16 Complete Protein Pairings with Cocoa Powder

Summary:

  • Cocoa powder is high in protein - about 16.9 grams per cup.
  • However, cocoa powder provides only 8 of the 9 essential amino acids sufficiently - it is a little low on methionine.[1]
  • Cocoa powder pairs well with brazil nut, pili nut, chia seeds, sesame seeds or wild rice to create a complete protein profile. [2] More cocoa powder pairings and detailed analysis below.

A complete protein is a protein source that "contains adequate proportions of the nine essential amino acids" that our body can not produce on its own.

World Health Organization [2], National Academy Press [3]

We analyzed the amino acid composition of cocoa powder, and found both vegan and vegetarian pairings with cocoa powder that creates a complete protein profile. Read on to discover new combinations of foods to enjoy!

Details on how we calculate complete protein profiles.

image of cocoa powder source

Amount of Protein in Cocoa Powder

A great source of protein, a single cup of cocoa powder contains 16.9 grams of protein, or about 34% of recommended daily values. [1]

To get the adequate amount of protein with cocoa powder alone, you will need 3 cups of cocoa powder (255 grams) for an average female, or 3.5 cups of cocoa powder for males. [4] That's about 582 calories.

Full nutritional profile for cocoa powder
USDA Source: Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened

Macronutrients in 1 cup (86.4g) of cocoa powder:

% of RDV Amount
Calories
9.8% 197 kCal
Carbohydrates
0% -
Total fat
18.5% 11.8 grams
Protein
33.9% 16.9 grams

Essential Amino Acids in Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder contains abundant amounts of 8 out of the nine essential amino acids. Proportionally, cocoa powder is a little short on methionine.[1]

To have adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids with cocoa powder alone, you will have to eat 4.9 cups of cocoa powder (426 grams) for an average person. [2]

That's about 67% more cocoa powder to compensate for the lack of methionine, compared to the protein requirement alone.

The amount of each essential amino acid in 1 cup (86.4g) of cocoa powder:

Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [1] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
33.9% 16.934g
Histidine
46.5% 0.293g
Isoleucine
76.4% 0.657g
Leucine
54.4% 1.027g
Lysine
49.7% 0.849g
Methionine
20.3% 0.175g
Phenylalanine
54.6% 0.813g
Threonine
74.5% 0.67g
Tryptophan
97.4% 0.253g
Valine
94.2% 1.017g

More Complete Protein with Cocoa Powder

Top vegan pairings with cocoa powder include:
  1. Brazil Nut
  2. Pili Nut
  3. Chia Seeds
  4. Sesame Seeds
  5. Wild Rice
  6. Hemp Seeds
  7. Nori
  8. Chestnut
  9. Pumpkin Seeds
  10. Quinoa
  11. Carrots
  12. Kiwi
Although dairy and eggs are generally considered complete proteins, some types of vegetarian food pair more efficiently with cocoa powder. These include:
  1. Mayonnaise
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Caramel
  4. Egg

Vegan 1. Brazil Nut and Cocoa Powder


image of brazil nut
image of cocoa powder

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, brazil nut is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cocoa powder (41g) and 0.6 tablespoon of brazil nut (5g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.13 to 1:0.11 for cocoa powder to brazil nut by weight.

Full nutritional profile for brazil nut
USDA Source: Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cocoa powder and 0.6 tbsp brazil nut :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [5] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.6% 8.8g
Histidine
25.5% 0.16g
Isoleucine
39.5% 0.34g
Leucine
29.1% 0.55g
Lysine
25.1% 0.43g
Methionine
16.4% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
28.2% 0.42g
Threonine
37.6% 0.34g
Tryptophan
49% 0.13g
Valine
48.5% 0.52g

Vegan 2. Pili Nut and Cocoa Powder


image of pili nut
image of cocoa powder

Pili nut is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (33g) and 2.2 tablespoons of pili nut (17g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.5 to 1:0.8 for cocoa powder to pili nut by weight.

Full nutritional profile for pili nut
USDA Source: Nuts, pilinuts, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 2.2 tbsp pili nut :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [6] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.7% 8.3g
Histidine
24.7% 0.16g
Isoleucine
38.8% 0.33g
Leucine
28.8% 0.54g
Lysine
22.7% 0.39g
Methionine
15.5% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
26.6% 0.4g
Threonine
36.3% 0.33g
Tryptophan
49.7% 0.13g
Valine
47.1% 0.51g

Vegan 3. Chia Seeds and Cocoa Powder


image of chia seeds
image of cocoa powder

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, chia seed is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (29g) and 0.4 ounce of chia seeds (10g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.35:1 of chia seed to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for chia seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, chia seeds, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 0.4 oz chia seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [7] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
14.6% 7.3g
Histidine
23.9% 0.15g
Isoleucine
34.8% 0.3g
Leucine
25.4% 0.48g
Lysine
22.2% 0.38g
Methionine
13.6% 0.12g
Phenylalanine
25% 0.37g
Threonine
32.7% 0.29g
Tryptophan
49.3% 0.13g
Valine
40.2% 0.43g

Vegan 4. Sesame Seeds and Cocoa Powder


image of sesame seeds
image of cocoa powder

Sesame seed is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (29g) and 1.2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (11g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.39 to 1:5 for cocoa powder to sesame seed by weight.

Full nutritional profile for sesame seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 1.2 tbsp sesame seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [8] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.1% 7.6g
Histidine
24.4% 0.15g
Isoleucine
35% 0.3g
Leucine
25.9% 0.49g
Lysine
20.1% 0.34g
Methionine
14.1% 0.12g
Phenylalanine
25% 0.37g
Threonine
33.6% 0.3g
Tryptophan
48.5% 0.13g
Valine
41.3% 0.45g

Vegan 5. Wild Rice and Cocoa Powder


image of wild rice
image of cocoa powder

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, wild rice is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (32g) and 0.4 cup of wild rice (66g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:2 to 1:31 for cocoa powder to wild rice by weight.

Full nutritional profile for wild rice
USDA Source: Wild rice, cooked

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 0.4 cup wild rice :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [9] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.8% 8.9g
Histidine
28% 0.18g
Isoleucine
41% 0.35g
Leucine
29.7% 0.56g
Lysine
24.9% 0.43g
Methionine
16.6% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
28.8% 0.43g
Threonine
36.8% 0.33g
Tryptophan
48.4% 0.13g
Valine
48.9% 0.53g

Vegan 6. Hemp Seeds and Cocoa Powder


image of hemp seeds
image of cocoa powder

Hemp seed is a great source of protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (32g) and 0.8 tablespoon of hemp seeds (8g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.26 to 1:4 for cocoa powder to hemp seed by weight.

Full nutritional profile for hemp seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, hemp seed, hulled

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 0.8 tbsp hemp seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [10] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.8% 8.9g
Histidine
30.1% 0.19g
Isoleucine
40.8% 0.35g
Leucine
29.7% 0.56g
Lysine
24.7% 0.42g
Methionine
16.6% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
28.4% 0.42g
Threonine
39.4% 0.35g
Tryptophan
48% 0.12g
Valine
48.7% 0.53g

Vegan 7. Nori and Cocoa Powder


image of nori
image of cocoa powder

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, nori is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (26g) and 21.7 sheets of nori (56g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.2:1 of nori to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for nori
USDA Source: Seaweed, laver, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 21.7 sheet nori :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [11] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.8% 8.4g
Histidine
26.6% 0.17g
Isoleucine
40.1% 0.35g
Leucine
31.4% 0.59g
Lysine
22.4% 0.38g
Methionine
15.7% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
26.9% 0.4g
Threonine
37.1% 0.33g
Tryptophan
38.8% 0.1g
Valine
49.5% 0.54g

Vegan 8. Chestnut and Cocoa Powder


image of chestnut
image of cocoa powder

Chestnut is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (27g) and 0.9 cup of chestnut (125g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 5:1 of chestnut to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for chestnut
USDA Source: Nuts, chestnuts, european, roasted

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 0.9 cup chestnut :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [12] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.5% 9.2g
Histidine
32% 0.2g
Isoleucine
42% 0.36g
Leucine
29.4% 0.56g
Lysine
29.2% 0.5g
Methionine
17.2% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
28.3% 0.42g
Threonine
38.9% 0.35g
Tryptophan
47.1% 0.12g
Valine
50% 0.54g

Vegan 9. Pumpkin Seeds and Cocoa Powder


image of pumpkin seeds
image of cocoa powder

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, pumpkin seed is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 3.8 tablespoons of cocoa powder (21g) and 0.3 cup of pumpkin seeds (19g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.9:1 of pumpkin seed to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for pumpkin seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt

Table of amino acids of 3.8 tbsp cocoa powder and 0.3 cup pumpkin seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [13] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.2% 7.6g
Histidine
26.8% 0.17g
Isoleucine
39.5% 0.34g
Leucine
28.9% 0.55g
Lysine
27.4% 0.47g
Methionine
14.2% 0.12g
Phenylalanine
24.9% 0.37g
Threonine
32.3% 0.29g
Tryptophan
47.3% 0.12g
Valine
49% 0.53g

Vegan 10. Quinoa and Cocoa Powder


image of quinoa
image of cocoa powder

Quinoa is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (25g) and 0.6 cup of quinoa (109g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 4:1 of quinoa to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for quinoa
USDA Source: Quinoa, cooked

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 0.6 cup quinoa :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [14] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
19.3% 9.6g
Histidine
35.3% 0.22g
Isoleucine
41.7% 0.36g
Leucine
30.6% 0.58g
Lysine
29.4% 0.5g
Methionine
18% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
29.1% 0.43g
Threonine
37.2% 0.33g
Tryptophan
49.6% 0.13g
Valine
45.6% 0.49g

Vegan 11. Carrots and Cocoa Powder


image of carrots
image of cocoa powder

Low in protein, carrot is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 1.7 tablespoons of cocoa powder (9g) and 2.8 carrots (198g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 22:1 of carrot to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for carrots
USDA Source: Carrots, raw

Table of amino acids of 1.7 tbsp cocoa powder and 2.8 large carrots :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [15] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
7.2% 3.6g
Histidine
17.4% 0.11g
Isoleucine
25.7% 0.22g
Leucine
16.4% 0.31g
Lysine
16.9% 0.29g
Methionine
6.7% 0.06g
Phenylalanine
13.8% 0.21g
Threonine
49.9% 0.45g
Tryptophan
19.3% 0.05g
Valine
22.5% 0.24g

Vegan 12. Kiwi and Cocoa Powder


image of kiwi
image of cocoa powder

Kiwi is low in protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (22g) and 6.2 kiwi (429g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 19:1 of kiwi to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for kiwi
USDA Source: Kiwifruit, green, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 6.2 fruit kiwi :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [16] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
18.5% 9.2g
Histidine
30.3% 0.19g
Isoleucine
45% 0.39g
Leucine
28.9% 0.55g
Lysine
28.1% 0.48g
Methionine
17.2% 0.15g
Phenylalanine
26.7% 0.4g
Threonine
41.5% 0.37g
Tryptophan
49.8% 0.13g
Valine
46.8% 0.51g

Vegetarian 13. Mayonnaise and Cocoa Powder


image of mayonnaise
image of cocoa powder

Low in protein, mayonnaise is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (33g) and 0.9 cup of mayonnaise (190g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 6:1 of mayonnaise to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for mayonnaise
USDA Source: Salad dressing, mayonnaise, regular

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 0.9 cup mayonnaise :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [17] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.7% 8.3g
Histidine
25.7% 0.16g
Isoleucine
43.8% 0.38g
Leucine
30.5% 0.58g
Lysine
27.1% 0.46g
Methionine
15.6% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
28.3% 0.42g
Threonine
40.3% 0.36g
Tryptophan
49.9% 0.13g
Valine
49.3% 0.53g

Vegetarian 14. Sour Cream and Cocoa Powder


image of sour cream
image of cocoa powder

Sour cream is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (31g) and 0.5 cup of sour cream (89g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.9:1 of sour cream to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for sour cream
USDA Source: Cream, sour, cultured

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 0.5 cup sour cream :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [18] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.4% 8.2g
Histidine
29.6% 0.19g
Isoleucine
44.2% 0.38g
Leucine
34.6% 0.65g
Lysine
32.1% 0.55g
Methionine
15.3% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
28.9% 0.43g
Threonine
40.7% 0.37g
Tryptophan
49.2% 0.13g
Valine
49.7% 0.54g

Vegetarian 15. Caramel and Cocoa Powder


image of caramel
image of cocoa powder

Low in protein, caramel is high in methionine, which is complementary to cocoa powder.

A ratio of 0.3 cup of cocoa powder (30g) and 0.6 cup of caramel (190g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 6:1 of caramel to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for caramel
USDA Source: Toppings, butterscotch or caramel

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cocoa powder and 0.6 cup caramel :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [19] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.3% 8.1g
Histidine
28.1% 0.18g
Isoleucine
46% 0.4g
Leucine
33.2% 0.63g
Lysine
30.1% 0.52g
Methionine
15.2% 0.13g
Phenylalanine
27.9% 0.42g
Threonine
39.6% 0.36g
Tryptophan
33.6% 0.09g
Valine
49.7% 0.54g

Vegetarian 16. Egg and Cocoa Powder


image of egg
image of cocoa powder

Egg is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in methionine, complementing the profile of cocoa powder.

For example, 0.4 cup of cocoa powder (31g) and 0.4 egg (19g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.6:1 of egg to cocoa powder will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for egg
USDA Source: Egg, whole, raw, fresh

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cocoa powder and 0.4 large egg :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [20] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17% 8.5g
Histidine
26.1% 0.16g
Isoleucine
42.4% 0.36g
Leucine
30.5% 0.58g
Lysine
28.1% 0.48g
Methionine
15.8% 0.14g
Phenylalanine
28.3% 0.42g
Threonine
38.6% 0.35g
Tryptophan
47.2% 0.12g
Valine
49% 0.53g


Complete Protein Pairings

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