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Vie de Cacao — cacao nibs

Crispy Tofu with Cacao Nib Rub

Crispy Tofu with Cacao Nib Rub 0

Our Cacao Nib Rub is delicious on meat, but don't limit yourself.  Try it on fruits, vegetables, and even, as you’ll see here, tofu.


Makes 4 servings


1 14-oz package of extra firm tofu
2 ½ tablespoons Cacao Nib Rub  (more on cacao nibs here)
3 ½ tablespoons olive oil


Cut tofu into 1/3 inch thick blocks, yielding 8 blocks, each under 2 oz.  Lay paper towels on a cutting board, and lay blocks of tofu on the towels.  Cover with more paper towels.  Lay another cutting board on top of tofu to extract as much of the water as possible.  Leave for several minutes.


Stir together Cacao Nib Rub and olive oil.  Coat each piece of tofu with marinade, covering each side of each tofu piece.

Let tofu marinate in Rub and olive oil mixture for at least 15 minutes.  We used an indoor grill and grilled the tofu over low heat, for 15 minutes per side.  You can also broil the tofu on low for approximately 10 minutes per side.


The tofu will develop a crispiness and flavor that's a delicious meat substitute!  Once the tofu is done cooking, use any leftover marinade on the tofu for extra flavor.  Serve with your favorite sides.

Cacao Nib Spread

Cacao Nib Spread 0

Cacao nibs add texture and bitterness while agave lends some sweetness to creamy goat cheese.  Orange zest offers additional depth to this spread.


1 8-oz log of goat cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup cacao nibs
2 1/2 teaspoons blue agave nectar
1 orange
Crackers or baguette


For more about cacao nibs, read my post here on what nibs are and a variety of ways to use them.  In a large bowl, use a spatula to combine goat cheese, cacao nibs, and agave.  If serving on a baguette, slice and toast. 


Spread a generous amount of goat cheese mixture onto crackers or baguette slices.  Over each cracker or baguette slice, zest a small amount of an orange using a microplane.



Spinach Apple Walnut Salad Featuring Cacao Nib Vinaigrette

Spinach Apple Walnut Salad Featuring Cacao Nib Vinaigrette 0

Makes 2 servings


1 rounded teaspoon cacao nibs, coarsely ground
1 1/3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper


3 oz spinach leaves
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
Handful of coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted


The cacao nibs subtly balance the sweet and tart flavors of the cranberries and apple, and they also boost the nutrient value of this salad.

Remove long stems from spinach leaves, then rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Place spinach in a large bowl.  Add apple slices and cranberries to bowl.

For dressing, stir salt, pepper, nibs, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk olive oil into balsamic vinegar mixture, then pour enough vinaigrette over salad until lightly coated.  Toss as necessary to distribute dressing.


Divide salad between two plates, and sprinkle goat cheese and walnuts over each salad.


Store any remaining vinaigrette at room temperature.


To make a substantial salad, I add grilled chicken and serve with a few toasted baguette slices.


Bon appétit.

Antioxidant-packed Berry Smoothie feat. Raw Cacao Powder 0

Serves 1



8 oz nondairy chocolate milk ( I prefer almond milk usually)
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach (the amount depends on your taste buds)
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t mind the taste)
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
4 oz, by weight, frozen mixed berries
Protein powder (1 scoop, optional, if you’re looking for protein)
Cacao nibs for garnish (optional)


I’m always looking for ways to increase my daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  While ideally I eat them rather than blend and drink them, in the mornings, it’s easiest to blend them and pack in as much as possible in a glass.


There are several superstar ingredients in this smoothie.  In addition to being packed with antioxidants, the following ingredients are quality sources of nutrients, including:

  • Spinach: Vitamins such as A, B6, C, and K; folate; and fiber.

  • Flaxseeds: omega-3s and fiber.

  • Raw cacao powder: magnesium and iron. Cacao beans are treated at low temperatures to reduce damage to the nutrients and the cocoa butter is then removed to reveal raw cacao powder.  It can be purchased at most health-conscious stores.

  • Mixed berries: Vitamin C, iron, and fiber.

  • Turmeric: antioxidant properties greater than Vitamins C and E and is a good source of iron.

  • Cacao nibs, optional: read more about cacao nibs here


Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Garnish with cacao nibs (optional).  Enjoy immediately!