The best thick and creamy Chocolate Protein Smoothie packs protein, carbs, fruit, and veggies to help build muscle and optimize recovery! It makes the perfect easy post-workout protein shake that is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and easily customizable to fit your needs.
Last updated on August 23, 2021.
How do you feel about smoothies? I have them almost every day – I love that they are so customizable, you can pack them with so many nutrients, and they are so easy to make.
And this chocolate protein smoothie is the absolute best! And one of my favorite smoothie combos, which says a lot since I make so many different ones. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes like a healthy chocolate milkshake.
I have actually been making this chocolate protein shake for a couple of years now. It is so thick and creamy and you would never guess it has 2+ cups of veggies in it.
Better yet, it is also pretty balanced. It emphasizes carbs and protein for recovery, while also have some healthy fats and fiber to help with fullness. This homemade protein smoothie keeps me full for a handful of hours and has been my go-to after workouts. You can totally customize the amounts of carbs and protein to fit your lifestyle and activity level though.
Post-workout chocolate protein smoothie
This chocolate post-workout protein shake is LOADED with vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies (seriously, check out the benefits below) and is full of protein, carbs, fiber, and some healthy fats. All you have to do is add all your ingredients to a blender and blend it up!
Chocolate protein smoothie ingredients:
- unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- sweet potato
- frozen cauliflower rice
- frozen sweet cherries
- chocolate protein powder
- almond butter
- cacao powder
- sea salt
This smoothie takes a little extra work as we are using frozen sweet potato. I find this is so much better than mashed or canned. All you have to do is bake sweet potato until soft, cut it into large chunks, and freeze.
The rest is just as easy as adding everything to your blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend it up. See how the consistency is and adjust from there.
Benefits of this protein smoothie
While I love smoothies and could have one every day, I believe they have a time and a place depending on what you add to them and your lifestyle. You really need to be mindful of what you put in them.
Since they are liquid, they digest faster, which makes them ideal for post-workout. If you are serious about gaining muscle or optimizing your recovery, you want to replenish your glycogen stores with carbs and also protein soon after your workout (the sooner the better).
Carbs are best absorbed and utilized around your workouts as well. You also want to keep fat a little lower as it takes longer to digest and will slow down the absorption process. This protein shake has:
- carbs – sweet potato and cherries
- protein – chocolate protein powder and nut butter
- veggies – sweet potato and cauliflower
- fiber – it packs 13 grams of fiber thanks for the fruit and veggies
- vitamins – loaded with vitamin A (100%+ of daily value), vitamin C (60% of daily value), vitamin E (80% of daily value), and B vitamins just to name a few
- minerals – loaded with calcium (50% of daily value), copper (60% of daily value), iron (27% of daily value), magnesium (38% of daily value), manganese (58% of daily value), and potassium (61% of daily value) just to name a few
- antioxidants – cacao/chocolate and cinnamon
- anti-inflammatory – cinnamon
- electrolytes – sea salt
Why is chocolate good after a workout
Cacao contains magnesium, dietary fiber, and antioxidants including flavanols and polyphenols. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for heart health. The flavanols in cacao prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from clogging the arteries.
They also moderate nitric oxide, which is a compound found in beets. Dietary nitrates convert to nitric oxide, which is responsible for the dilation of blood vessels and helps support blood circulation.
This improves an athlete’s capacity for sustained exercise and endurance. Nitric oxide also helps the speed of nutrient delivery to the muscles, improving energy efficiency for performance and recovery.
How to prepare frozen sweet potatoes for smoothies
Making frozen sweet potatoes smoothies is super easy. Whenever we bake up a bunch of sweet potatoes for meal prep, I will always set a couple aside to freeze. It’s easier this way and we usually have them on hand to throw into smoothies.
To prepare sweet potatoes for smoothies, wash/scrub off any dirt from the skin. To bake a sweet potato, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 30-40 minutes until soft and can be pierced with a knife.
Let cool for a couple of minutes. Then cut into large cubes. You can either remove the skin or leave it on. Place in the freezer (I like doing this on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet/dish for easy removal) until frozen solid.
Using mashed sweet potato instead of frozen
If you don’t have frozen sweet potato on hand, you can use mashed sweet potato (canned or fresh). The recipe calls for about 1 1/2 cups cubed, which I think would be around 1 cup mashed. You can use more or less depending on how much you like.
The frozen sweet potato really gives it that cold smoothie feeling and makes it super thick and creamy, so you might have to add some ice or something else cold/frozen to get the same texture.
Chocolate protein smoothie substitutions or additions
You can customize this protein smoothie to your liking and add in more protein or fruit depending on how you like your smoothies. Here are some things I think would be delicious:
- milk – you can use dairy or non-dairy milk
- fruit – any fruit would work instead of cherries. Frozen berries or bananas would be delicious
- protein powder – any flavor of protein powder will work for this post-workout smoothie
- nut butter – any kind of nut butter should work and make it nut-free, try tahini or Sunbutter
- greens – add in some frozen greens for a little extra nutrient boost
- yogurt – add vanilla or plain and dairy or non-dairy
- avocado – more healthy fats and makes it really creamy
- chia seeds – great for added healthy fats and fiber
- ice – if you want more frozen texture and volume
More healthy smoothie recipes
- Chocolate Beet Smoothie
- Sweet Potato Smoothie
- Pineapple Avocado Green Smoothie
- Coffee Protein Smoothie
Chocolate Protein Smoothie
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 small sweet potato baked, cut & peeled, and frozen* (6.5 ounces raw/1 heaping cup cooked)
- 3/4 cup frozen cauliflower rice (75 grams)
- 1/2 heaping cup frozen sweet cherries (80 grams)
- 1 serving chocolate protein powder
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a Vitamix or a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 30-60 seconds.
- Top with optional toppings if desired and enjoy!
Recipe by Kelly Nardo, Eat the Gains | Photography by The Mindful Hapa
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