By Amber King

Are you addicted to chocolate?  Do you keep an emergency chocolate stash hidden in your house?  Are there likely to be brownie crumbs or M&Ms beneath your couch cushions?  If this is you, get ready to discover some uses for chocolate that are far from your run-of-the-mill chocolate recipes.  You’d never think of mixing chocolate with some of these foods, but you can, and the results are delicious and nutritious.

Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl 
It’s hard to get away with chocolate for breakfast.  Sure, there are Cocoa Puffs and chocolate chip pancakes, but they’ll leave you with a sugar high and little nutritional value.  Now you can have the best of both worlds–nutrition and chocolate–in the chocolate quinoa breakfast bowl.  Coincidentally, chocolate pairs well with the delightful puffed crunch of quinoa.  And quinoa is full of amino acids and protein, so you’ll be doing your body good with each spoonful.  Add some nuts and dried coconut chips and you’ll be craving this energy-boosting meal every morning.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Spiced Nuts
Does the idea of spicy chocolate tempt your taste buds?  These delicious spiced nuts incorporate cinnamon and cayenne pepper to give their cocoa coating a real kick.  Egg whites help the flavor bind to whichever nut you choose, but we recommend cashews and pecans.  Leave a dish of these out at a cocktail party, or put them in jars to give away as presents.  Whatever you decide to do with them, we guarantee they won’t last long.

Dark Chocolate Hummus 
You’ve heard of hummus flavors like sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper, so why not chocolate-flavored hummus?  This tasty treat is a great way to satisfy your chocolate craving while picking up some healthy nutrients.  Garbanzo beans are the main ingredient in hummus and are full of fiber and protein.  The creamy goodness of mashed garbanzo beans mixed with cacao powder and maple syrup makes for an excellent substitute for chocolate sauce.  Because this is a sweet hummus rather than a savory one, pair it with fresh fruits like strawberries and bananas.

Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
Brownies are one of America’s favorite baked goods, but that guilty feeling you get after eating one too many is almost not worth the chocolaty goodness.  Enter the black bean brownie.  Yes, you read that right.  The recipe for these brownies includes substituting black beans for the oil and egg that are typically worked into the batter.  The brownies taste great and they’re a whole lot healthier.  Substituting beans means you cut the saturated fat, up the protein and add loads of fiber.  These chocolaty squares look and taste so much like the real thing that we suggest serving them without saying a word about the beans.  After everybody has munched on them, reveal your amazing substitution!

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