Whether you enjoy it for breakfast or dessert, you're sure to love this antioxidant- and protein-rich Chocolate Smoothie Bowl. Creamy, chocolatey, and downright decadent, this frozen bowl of vegan goodness is as healthy as it is delicious.
I have been on a serious smoothie bowl kick lately. (In fact, I have a whole post on how to make smoothie bowls out of your favorite fruits!)
I don't know about you, but when it is hot and sticky outside all I crave are cold things. That said, I don't want to get all of my nutrition through a straw! That's where the genius of this chocolate smoothie bowl comes into play.
This chocolatey bowl is basically an interpretation of "nice cream," that trendy healthy dessert made from blitzing fruit to the consistency of soft serve. I take it one step further and pile on all the goodies my heart desires. It's like having a Pinkberry right in your own kitchen!
This easy treat is fun to make and tasty to eat, plus it is totally adaptable to whatever toppings you happen to have on hand.
Oh, and don't think that this yummy chocolate smoothie bowl is just for breakfast. While I absolutely adore starting my day with chocolate - and really, who doesn't?!? - this bowl can be enjoyed in myriad situations.
You could enjoy this smoothie bowl:
- at breakfast
- as an after-workout meal
- for lunch on a hot day
- as a mid-afternoon snack (so you're not reaching for something unhealthy)
- for dessert when you want something sweet, but also want to make a healthier choice than ice cream
What's in this smoothie bowl?
This simple frozen anytime treat is made with a short list of easy-to-find ingredients.
- Non-Dairy Milk: any will do. I've used almond, soy macadamia nut, hemp, coconut, and oat milk. All have yielded delicious results.
- Frozen Berries: feel free to use a mix, or stick to your particular favorite. I like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
- Frozen Banana: the staple fruit of the "nice cream" revolution, the banana makes the bowl dreamy and convincingly ice-creamy.
- Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder: this adds protein and some chocolate flavor. There are many different kinds of plant-based protein powder, so feel free to use the one that works for you.
- Unsweetened Cocoa or Cacao Powder: This adds even more chocolatey goodness, not to mention a nice little antioxidant boost!
- Vanilla Extract: while this is optional, I love the depth of flavor that vanilla adds to desserts. It somehow makes this chocolate smoothie bowl taste more like chocolate, which is exactly what I'm after.
- Toppings: you can really go nuts here and turn this into the masterpiece of your dreams! Add whatever you like such as fruit (fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried), granola, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, or almond butter.
How to Make a Chocolate Smoothie Bowl
Once you try making this healthy dessert, you won't look back. It's so dang easy!
Step 1: Blend. Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until creamy and uniform.
Step 2: Add Toppings. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with all your favorite ingredients. That's it. How easy was that?!?
Are Smoothie Bowls Healthy?
I'm here to present everyone's favorite answer to hate: it depends. While this vegan smoothie bowl is healthy as can be, many recipes have lots of added sugar and dairy. Not so with this tasty treat.
Here are some of the health benefits you can expect from my chocolate protein smoothie bowl recipe:
- Blueberries are a good source of anthocyanins (a blue, violet, or red flavonoid pigment found in plants) that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- If you're using raw cacao powder, you're adding in more beneficial antioxidants and flavanols - so that's a double breakfast win!
- Vegan chocolate protein powder adds both protein and some chocolatey goodness (because let's face it, having chocolate for breakfast is fun). NOTE: I chose to use this protein powder because its contains only a few ingredients. (Generally speaking, the fewer the ingredients, the better when it comes to packaged foods). It's one of the only protein powders that doesn't upset my stomach.
Want to up the healthiness of this bowl? Try adding:
- A handful or two of spinach or baby kale
- Frozen slices of zucchini - you won't taste it, I promise!
- Frozen riced cauliflower - again, you won't taste this
Also, beware of your add-ons when building smoothie bowls; the toppings can be a calorie and nutrient trap. I suggest sticking to real, unprocessed foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fruit to avoid any diet pitfalls.
Tips for Customizing
When it comes to smoothie bowls, toppings are where. it's. at. Using your own favorite combination of toppings is the way to go for an extra tasty smoothie bowl.
Adding toppings also helps to make this bowl more of a "meal" than a regular smoothie. As if that weren't enough, these clever add-ins give you the opportunity to switch things up enough so you don't get sick of eating the same thing over and over again.
Wondering just what kind of toppings to reach for? Here's a list to get your imagination going:
- Granola - like my Chocolate Buckwheat Granola or Healthy Vanilla Granola! Muesli is another good option to get whole grains without the crunch of granola.
- Fruit - reach for fresh, frozen or even freeze dried for a bit of crunch. Feel free to use whatever is on hand or in season. I don't think I've met a single fruit that didn't play nicely with chocolate. Berries and bananas will echo the flavors in the "smoothie" part of the bowl, but diced mango, kiwi or peach would also taste pretty great.
- Nut Butter - try peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or any other nut butter you'd like! (You can also reach for sunbutter or tahini if you're nut free).
- Nuts - again, this is a combo that feels impossible to screw up. Try roughly chopped macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews or pecans. NOTE: Roasted nuts will give greater depth of flavor.
- Seeds - Flax, chia or sesame seeds and hemp hearts all come to mind here. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds would also be yummy!
- Coconut Flakes - try both raw and toasted on for size. Raw will give you more of a chewy vibe, while toasted will give you crunch and a nuttier flavor. TIP: Go all out and use coconut milk, raw coconut shreds AND toasted coconut for the smoothie bowl and you're basically making a frozen chocolate macaroon. Just sayin'.
While fast-food America has a somewhat looser definition of what constitutes a smoothie, I'd say it is any drinkable frozen beverage made from a combination of fruits, veggies, and juice, or alternative milk. Drinkable is the keyword here.
Smoothie bowls, on the other hand, should have a consistency that is closer to soft-serve ice cream and you use a spoon to eat them. They're made from the same good stuff as their drinkable siblings but made to be thicker and sturdier. Why, you ask? So you can load them up with toppings, of course!
The thickness of a smoothie/smoothie bowl is all in the ratio of liquid to solid materials. If your smoothie bowl is feeling too thin, toss in some more frozen fruit or ice and re-blend.
Another way to thicken a smoothie bowl is to add some frozen veggies like zucchini or cauliflower. It might sound weird but you can't taste them. PLUS it adds more nutrients to your bowl!
If created with whole fruits, veggies, grains and the like, then they certainly can be. If you're feeling extra hungry and want to bulk up your bowl, just be sure to reach for real, whole foods.
Also, be aware that nuts, seeds and their butters generally have a lot more caloric density than other options, like fruit or greens. Be sure to measure your portion sizes so you can keep on target.
Other Healthy Breakfast Recipes
- Vegan Yogurt Parfait Layers of dairy-free yogurt, chia jam, and refined sugar-free granola make for brunchy vibes that you can even achieve mid-week. This parfait is parfait!
- Blueberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats - These Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Oats are tart, sweet, and creamy all at the same time. Oh, and they're make ahead, too. You're welcome, future you!
- Easy Tofu Scramble - If you’re looking for a healthy vegan breakfast for weight loss, this easy tofu scramble is the way to go! Completely customizable, simple to make and perfect for meal prep, this tasty breakfast takes just 10 minutes and will keep you full till lunchtime.
- Almond Joy Oatmeal - Want more dessert for breakfast? I don't blame you! These fiber packed oats are flavored with chocolate and coconut for a healthy twist on your favorite candy bar.
If you tried this yummy recipe for my Vegan Chocolate Smoothie Bowl, please rate and review it below!
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Chocolate Smoothie Bowl
- Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You can add a little extra milk in if you need.
- Pour into large bowl and add any toppings you like.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident in creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy gluten-free plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.