Cocoa. Cacao. Carob. Most of us might not be able to rattle off the difference between all three without putting in a quick Google search, but we do know one thing about them: they’re chocolaty. Rich, delicious chocolate in all forms, from ice cream to chocolate lava cakes. We know it’s delicious, but have you ever thought about where the chocolatey-ness comes from? Let’s break it down.

Cacao, which is made from raw, unroasted cocoa beans. Not only is it delicious in raw desserts and smoothies, but it’s also good for you; cacao contains flavonoids, iron and magnesium. When you roast cacao, it becomes cocoa, which contains fewer nutrients and antioxidants. Finally, there’s carob, which comes from pods that grow on the Fabaceae tree, a member of the pea family. You’re probably most familiar with carob in the form of carob nibs, which make a  fantastic addition to smoothies, oatmeal, or ice cream sundaes, but it can also be ground into a powder and used to make candy bars and other desserts.


We love all three, but today, we want to shine a spotlight on carob and cacao because what’s better than antioxidant-packed, decadent desserts? Probably nothing. Try these 15 recipes that feature carob and cacao.

1. Cacao Chai Banana Bread

cacao chai banana bread

Have some overripe bananas hanging around? Don’t throw them out! Instead, make this delicious Cacao Chai Banana Bread! A combination of chocolatey cacao batter, spicy chai, and plenty of banana, this bread is full of tasty goodness. Enjoy it for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or as a sweet, late night snack with some warm almond milk.

2. Raw Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

molten lava cakes

If you like chocolate, you’ll love these Raw Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes. Made chocolatey with cacao, they’re like a mega-awesome, super chocolate party in your mouth which results in an excellent, ethereal sense well-being. Don’t worry if it sounds too intense — we know you can handle it.

3. No-Bake Sweet Potato Cake

no-bake sweet potato cake

This super fudgy, rich, and dense vegan No-Bake Sweet Potato Cake is such a treat! It’s perfectly sweet, super chocolatey, and extremely satisfying. This recipe is really quick and easy to make, using only four simple ingredients you likely have on hand right now: sweet potatoes, cacao or cocoa powder, shredded coconut and sugar.


4. Sugar-Free Puffed Quinoa and Cacao Nib Bars

puffed quinoa cacao nib bars

Is there anything prettier than deep, dark, shiny chocolate bars? Nope! These Sugar-Free Puffed Quinoa and Cacao Nib Bars have it all going on, from its smooth cacao base to the crunchy cacao nibs and puffed quinoa inside. Add a little mint and you’re in sugar-free chocolate bar heaven!

5. No-Bake Brownie Batter

no bake brownie batter

This double No-Bake Brownie Batter is incredibly indulgent, it’s got that deep, dark, decadent taste, the kind of taste that you expect to get when you bite into a brownie.You’d never guess that it’s not made from flour. This not your regular brownie batter — it’s made from black beans, cacao, chocolate chunks, and date syrup. Dig in!

6. Raw Almond Cacao Cookies With Salted Maca Caramel

almond cacao maca

If you’re prone to food sensitivities or exclude a lot of things out of your diet, here’s a raw vegan dessert that won’t compromise taste. These Raw Almond Cacao Cookies With Salted Maca Caramel are sure to delight anyone. Add a bit of walnut, almond, or pecan atop each cookie and you’ve got yourself a beautiful and delicious masterpiece.

7. Raw Peanut Butter and Carob Fudge

peanut butter and carob fudge

This Raw Peanut Butter and Carob Fudge is two layers of deliciousness: a perfectly crumbly peanut butter layer and a rich carob layer. Making traditional fudge is a heavily involved process the requires the use of candy thermometers, saucepans, and stoves, but for this fudge, all you do is melt, stir, and pop it in the refrigerator to set! It’s both perfectly simple and perfectly delicious.


8. Raw Cacao Sea Salt Caramel Cups

raw cacao sea salt caramel cups

We feel as if the name speaks for itself: Raw Cacao Sea Salt Caramel Cups. How could dark chocolate, sea salt, and caramel go wrong? These delightful candy cups of happiness are stuffed with caramel made from dates. They’re super easy to make, so don’t wait for a special occasion to whip up a batch!

9. Glazed Cacao Doughnuts

glazed cacao doughnuts

The best thing about doughnuts is they can be eaten for breakfast or dessert — or a mid-day/midnight snack. These Glazed Cacao Doughnuts couldn’t be any easier to make.  All you need to do to make them is mix the batter, pour it into a doughnut pan and let ’em bake. Then, they get dipped in an easy-peasy glaze for a finishing touch.

10. Nutrient-Dense Brownies With Raw Chocolate Sauce

nutrient dense brownies with raw chocolate sauce

These Nutrient-Dense Brownies With Raw Chocolate Sauce are a must-make. Not only are they nutrient dense from oats, almond flour, banana, and grated carrot, they’re also ridiculously easy to make. All you do is throw the ingredients into a bowl, combine, bake, and something amazingly delicious happens. They’re dense, chocolatey, gluten-free, and free from refined sugar — so don’t let the “brownie” part stop you from having one of these for breakfast.

11. Raw Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge


Who knew you could make fudge that tastes this amazing using dates?! This Raw Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge is not only delicious and decadent, but it’s also good for you and super simple! It only takes five minutes to prepare and you only need five ingredients: dates, cacao, coconut oil, peanut butter, and salt!

12. Raw Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse

carob and cacao mousse

This Raw Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse is a decadent dessert made from a base of avocado, coconut meat, and cacao. You can serve it very thick as a chocolate mousse or add more liquid to make it a smoothie. It’s up to you! In any case, it’s not only delicious and super easy to make. Gotta love that!

13. Cacao Protein Bars

cacao protein bars

Why buy power bars from the grocery store when you can make these Cacao Protein Bars at home? These high-protein bars contain raw cacao powder, maca root, coconut oil, nut butter, and gluten-free oats. Clean fuel at its finest!


14. 5-Minute Raw Chocolate Tart

five-minute raw chocolate tart

Yep, this Five-Minute Raw Chocolate Tart really does take all of about five minutes to throw together — not including the time it takes to freeze. Seriously, though, this is a really easy dessert. It has a sweet, nutty crust and a creamy cashew filling made chocolatey from a blend of carob and cacao. What a wonderful world we live in!

15. Salted Caramel and Mint Chocolate Energy Bites

salted chocolate and mint energy bites

It’s no secret that mint and chocolate go perfectly together. These Salted Caramel and Mint Chocolate Energy Bites are packed with antioxidants from the raw cacao and have a nice added protein addition courtesy of the hemp hearts. You can also replace all or some of the cacao with chocolate hemp protein powder if you need a bit of an additional protein boost.

Everything really is better with chocolate. To find more awesome recipes like these, check out our vegan carob recipes and vegan raw cacao recipes.

Lead image source: Nutrient-Dense Brownies With Raw Chocolate Sauce