For anyone who lives in Columbus, I am sure you have heard of Native Cold Pressed – for those of you who do not, don’t worry I will tell you about it! Native Cold Pressed is an awesome local restaurant/shop/cafe in the city that offers organic, raw pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, and more. The food is delicious. Everything is fresh and packed with fruits and veggies. I love to new dishes there because it gives me inspiration! There are so many raw ingredients and wonderful flavor pairing out there that I don’t even know about. It is such great inspiration! In fact, Native’s Cacao Craze Smoothie WAS the inspiration for this Banana Peanut Butter Cacao smoothie!
It all started last week – I woke up, went to an 8 am sculpt class (which was killer) – then I had about 45 minutes of free time before I had to be back at the studio to teach my own yoga class! I hopped over to Native down the street and figured I’d grab something light. I overheard someone else order the Cacao Craze and thought – damn, that looks good.
And ya know what? It WAS AMAZING! Creamy, rich peanut butter and banana flavor, swirled with rich chocolate – crunchy oat and chocolate tidbits. So fresh tasting, yet so friggen delicious. I loved it so much, as soon as I finished I wanted another one – seriously.
Now, I wish that I had the money to go to Native every day – scratch that. I wish I had enough money to hire a personal chef to make me fresh, healthy, delicious foods everyday. But, sigh, I do not. So – I needed to try and recreate this wondrous smoothie into an affordable homemade option.
I started investigating the ingredients Native mentioned on their menu and I had questions – whats the difference between cacao and cocoa? Where do I buy cacao nibs? What are cacao nibs? Hemp? Clearly, I am a smoothie newwwwbbbb! But that’s okay – you live and you learn right?
I gathered my list of ingredients and started messing around.
Cocoa vs. Cacao
My first few times making the smoothie, I actually used regularly baking cocoa – let me tell you though. I HIGHLY recommend buying powdered cacao for this recipe! Its not expensive, yet SO much richer and smoother than traditional cocoa powder. In order to get a chocolatey taste with cocoa powder, I had to use multiple tablespoons and it ended up tasting chalky. With cacao powder, just 1 tbsp is plenty!
Despite my original belief, cacao nibs are not small pieces of chocolate (yum). They are actually dried and fermented bits of cacao beans – so much healthier than chocolate, not nearly as tasty by the fistful (they actually look just like little bits of coffee beans!). I will admit I did make one round of this smoothie with dark chocolate chunks… and woah, it was yummy!
Bananas – Frozen vs. Fresh
Do your bananas ever turn brown before you get chance to eat them? In my mind, you NEVER throw out bananas (what a waste) – you do have two options:
- Option 1: Bake! I LOVE this recipe by the Baker Mama – it only has 5-ingredients, yet it is actually delicious! I also love these Healthy Banana Oatmeal Pancakes and this Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal (V) – seriously, so delicious.
- Option 2: Freeze! Peel those brown babies then throw them in the freezer! Then you have them ready for smoothie making any time!
Depending how you like your smoothies, you may want to use a frozen or fresh banana. Personally, I like my smoothies cold and extra thick. Using frozen fruit (or a frozen banana in this Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie) will make for a colder, thicker smoothie – yas yas YAS!
I love adding oats to smoothies because it gives extra texture and honestly makes your smoothie feel more like you are eating a meal! But who knew there were so many types of oats?
For this Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie I tested using quick cooking oats first – honestly, they tasted good! But I found as I was drinking the oats softened, so there was less to chew. I opted to try steel cut oats next which do not soften as easily.
If you have a favorite protein powder – feel free to use it here! I chose to use Collagen Peptides as my protein source because they are tasteless and I wanted to see what my smoothie actually tasted like without any added “protein powder vanilla” flavoring.
You are welcome to use any type of milk you’d like! I personally prefer almond or cashew milk, hence my recommendation in the recipe! If you prefer soy or traditional dairy – that is your prerogative! Note: If you do use any “sweetened” milks – such as vanilla almond milk, you may not need the added maple syrup!
Um, duh – its called a Banana Peanut Butter Cacao Smoothie. I like to use all-natural peanut butter because I think the flavor is richer than the more processed brand names.
You might think that this ingredient is unimportant – but you would be WRONG! This is honestly the ingredient I forgot when making the smoothie the first few times and I just KNEW something was off. The cinnamon adds a magical flavor I cannot even describe – it just makes the smoothie perfect.
Creamy, rich peanut butter and banana flavor, swirled with rich chocolate - crunchy oat and chocolate tidbits. So fresh, yet so friggen delicious.
- 1 fresh or frozen banana
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 3 tbsp steel cut oats
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
- 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- 1-2 tbsp cacao nibs
P.s. I seriously need to work on my smoothie pics, I know – work in progress!