Beyond Brownies: Cooking with Chocolate

Chocolate can be a healthy food, yet sometimes it can be a challenge to find healthy options that are actually tasty. Still, healthy chocolate doesn’t mean using recipes that call for 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar.

The good news is that you can be really creative in incorporating chocolate into healthier recipes. Chocolate is an ingredient that plays well with others, complementing many flavors. It doesn’t always have to be the star of the show to be a good addition to a recipe!

Savory Recipes

One of the better-known savory dishes to incorporate chocolate is Mexican mole, which has many variations. This Cincinnati chili, for example, uses an ounce of unsweetened chocolate among its many spices.

Less conventional dishes might include items like cocoa spiced salmon (containing cocoa powder blended with dry mustard, cinnamon, and paprika) or coca nib and spiced lamb sausage pizza (with a healthy dose of raw cacao nibs and chocolate dough). As colder weather approaches, you may enjoy chocolate and port beef stew.

Even Jacque Torres, Mr. Chocolate himself, occasionally departs from the world of decadent deserts to bring us unique creations like savory chocolate Napoleon, combining bittersweet chocolate with chives and paprika.

In Restaurants

There is an ever-increasing market for chocolate-specialty businesses, and restaurants are starting to get in on the action. Co Co. Sala restaurant in D.C. sneaks chocolate into many unexpected menu items. Check out the website for photos and descriptions beef tenderloin with gruyere and crushed cocoa bean crust (served in a chocolate shiraz reduction), pan-seared scallops with cocoa nib crust and maple citrus glaze, and more.

Dessert Cravings

You may think you need to have that chocolate cupcake nicknamed “the coma” from that bakery in Philly, but trust me, you probably don’t. You can whip up healthier desserts without compromising much on taste, especially if you have an open mind.

Sweets like tofu-based chocolate mousse and chocolate avocado pudding might sound a little strange, but enthusiasts swear you only taste the chocolate. Raw food guru David Wolfe adds cacao nibs to cashews and strawberries for a quick smoothie. Of course, if you simply can’t move beyond brownies (and are feeling adventurous!), you could always experiment with black bean brownies.

The possibilities, it seems, are endless. What healthier chocolate concoctions do you love (or hate)? Let us know what you’re cooking up!

Post written by: Rebecca Dobrzynski