We’re doing a special edition of “favorite things” today and talking about something sweet, because we need it! I’m sharing two amazing recipes, a chocolate bark and a dark chocolate truffle, featuring the cacao superfood and other healthy ingredients from Navitas Naturals. Both bites are super easy and something you can whip up at home to impress your friends or please your own palate.
I think the term “superfoods” sometimes scares people away. But superfoods are incredibly beneficial. They are nutrient dense (more so than other foods), they do good things for your body and mind, and believe it or not – they are tasty. While there’s no official designation for what falls into superfoods legally, some of the agreed-upon standouts are acai, goji, cacao, maca and more. (Some people even say salmon, spinach, kale and blueberries can be superfoods too, because of the important antioxidants, vitamins and minerals involved that help support so many processes for a healthy body.)
Last week, I had the awesome opportunity to attend an event all about superfoods hosted by the Navitas Naturals company and natural foods Chef Julie Morris, the Navitas executive chef, at Cookhouse in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. I’ve been to a couple of events at this unique spot before, and it’s the perfect environment for chatting, learning and of course, cooking. Needless to say, talking about and eating healthy food was super enjoyable, and I even met some new blogger friends.
Background on Navitas Naturals
Not only was the Navitas Naturals founder and CEO, Zach Adelman, there to speak to us, but so were other members of the team, who were all super sweet and super committed to sharing their love of superfoods (too many uses of the word super?).
For a little background on Navitas –- it’s a fair trade company specializing in organic food. And because Navitas Naturals sources foods from all over the world, the fair trade title is important to ensure workers who harvest the crops are treated properly. The company is based in Northern California, and the founder had the idea for the company as he traveled the world and experienced amazing foods. He wanted to bring those healthy items back to his home, and thus, Navitas Naturals was born.
Back to the event … we spent time nibbling on some tasty appetizers, prepared by Chef Julie (who is seriously the cutest and who I want to be my personal chef and/or BFF), then tried our hands at creating two delicious recipes. And I’m super excited to share them with you today, with permission from the Navitas Naturals folks and Navitas Naturals Executive Chef Julie Morris herself.
The benefits of superfood “Cacao”
The base of both these recipes is cacao, not cocoa. It’s actually pronounced “cu-COW,” and it’s the unprocessed version of chocolate. And it’s SUPER good for you. Cacao is one of the highest sources of magnesium (which is a mineral that can improve your sleep and promote cardiovascular health, as well as many other things), has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries, contains iron, calcium and is known to raise your mood through serotonin. Cacao leaves you feeling energized, and it tastes good. Chef Julie says that basically anytime a recipe calls for chocolate, you can swap it out for cacao.
By the way, these recipes come from Julie’s book “Superfood Snacks,” which I highly recommend! (Christmas gift to your favorite foodie, perhaps?) And check out Navitas Naturals for all the ingredients you need, then get in the kitchen!
Basic Superfood Chocolate Bark
Makes 4.4 ounces
- 1/3 cup solid cacao butter, chopped into shavings
- 5 tablespoons cacao powder
- Dash of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
- (Add any toppings you want, like chia seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds, golden berries and more)
- Heat a small saucepan over very low heat. Add the cacao butter and stir to slowly melt it into a liquid.
- The moment the shavings have melted in the saucepan, remove it from the heat.
- Add the cacao powder and salt to the mixture and use a whisk to thoroughly mix it.
- Whisk in the agave nectar.
- Then pour the mixture onto a ceramic plate. Top it with whatever you want (like seeds and berries mentioned above) and throw it in the freezer.
- Let it stay in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then take it out and use a soft knife to peel it off the plate and break into bark pieces.
- Bark can be kept at room temperature or in the fridge.
I mean, could that be any easier? I did it, that’s how easy it was. And like SO good. I ate my entire box of bark that I brought home with me within three days, but I did let Dave have some, and he was a fan too!
Dark Chocolate Orange Truffles
Makes 20 truffles
- 2/3 cup cacao powder
- 2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 9-10)
- 2 tablespoons orange zest, divided (this just means tiny little shavings)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 cup cup coconut oil
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (which Chef Julie says you can use in place of sugar in any recipe to kick it up a notch)
- Use a food processor to mix together all the ingredients, except the coconut sugar and 1 tablespoon of the orange zest, into a smooth dough. (If you don’t have a food processor, you could attempt this in your high-powdered blender, but Julie doesn’t think it will work very well.)
- In a separate bowl, mix the coconut sugar and remaining orange zest to form an orange-flavored sugar.
- To make the truffles, remove the “dough” from the processor and roll into a small amount, about 1 tablespoon at a time, into a ball. (This is the fun part!)
- Then lightly dab the ball into the sugar mixture, and here you can also add any other superfood powders you want to the ball. I went with acai powder and maca powder. Get creative! The more, the merrier!
- Transfer the ball to a serving plate, and repeat the process to make the rest of the truffles.
- Cover the plate and place the truffles in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes or until you are ready to eat them. Serve chilled.
- For long-term, keep the truffles in the fridge in an airtight container for up to six weeks. But you won’t need to worry about that, because you’ll want to eat them instantly.
Let’s talk a minute about these dark chocolate truffles. While I loved the bark, I was seriously obsessed with these. If only I had a food processor, I’d be making these a weekly thing. So good! And because they are full of healthy cacao and coconut oil, they give you a serious boost of sustainable energy, as well as a decadent taste. Can’t get enough! Just do it!
How you can get started eating superfoods
If you’ve never eaten any type of superfood before, start small. Here are a few ways to begin incorporating superfoods into your diet …
- Add a scoop of chia seeds into your morning yogurt or granola.
- Sprinkle hemp seeds onto the top of fresh guacamole dip for a party.
- Mix some pomegranate powder into a fruity dessert.
- Throw a handful of goji berries into your trail mix.
- Put a tablespoon of acai powder into your post-workout smoothie.
It’s not scary, and if anything, the taste of your food will totally improve!Try these healthy and easy #superfood #cacao recipes from @apstyle @navitasnaturals @greenjules ... Click To Tweet
Of course, thanks going out to Navitas, for allowing me to share these awesome recipes and thanks to Chef Julie and her book, for the great inspirations! You can find Navitas Naturals products all over, even in Target. So keep your eyes out for these delicious superfoods, and eat right, folks!
Favorite recent reads
Did you miss the latest on A Lady Goes West?
- Favorite things, Peanut butter giveaway, Poshmark service, chocolate and good reads (Congrats to the winner of the PB giveaway, Laura R.)
- Bay Area restaurant eating, weekend stories and my weekly workouts
Read more Favorite things
P.S. There are affiliate links in this post. This post is not sponsored. While I was given free product, I’m sharing these recipes and information about the company because I want to! Who wouldn’t want to know about these tasty bites?
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite sweet recipe?
What are you up to this weekend?