In our lifetimes, we have met very few people who don't absolutely love Nutella. There is just something about the chocolatey, hazelnut spread that is so delicious and irresistible....that is until we read the ingredients and nutritional information. Nutella is packed with sugar, having 21 grams in just two tablespoons! And on top of that it contains "modified palm oil", which is a vegetable oil. Vegetable oils are highly processed and a lot of times they are genetically modified. Long story short, it is not a healthy option and definitely should not be eaten for breakfast as advertised.
With that being said, we are giving you THE perfect hazelnut spread alternative. Our spread is truly a healthy option that is filled with healthy fats and natural sweeteners. Obviously the main star of this recipe are the hazelnuts, but we also added avocado to give it the perfect creamy consistency. The chocolate flavor comes from raw cacao powder and we sweetened it with maple syrup. And let us tell you, this is there perfect combination for a healthy, irresistible nut spread!
Now lets talk about the reasons why this is such a healthy choice. Beginning with the star, the hazelnuts, they pack a powerful nutritional punch. Each ounce of hazelnuts boasts 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbohydrates, including 2.7 grams of beneficial dietary fiber. Hazelnuts have a high amount of vitamin E in addition to B vitamins, including folate. Vitamin E is important in maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. The B vitamins are important in proper cell and energy metabolism. They are also a rich source of potassium, calcium and magnesium.
By now we are all aware of the health benefits of avocados, after all they are a fan favorite for a reason! This creamy, delicious fruit contains lots of fiber and are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C. If you would like to learn more about the nutritional benefits of avocados please check out our two recipes Double Chocolate Chip Avocado Bread and Avocado Egg Salad.
As we mentioned before, we used the superfood raw cacao powder to make it chocolatey. Raw cacao is considered a superfood for good reason, it has been known to balance hormonal mood swings, combat fatigue and lower blood pressure naturally. Raw cacao also has Flavonol, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that may protect against cardiovascular disease and help improve blood circulation. Raw cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries which gives it the ability to absorb free radicals that can cause cell and tissue damage, working as cancer prevention.
One of the best things about this recipe is that there are very few ingredients and it is quick and easy to make! It makes a nice sized portion that you can store in your refrigerator for a few weeks. We love spreading it on our favorite grain bread, but don't be afraid to eat it plain! After reading all the health benefits to our healthy homemade chocolate hazelnut spread, we hope you make the right decision next time you go for the jar of Nutella.
3/4 Cup Toasted blanched hazelnuts**
1 Ripe avocado, diced
1/3 Cup raw unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
1/4 Cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1.) Place hazelnuts in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse or blend until they become a paste-like consistency.
2.) Add avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt to the food processor or blender and process until smooth.
3.) Spread on your favorite slice of bread, pancakes, or eat straight up and enjoy!
**If you are unable to find blanched hazelnuts, you can do it yourself. You have to boil water with baking soda in it. For every cup of water boiled add 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add hazelnuts and boil for 3-4 mins. Make sure the water covers all of the hazelnuts. Once boiled, rinse the hazelnuts under cool water and peel the skin off, or put them into an ice bath and peel the skin off. Then you have to let them dry completely and then toast them in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes. Watch them carefully to make sure they don't burn. You definitely want the skin to be off the hazelnuts because the skin is very bitter.