Vegan Holiday Recipes: Immune-Boosting Golden Cocoa

December 21, 2016
A version of this article first appeared on

Nichole of Green or Die and I recently chatted about our obsession with golden cocoa - a drink that's quickly becoming my go-to Winter beverage. I've only begun incorporating this "golden" elixir into my daily self-care regimen, but from the moment this delicious nectar touched my lips, I knew it was here to stay.

But it's not entirely what you think. Called "golden cocoa" for its coloring - which is actually more of a dark, dirty yellow color than it is golden - this newest craze is a combination of three main ingredients: cocao powder, turmeric powder, and ashwagandha. It can be made a myriad of ways, such as Local Milk's Golden Milk Cocoa, which suggests you utilize a fat - like coconut oil - and a milk - such as almond milk. I've made that recipe before with great success, finding the creamy, smooth cocoa incredibly delicious. But for everyday consumption, I leave out the fat and make mine with water instead. The wonderful thing about golden cocoa is that it can be customized to fit your own unique preference; specifically, you may not be able to get your hands on ashwagandha, a herb native to India, Africa, and the Middle East. I like to sub out the ashwagandha for chaga, a species of mushroom found in Canada (among other regions) which I can get my hands on in a local market near my home. The chaga is dried and ground into a powder for mushroom tea, baking, cooking and other culinary uses. Similar to ashwagandha, chaga has immune-boosting properties; I also find it possesses a rich, cocoa-like flavor. In other words, if you dislike fungi as I do, you surprisingly won't have an issue adding this to your own golden cocoa. This delicious elixir has become so popular due to its immune boosting properties; it's energizing, cleansing, restorative, and can help reduce inflammation. With a touch of natural sweetener, it's a wonderful substitute for sugar-filled hot chocolate mixes and fattening hot cocoa powders. With golden cocoa, you can have your "cake" and eat it, too. Like Nichole, I like to add a few extra spices to my recipe for my own unique version of golden cocoa. If you're on the lookout for a pre-made golden cocoa, I recommend Wood Spoon Herb's Golden Cocoa mix, which is made with the holy trinity of golden cocoa. If, however, you happen to be interested in making your own and are able to purchase the three main ingredients, I highly suggest giving it a go! I've included below my own take on golden cocoa, along with some tips. Enjoy this treat while cozying up - Happy Holidays!
Vegan Holiday Recipes: Immune-Boosting Golden Cocoa

Vegan Holiday Recipes: Immune-Boosting Golden Cocoa

Recipe Type: Beverages Detox
utensils YIELDS 15-20 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 cup Organic cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup Organic turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup Ashwagandha powder (or chaga powder)
  • 1/2 tsp chili
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
        graphic for recipe card


1. Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl. 2. Scoop or pour the mixture into a container with a tight seal. I use a mason jar with a tight sealing lid. Store in a dry, cool place. 3. Heat up 8-10 oz of water or non dairy milk. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional). Add 1-2 tbsp of the golden cocoa mix until the powder is all dissolved. Hot tips: The golden cocoa will taste quite bitter without the addition of a natural sweetener, so I recommend adding about 1/2 tsp of agave nectar or honey to your cocoa when mixing it with a hot liquid. Reuse your first serving of golden cocoa powder by adding more hot liquid to your mug once you're done drinking your first cup; you may find your mixture sinks to the bottom and leaves enough to make 1-3 cups! Ensure you store the cocoa mix in a tightly sealed jar or container to prolong its freshness. Try to use organic ingredients if your budget allows.
Also by Jaclyn: Grain-free Superfood Overnight Oats
Also in vegan drinks: Nutella Inspired Vegan Hot Chocolate

__ Photo: Jacalyn Beales

After several years spent traveling the world, Jacalyn settled back in her native home of Toronto, Canada to earn her Degree in Classical Studies. A dedicated wildlife advocate, she has for the past three years written on the issues and conflicts threatening the world’s wildlife and advocates for the conservation of Africa’s lions. Jacalyn’s dedication to and involvement in wildlife activism inspired her to join the global movement of conserving wildlife and living an ethically conscious, eco-friendly lifestyle. As a writer, she has had many opportunities to report on wildlife conflict and, through her writing, raise awareness and become a voice for conservation. In 2014, Jacalyn founded the social media community called PACH, through which she works with global NGOs and NPOs whose efforts are helping to save Africa’s lion. Read Jacalyn's work on


always stay inspired!