Craving an indulgent drink that won’t bring you out of the low-carb and plant-based diet? This hot chocolate recipe is the perfect balance of healthy and luxurious. With dark chocolate and coconut milk to give this drink its creamy texture and rich flavor, you won’t be missing the carbs in this hot chocolate!
A Hot Chocolate History Lesson
Hot chocolate is believed to have been invented in what is now Mexico by the Mayan people over a thousand years ago. This early relative of hot chocolate bears little resemblance to the drink that we know today.
The Mayan chocolate drink was known as ‘xocolatl,’ which is where our modern word ‘chocolate’ originates. It was served at room temperature and was not sweet as it contained no sugar. Instead, it was flavored with chili peppers and the resulting drink was spicy and bitter.
Chocolate was introduced to Europe by way of the Spanish, who were the first to make ‘hot’ chocolate. The Spanish were also the first to add sugar and milk, and thus hot chocolate as we know it was born. Hot chocolate caught on and spread to France, and from there, the rest of Europe. For many years, hot chocolate was the only way that chocolate was prepared in Europe. The chocolate bar for eating was not invented until the middle of the 19th century!
Making A Familiar Treat Plant-Based and Low-Carb
As you can see, hot chocolate was not always the sugar and dairy-packed drink commonly found today. This low-carb hot chocolate recipe, recalls the origins of hot chocolate by dialing back the sweetness and replacing the dairy with coconut milk. It’s the best of both worlds!
Rather than using cane sugar, which is not low-carb-friendly, this hot chocolate recipe suggests adding sweetener to taste. The sweetener in this recipe is one of the most popular in low-carb desserts.
Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol (not the same as the kind of alcohol that you drink!) that is commonly combined with other low-carb sweeteners. Traditional hot chocolate often contains a significant amount of sugar, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Low-carb versions use sugar substitutes like erythritol to provide sweetness without the glucose surge.
Coconut milk is a very popular plant-based, dairy substitute in low-carb recipes. Unsweetened coconut milk adds the same creaminess as cow’s milk without any of the dairy!
Cacao powder, which is used to flavor this hot chocolate, is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress in the body and may offer various health benefits, including improved heart health.
The absence of high-carb ingredients like sugar, regular milk, or traditional chocolate in this recipe keeps the carb content low. This is particularly beneficial for individuals managing diabetes or those aiming to control their carb intake.
Personalize Your Hot Chocolate
- Go back to the roots of the drink by adding 1/8 teaspoon chili powder and ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder before heating.
- Give your hot chocolate a minty twist with a few drops of peppermint extract to taste.
- Whip up some chilled unsweetened coconut cream for a dairy-free low-carb whipped cream and add a tablespoon to the top of your hot chocolate.
Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Yield: 1 serving
Description: Dark chocolate and coconut milk make this classic even more luxurious.
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) water (or additional unsweetened coconut milk)
- 3 Tablespoons (18 g) cacao powder [or 1 oz (28 g) of 100% dark chocolate]
- Granulated erythritol, to taste
- Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer, whisking constantly, until the cacao powder is completely incorporated.
- Pour the hot chocolate into a large mug and enjoy.
Nutrition: (Estimated and based on per-serving amounts.)
- Calories: 330
- Fat: 30 g
- Total Carbs: 7 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Net Carbs: 5 g
- Protein: 3 g