This year we’ve had some exceptionally affordable cherries at our local grocery store. As a result, I’ve been buying, pitting and freezing cherries. I needed to find a way to use them, and smoothies are a favorite of mine. With frozen cherries, one almost can’t help but think of chocolate, so I worked up a chocolate cherry smoothie.
Chocolate and cherry are not the only ingredients, of course, but they’re the focus of the flavor. Adding in other frozen berries really does something great for the flavor, however. Keep that in mind, and tweak this smoothie recipe for your own use. I eyeball the ingredients for the most part – it’s a smoothie, not a cake and precision is not required.
This comes out fairly sweet without any help, but you can add some honey to make it sweeter. If you want a bit of tartness, add a dash of lemon juice. It really brightens the flavor. Don’t use too much – you want the chocolate cherry flavor to shine through, not a sour flavor.
To make this healthier, add in a handful or two of spinach or kale, some celery, and a carrot. They don’t change the flavor much, but vegetables generally have far less sugar than fruits, and a lot of vitamins, making this much healthier. I very rarely make a smoothie without vegetables. Too much fruit means too much sugar in the finished product.
Cacao nibs add a stronger chocolate flavor, but require that you add a fat to control the bitterness. I like what they do. 4-6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt takes care of it.
My husband loves to add bee pollen granules to all smoothies. Just make sure no one has an allergy before serving.
I make this one with milk, although juice works as well. Pick something that won’t overwhelm the flavor of cherries and chocolate.
If we ever have leftovers of this, I’ll make popsicles for my kids from this too, but so far even with a double or so batch, it hasn’t been a problem. It almost tastes like a milkshake, even though there’s no ice cream.
I always make smoothies in my Vitamix blender. The container holds quite a bit, which is nice when you’re making smoothies for 4-5 people and they want fairly large servings. I start on low, then speed it up until it’s at full speed. If any pits were left in the cherries, it breaks them up pretty well.
My kids help with pitting the cherries when we get them fresh. Always wear dark colors when pitting cherries – you don’t want cherry juice stains showing up on light colored clothes. We have a very basic cherry pitter, but there are some available that will pit multiple cherries at once. I don’t think there’s a cherry pitter out there that gets every pit out perfectly every time, so keep an eye on whether the pits come out or not.
Freeze the cherries before making the smoothie, or you will need to use ice in your mix to cool it. That’s not a bad thing – water is a good thing to include, since it doesn’t add calories or sugar. Ice can be especially nice on a hot day when you want your drink to be more cooling.
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
1-2 cups frozen cherries
1-1 ½ cups milk (nut milk, soy milk, whatever works for you)
1 4-6 oz container plain Greek yogurt
1 peeled banana
1 tbsp soaked chia seeds
1-2 tbsp cacao nibs
1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 pieces celery
handful kale or spinach
Throw it all in a blender, blend until smooth. Add more liquid if you have trouble blending. Pour and enjoy!