Raw Cacao and a Chocolate-y Start to the Day

Hola! Just got back from sunny, vibrant Dominican Republic inspired to get back into the food blogosphere. We had such amazing eats there – mostly fish, fish, and more fish. Fancy pants meals served on white linens are fun and all, but there’s something about a whole grilled fish served up with rice, beans, and some beers on a plastic table on the beach that is oh-so-delicious. It’s also a satisfying feeling when you’re sated, but not heaving yourself up after a meal and waddling out of there trying desperately to hold your belly in so you don’t look like you just swallowed an elephant. I feel like whole grilled fish always makes me full, but not overly so – perhaps because you have to work to get the meat off the bones.


Back to the land of grubby, melting snow (at least it’s melting). I do love me some snow, but I’ll admit that even I’ve had enough this winter. Not so much of the snow perhaps, but of the multiple layers of clothing that I have to don each time I head out the door. I’m sure the pastiness of my skin startled a few of the Dominican locals last weekend, but at least it finally got to see some sun!


I’ll admit, too, that I was excited to have my normal breakfast again. I’ve recently come up with a concoction that is delicious, easy, and full of nutrients that will keep you full for at least a few hours. Previously, I had been obsessed with my daily bowl of oatmeal, but was noticing that I got hungry just an hour or so after eating it. I tried adding nuts and yogurt to add a bit of protein to keep me full longer, but nothing seemed to work. So, after some poking around, I combined a few recipes and came up with this one that I am currently completely enamored with. It keeps me full (due to the addition of the protein-rich grains quinoa and amaranth), and while it’s cooking, I usually get my lunch and snacks ready for the day (ok, or I waste time on Instagram…).

One thing I learned from this is that unsweetened baking cocoa and raw cacao are NOT the same thing! (Maybe you already knew that). I came across all these recipes that asked for raw cacao, but figured that I could just substitute my normal natural baking cocoa since that’s what I already had. It was bitter, though, and I realized I needed to add a bit of my beloved maple syrup to balance out the taste and make it palatable. However, once I finally bit the bullet and bought some raw cacao, I had the pleasant surprise of realizing that it tasted much smoother and richer and I no longer needed to add any form of sugar!


Raw cacao also retains many more of the nutrients that make it a superfood, since the cacao is cold-pressed to remove the cacao butter instead of being exposed to heat (like natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders are). One of the biggest benefits of the cacao comes from antioxidants (I’m sure we’ve all heard of those by now!), but it also contains the highest amount of magnesium per milligram of all foods. Why is this important? Magnesium happens to be the mineral that Americans are most lacking in their diets, and a deficiency can lead to muscle cramping (among other things). When I learned this, I immediately thought of those times when I get foot or calf cramps while swimming – sometimes they’re so debilitating that I have to stop and can’t continue until they’re gone! Needless to say, I will be incorporating more raw cacao into my diet from now on (not that I needed any motivation to eat more chocolate).

This breakfast is the perfect way to start your day with some chocolate-y, magnesium-rich goodness. It’s also a great alternative to Cocoa Puffs 😉 Feel free to change up the toppings as you wish according to what’s in season. The blood oranges are abundant in the stores right now and I’m loving beginning my day with their beautiful color on top of my breakfast, but pomegranate seeds are great as well. Be creative!IMG_0166

Oat, Quinoa, Amaranth, and Cacao Bowl

Serves 1


3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp. oats
1 Tbsp. quinoa
1 Tbsp. amaranth
1 Tbsp. raw cacao
dash cinnamon
1 banana, mashed
1 blood orange, chopped
sprinkle of hemp hearts


1. Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it’s steaming.
2. Add the oats, quinoa, and amaranth, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed (about 10-15 min.).
3. Take the porridge off the heat and add the raw cacao, cinnamon, and mashed banana. Stir it up until everything is combined, and then put it in a bowl and top with the blood orange and hemp hearts.
4. Have a fantastic day after treating yourself to a delicious, nutrient-rich breakfast!!


  1. Janna | 1st Apr 15

    My favorite new breakfast! Really tasty & kept me satiated for hours! Can’t wait to try with pomegranate seeds. I soaked grains overnight so they would cook faster in the A.M., as my time is super limited.
    Thanks & keep up this awesome blog!

    • foodandfuel | 2nd Apr 15

      Thanks, Janna! So glad you liked it! I had it with some organic strawberries this morning, too, and that was delicious 🙂

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