Espresso Chocolate Hazelnut Shake

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 1 vote

This espresso chocolate hazelnut shake from tastes super decadent, but is made with all wholesome and vegan ingredients. Perfect breakfast!

An overhead shot of a double chocolate espresso smoothie that is garnished with chopped hazelnuts and cacao nibs. The smoothie is on top of a beige tablecloth with a small bowl of cacao nibs to the side.
An overhead shot of the “Blissful Basil” cookbook on a beige linen background.

Hey there! Sending out my calmest and warmest ways of being on this grey Sunday. I’m spending most of this weekend working while my partner fixes up some things around the house, but that’s about it for us. I think we might be squeezing in a movie night and a trip to the gym if we’re lucky.

We’re getting our downstairs measured for new floors next week and all of my excitement is focused on that, nerdy as it sounds. When we moved into the house, we kind of clambered to get furniture into our living and dining area. Now that we have the space and time, we’re doing a more mindful/permanent refresh.

While I dream about all of that, I’ve been putting a great new book to work in my kitchen. Ashley Melillo’s Blissful Basil, like her blog of the same name, has a special way of making you happy just by looking at it. One of the things that I love about my job is that I get to be on the receiving end of new cookbook releases. Ashley’s sincerity and want for a better world through food rings so true in this book.

There are notions of comfort in her recipes, but with nourishing ingredients and creative cooking applications. Her food style is clever and re-assuring in a way. I’m a person that eats plant-based because vegetables, pulses, whole grains, nuts, and seeds make me feel great and also because they put me at peace in a lot of ways. I never want for outright cheese or egg replacements, but at the same time, I crave balanced flavour and texture in my foods. I think Ashley has a firm grasp on this balancing act. Familiar, but never too on-the-nose.

I made her espresso chocolate hazelnut shake because it really spoke to me when I was craving a chocolate shake for breakfast. You will freak if you make this. It’s rich and sweet and nutella-ish, but all the way energizing, too. Other recipes from the book that I’ve been into: baked mostaccioli with walnut bolognese + cashew mozzarella, puffy potato pizza crust, chocolate chip coconut oil cookie bars, blueberry muffin energy bites, and the garlic mushroom tacos w/ chipotle tomato crema. Ashley is a plant-powered wizard.

To keep with my happy hour/link lovin’ theme, I’ve got a couple things here for you to check out while you sip on this shake :)

I love Emma’s work, the beautiful southern hemisphere light in her photos, her incredible recipes, but this post takes the cake (there’s also a recipe for cake within the post yessss). I relate to so much of what she says about the slow reduction in gratitude/setting of boundaries online.

The meditation of the everyday. So many things to love about this short article. It seems like there’s a tendency to view meditation as this tool that works toward a certain outcome. If anything, there are slow-simmering happy accidents as a result of regular mindfulness.”It’s not a miracle; it’s just you giving your mind some time to reflect.”

A head-on shot of a double chocolate espresso smoothie that is garnished with chopped hazelnuts and cacao nibs. The smoothie is on top of a beige tablecloth with a small bowl of cacao nibs to the side.

Espresso Chocolate Hazelnut Shake

This espresso chocolate hazelnut shake from tastes super decadent, but is made with all wholesome and vegan ingredients. Perfect breakfast!
5 from 1 vote
vegan double chocolate hazelnut espresso shake from "Blissful Basil"
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings 1 -2


  • 1 ripe banana, preferably frozen
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup ice
  • ¼ cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 4 ounces brewed espresso or strong coffee, chilled
  • 3 soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs



  • Reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo.
  • I’ve only tried making this in my own high-speed blender, and I’m not sure that a regular one will cut it because there are some roasted, non-soaked hazelnuts involved. 2 tablespoons of hazelnut butter might be a good replacement if you’re unsure about your blender’s power.


  • Add the frozen banana, almond milk, ice, hazelnuts, espresso, dates, cacao powder, vanilla, and sea salt to a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add in the cacao nibs and blend for a few seconds to roughly chop and incorporate them into the smoothie.

15/01/2017 (Last Updated 12/07/2023)
Posted in: autumn, beverage, creamy, dessert, gluten free, grain-free, quick, refined sugar-free, snack, spring, summer, sweet, vegan, winter


5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Recipe Rating

  • Julie

    Hi Laura,
    I’m a first time commenter here but a huge fan of your blog, particularly your happy hour posts! In fact, I’ve recently started a new blog and gave you a shout out (and a link) for your inspiration. Many thanks and lots of luck with the new cookbook! Can’t wait!

  • Julia

    Hey Laura, I just read Emma´s latest post about how the online community has changed and how she´s kind of sick of it all… and I happened to read your comment there. That´s why I want to send my biggest thanks out to you, too, for keeping up this great site even if it means that you have to cope with brainless requests and stuff like that. Your site is one of my go-to blogs whenever I am searching for inspiration or a certain recipe or just when I need to get grounded and out of my head. Your personal way of photographing, writing and the insane amount of wonderful recipes that you share here are highly valued in my case. I also just listened to your chat with Jessica Murnane and man – I love your voice! Now when I read through your posts it is like I am hearing you talk, which makes it so much more tangible. Also I love when you are sharing links to stuff that you found inspiring, it´s a huge help in the insane amount of content that is on the web. So just had to get that out to you, because I am not a very frequent commenter. BTW I am so looking forward to your book, its going to be a belated birthday present for me :) Much love from Vienna! Julia

  • Jayani

    Beautiful pictures and wonderful recipes. I’m in love with this one in particular. I don’t have raw cacao powder atm, so will the regular kind do? Let me know :)

    • Laura

      Unsweetened cocoa powder would work just as well :)

  • Ashley

    Laura, thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful, heartfelt review. It warms my heart to read your thoughts on the book, and I’m grateful. So grateful.

    p.s. Just read Emma’s post after reading your thoughts here and felt like a weight was lifted. So relate to what she’s saying. There’s comfort in knowing that others are experiencing a similar climate of increasing pressures/demands with less appreciation in recent blogging times—thought maybe I was just becoming more sensitive!

  • Emily

    I’ve said this before, but I love your happy hour series. I read Emma’s post about blogging- I’ve noticed other bloggers expressing similar feelings in recent years. I don’t think lack of engagement is (always) related to lack of enthusiasm for the content. As social media has become big and popular bloggers make a living off of their blogs, bloggers have started to feel more like mini-celebrities than people just sharing recipes and stories. Particularly because they are clearly able to trade on their fame for sponsored content etc. Reasonable people usually assume that celebrities (even mini ones) are awash in praise and don’t have the time or interest to read individual comments, so it feels unimportant to maintain this side of the conversation.

    On the other hand, blogs in general have become sooo much less fun to read since it became a way of earning a living. I loved reading the early blogs that were distillations of a person’s life in and out of the kitchen, and felt like a sincere attempt at communicating with a community of like-minded food-interested people. There are still a select few that are like this, but I think the overwhelming quantity of the other kind has also dulled my interest and engagement a bit.

    Anyways, I love your work and frequently make your recipes! Thanks for all you do!

  • Sarah | Well and Full

    Yayyyy I love your choice from the Blissful Basil cookbook! You are so right, Ashley’s joy and positivity just radiates from the pages like roaming rays of sunshine. And you captured her work so beautifully in your photos :) :)

  • Thea

    I always love it when I get an email notification about this post! It does exactly what it’s supposed to, I sit with a cuppa and have a moment to breathe and gather my thoughts. Also i can flick through your beautiful photography and inspiration recipes. HOW do you come up with some of these things!!
    With love from the UK X

  • Mer

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for linking us to Emma’s post about the plum cakes and her feelings about being a food blogger. It really touched my heart! As a reader and avid fan of the handful of beautiful food blogs that I follow, I am always so inspired and joyous about the recipes and writing I read . I had never thought about how it could feel very differently for the creator/writer on the other side. I want to take this opportunity to apologize to you for never posting and sharing my enthusiasm for your amazing work. As of today, that changes and I will remember to share my excitement and appreciation. Please know that your recipes inspire me and my family have had so many delicious and nourishing meals because of The First Mess. As well, you have introduced me to other cookbooks and writers through you generous reviews/sharing of the work of your peers, Thank you for that. Also, your logo is my absolute favourite. Sending you immense gratitude and much joy!

  • Smadar

    YUM. Can’t wait to make this.

    Great links, as always!

    Feel free to share pictures of your house with us ;) if it’s styled anywhere near as beautifully as your food shots… we’re in for a treat.

  • Pia

    I know HAPPY HOUR made its return last week, but I’m just glad it’s finally back! The weekend links you share with us are always so varied and I always end up checking out at the very least one of them. That is rarely the case though, as I generally click through to pretty much all of them. So, THANK YOU :) and Happy Sunday, dear xx