Raw, Vegan Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate

chai hot chocolate

The morning after my finals end always presents me with an odd mix of emotions: relief, worry about things I might have gotten wrong, excitement for the holidays, and the peculiar ennui that comes with having spent the last three or four weeks working nonstop, and suddenly having free time. I always feel a bit adrift and aimless on these days, and wonder what I did before I had to rise every morning and commence studying at the crack of dawn (I guess I edited books, and wrote CR!).

Fortunately or unfortunately, the sense of freedom never lasts long, because there’s a blog to look after and a big test this spring and my clinical work. This morning, as I caught up on all of the things in my life that aren’t my post-bacc, I was both grateful for the chance to feel productive and also very glad not to be staring at anything that resembles a chromosome, a Hardy-Weinberg calculation, or a Holliday junction. And I was especially grateful for this wonderfully sweet and spicy, raw vegan chai spiced hot chocolate:


This recipe grew out of my recipe for raw superfood hot chocolate, which you can find in the current issue of VegNews. Instead of a superfood blend, however, it features chai spice, resulting in a warming and unique blend. I created the recipe to serve four, but you can easily cut it in half.

The texture of this hot chocolate is a bit thick due to the cacao nibs and the dates. For that reason, it reminds me a whole lot of the super-rich, upscale hot chocolates—the kind that are practically melted chocolate in a glass—that you’ll sometimes find at fine chocolatiers. Except this one is made with only almond milk, cacao nibs and powder, dates, and spice. A healthy spin on a decadent classic.


Raw, Vegan Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 4

4 cups almond milk
4-6 pitted dates (adjust according to preferences)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
2 tbsp raw cacao powder

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth. Heat gently over the stove before serving.

I really love the combination of chai and cocoa. If you wanted to use carob instead, though, I’m sure it would also be delicious. And for another use of chai spice, check out my chai spice mix and banana chai smoothie!

Before I go, remember that you have only two more days to enter my giveaway to win six cold-pressed juices from Cooler Cleanse. Enter now! And I’ll see you tomorrow.


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Categories: Snacks
Dietary Preferences: Raw, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less, Holidays

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  1. I made this and I loved it, but I think I may have heated it a bit too much on the stove. Has anyone tried just dialing up their Vitamix to a 10 to warm it, or do you think that’s not gentle enough? I used the leftover hot chocolate for my overnight oats.

  2. Would cashew milk work instead of almond milk? I’m allergic to almonds, soy, rice and cow’s milk. Having a hard time finding a ‘milk’ to use in my favorite recipes.

  3. Gena…I love your recipes, and when are you all done (I mean ALL DONE) with school…and do you need a massage therapist in your office? All kidding aside….Happy New Year…and may 2013 be all you want it to be.

  4. Hi Gena,

    This looks delicious. I’m going to try it!

    I have a question about the vitamix and hot liquids, that I haven’t been able to find the answer for. I notice that you heat up the tea after blending. Is it harmful to put boiling (or hot) water in the vitamix and blend? I do this all the time, with soups and hot drinks. Hopefully it’s not leaching anything bad from the plastic when I do this, but I couldn’t find any info saying that it was dangerous.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

    • Stephanie, I’m not sure about the plastics issue. I know Vitamix stuff is BPA free, but I don’t know what heat does. The main issue is always that very hot liquid always bubbles up and can splatter out of the machine, which can be messy and lead to burns!

  5. Gena, you’re a mind reader. I just had my water pot going to make a cup of instant chai right now… this is way more divine! I’m missing cardamum though.. fingers crossed that it will semi-turn out! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Mmm sounds delicious! I love hot chocolate and am always trying to think of ways to spice it up and make it even tastier. Good idea!

  7. We thoroughly enjoyed this while we decorated our Christmas tree (even my son who balks at anything healthy). Thank you.

  8. I cannot wait to make this for a special Christmas Eve warm up! It has all of my favorite ingredients and spices.

  9. Thanks so much for your posts! I’m new to being vegan, and somewhat confused by the term “raw.” I thought that meant the food wasn’t heated? Maybe you can clarify? And, I completely understand that moment after finals- I hope you did well : )

  10. This sounds incredible! I’ve been an a big hot chocolate kick lately, mixing a little raw cacao powder with dandy blend and some vanilla stevia. I think I’m going to have to try your chai version a little later today – I love chai. 🙂

  11. I’ve been craving hot chocolate all day, and earlier I thought it might be nice to make a batch with some roasted chicory and carob in addition to the cocoa. This chai spiced version sounds wonderful, and I love that you used dates as the sweetener!

  12. Yay! I see your posts again! This looks yummy! I’m a HUGE fan of chai spices, and hot chocolate. In fact, the spiced hot chocolate that one might find in stores or at chocolate restaurants like Max Brenner, is always my first choice. As a cold person, the spices really get my body warm, which is a pleasant relief in the winter time. I also have a big bag of cocoa beans from Mexico that have been waiting and waiting to be used. Now I know what to do with them (easier than making homemade chocolate). Thanks!

  13. I completely understand the post-exam feeling, and I’m a little lost with what to do with myself, haha. I guess i’ll be making some hot chocolate..,.

  14. I love when I have all the ingredient in my house!! And I’ve been craving hot chocolate!!

  15. Sounds amazing Gena! I had never had cacao powder until I started reading CR and it’s one of my favorite foods now! I always had weird feelings after finals. It’s strange to go from working so hard to having more time on your hands. Enjoy your accomplishments!