I admit nutella is delicious and can be enjoyed as a treat in moderation. However the brand’s wholesome description of roasted hazelnuts along with its healthy breakfast marketing can fool people into thinking their morning meal is a guilt-free, nourishing breakfast option when they have effectively turned their toast into a chocolate bar. If you look at the ingredients list on Nutella the first ingredient is sugar. This means sugar is the most abundant ingredient in the whole jar. Vegetable oil comes second followed by hazlenuts (only 13%) and then coco (7.4%).
Nutritious ‘nutella’ with orange zest (makes 400 ml – plus extra for tasting….)
I have created a hazelnut spread recipe that although like standard nutella is energy dense, is free from added sugar and is packed full of nutrients provided by the fresh dates, almond milk and hazelnuts . It can therefore really be enjoyed as a truly nutritious treat.
The sweetness in this nutella comes from the natural sugars in the fresh dates. Unlike the empty calories found in the refined sugar we used in day-to-day cooking, dates are also rich in many other nutrients providing antioxidants (namely carotenoids and phenolics), minerals (selenium, potassium and magnesium), vitamins (vitamin C) and dietary fibre (which helps prevents ‘bad’ cholesterol absorption in the gut). Hazelnuts are loaded with numerous healthy boosting nutrients required for optimum health but they are uniquely a good source of folate which can help to prevent megaloblastic anaemia and neural tube defects in new-born babies.
- Fresh dates 200g (or dried soaked in water for 30 minutes)
- Hazelnuts 200g
- Almond Milk 150 ml (I used this milk as it’s nutty and I wanted to make it dairy free but you can use any milk/milk alternative you like)
- 100% coco powder1 tbs
- 1 orange zested (optional if you don’t like orange but the aroma is very slight)
Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast at 200 °C for about 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven, allow too cool for a couple of minutes and then wrap in a clean tea towel. Rub the towel with your hands to remove the outer hazelnut shells which you can discard.
Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and process until a smooth oily paste (this took me about 7 minutes).
Add all the rest of the ingredients to the food processor apart from the orange zest and blitz until smooth using a spatchula to wipe down the sides of the bowl.
Stir in the orange zest and then transfer the spread to a jar/jars (keep in fridge). Enjoy this nutritious treat on gluten-free bread, oat-cakes or dolloped on top of porridge.