Heart-Healthy Chocolate

In it’s straight up cocoa-powder form, chocolate has nutritional value as a provider of dietary fiber, protein and iron. The trouble is that we most often consume chocolate when it’s paired with a large amount of added sugars and saturated fat. This month, we’ve been on a mission to reclaim chocolate for a balanced eating plan. These chocolate recipes all earn three Guiding Stars because they pair this beloved flavor powerhouse with fruit and whole grains for a series of sweet, chocolate treats you can enjoy on a regular basis.

Black Bean Brownies

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

3 Guiding Stars3 The key to keeping this smoothie healthy is to choose a sugar-free yogurt as a base for this frosty concoction of fruit and cocoa. (3 Guiding Stars)

Cocoa-Date Oatmeal

3 Guiding Stars3 Dates are a natural source of sweetness that provide a more nutritious source of flavor for your whole grains, providing fiber and nutrients as a part of their sweet package. (3 Guiding Stars)

Dark Chocolate Dairy-Free Ice Cream

3 Guiding Stars3 The older the banana, the sweeter the “ice cream.” Be sure to process this treat thoroughly for the smoothest, most ice cream-like result. (3 Guiding Stars)

Chocolate Date Snack Bars

3 Guiding Stars3 If you enjoy protein bars, this recipe is a must-try. Cheaper than the store-bought options, these easy bars will save you money and keep you going with the protein and omega-3 content of almond. (3 Guiding Stars)

Chocolate Banana Quinoa Porridge

3 Guiding Stars3 Quinoa is one of the most versatile grains–if you’re looking for a break from oatmeal, try quinoa for breakfast with this cocoa-sweet porridge that’s bound to be a crowd-pleaser. (3 Guiding Stars)

Blueberry Cocoa Smoothie

3 Guiding Stars3 Chocolate and vegetables can play well together, as this greens-packed treasure of a smoothie testifies. (3 Guiding Stars)

Black Bean & Spinach Brownies

3 Guiding StarsBe sure to use baby spinach to keep the greens flavor mild in this dish, and don’t be afraid to add a little kick with cinnamon or cayenne. (3 Guiding Stars)

For more great, star-earning chocolate recipes, be sure to read through February’s archive of Recipe Reviews.