-based smoothie will not let you down, and may even come to be your new favorite. The best part is it will satisfy your chocolate milkshake craving without processed sugar or dairy!
Are you ready for more?
Now that you’ve mastered the art of the Chocolate Cherry Smoothie, and you’re ready to take your knowledge of the whole foods, plant-based diet to the next level, run, don’t walk, over to Dr. Greger’s website nutritionfacts.org. Every year Dr. Greger and his team of researchers read through every English-language nutrition journal article so busy folks like us don’t have to. You’ll be binge-watching his witty and informative plant-based nutrition videos in no time.
To really deepen your understanding of how food impacts health, check out Dr. Greger’s book, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, and the companion The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease.
Finally, please take a look at my list of Resources, containing some of the very best whole foods, plant-based books, cookbooks and films.