Chocolate Blood Panna Cotta

Chocolate Blood Panna Cotta

Oh gosh, another blood recipe?

Yep. Just like last week where we discussed some unctuous grain-free black pudding, this week we’re back with a less savory, and much sweeter, use for beef (or pork) blood. Dessert blood, anyone? No? Well, wait. Hold on! Don’t put the spoon down. Have you tried it yet?

Fellow blogger and Minnesota-is-a-cold-land-don’t-you-agree-why-are-we-even-here buddy Aimee of A is for Appetite joined me in collaborating on this dish to show yet again that hey, blood is an ingredient that may indeed be fairly traditional for many of us and there is distinct wisdom in not only traditional preparation methods for foods (a la Nourishing Traditions), but the ingredients themselves and their utility. The idea set forth by the now trendy (trends. Where do I even start? Obviously we’re smack dab in the middle of this trend, otherwise I wouldn’t be fervently typing away and waxing poetic about blood in desserts.) wave of nose-to-tail eating (which of course, like any trend, is utterly silly because nose-to-tail eating did not arise from privilege and playing with food for fun, it arose from the need to not waste any part of an animal, to show respect to the creature that has parted ways with its life as part of our own ability to continue ours…) is doing just that–consuming the odd bits, the offal-est of considerations, the teeny muscles of the tail, the eyeballs, the squeam and the squirm (there’s not a part called the squirm. Did it make you squirm, though? I think the word squirm is one of my favorite/least favorite words. A fine line has been walked.)

Onwards we go, then.

So, just like last week where the role of vitamin D and our mood and affect has been brought to light (puns), and how blood as a culinary ingredient can help us ensure we’re looking at getting in those micronutrient-dense foods during a time when we’re synthesizing less vitamin D from the sunshine on our skin, let’s continue the dialogue today about good old blood.
Chocolate Blood Panna Cotta

Is blood the protein of the future?

According to this recent article, making sure that the blood from larger-scale meat processing is collected in a hygienic and safe manner (and from animals raised on appropriate feed and in healthy environments) could potentiate the creation of new products based in blood. A whole new sector! Jobs for everyone! Beef blood protein powder, anyone? I’ll get our kickstarter page worked up. Buy two canisters and receive your free blender bottle as our thanks to you!

I kid, I kid…

Until the near future of blood bars and orange flavored protein powders (I assume orange to cover the blood, but you know, I also assume many other things so really, it’s pure conjecture until someone gets that Kickstarter going) actually hits us, let’s just focus today on the blood itself. Quality blood coming from healthy animals can be a potent source of micronutrients beyond just vitamin D:

  • Iron: while some people, mainly a small amount of male-identified people, may experience levels of iron that are too high (donating blood can be useful in these instances), many other people who experience menstrual cycles often can be exhibiting signs of too-low levels of iron, especially when a heavy menstrual flow is present (I mean, we ARE talking about blood…). Other iron-rich foods include dried fruit, those old fashioned leafy greens, and quality-sourced seafood. Iron helps keep our body temperature regulated, supports proper energy levels and plays a large role in how our body transports and uses oxygen.
  • Choline: eggs, liver, sunflower seeds, these all contribute to increased levels of choline (a B vitamin) in our bodies. Choline is one of the nutritional underdogs that can assist in how our blood sugar levels can stay regulated (it’s not just sugar in, sugar out, it’s how our body is prepared to handle that sugar, too…) and maintain our neurological function (memory? Power in the gym? Managing stress? Neurological.)
  • Selenium: seems those who have heard of selenium know the ol’ “eat one brazil nut per day” trick. Selenium levels are often discussed when managing thyroid hormone levels, as it works in conjunction with iodine as a preventative against goiter. Unless you can get your paws on some fridge-stored, raw brazil nuts (which is possible!), from my taste experience I feel like many options seem to taste just a bit old or rancid. So hey! How about that blood amirite.
  • Zinc: it’s not just in those lozenges we suck down when we feel a tickle in our throats (and that form may not even be doing much for us!) Classic zinc-rich foods include oysters, spinach, pumpkin seeds and oh look–cocoa powder, too (good thing we have some chocolate chips in this recipe, huh!) Chris Masterjohn has a pretty darn impressive write up on the utility of zinc in the human body and just how profound appropriate and adequate zinc intake really is!

Aside from the nutritional profile, which likely will only sway part of the crowd viewing this recipe, blood itself works as a wonderful setting agent in dishes. Hence why that black pudding works so well without grains–the protein-rich blood sets up as it’s exposed to heat and brought back down to room temperature or colder.

What else gels well, then? Where else can we slip in the blood and not run away in metallic-y fright?

Panna Cotta.

Chocolate Panna Cotta.Chocolate Blood Panna Cotta

Sooo… how do we do this?

If you’re open to heating things up on the stovetop, pouring a mixture into small bowls, and waiting a few hours for the real work to happen in the fridge–you’ve got this recipe down pat, I swear. A simple mix-in of some blood here (I’m trying to just say “blood” a lot in the hopes that it will feel more casual with every mention and there is ah, less squirming…), a handful of chocolate chips and you’re good to go. And fairly nourished, too. Not too shabby for the sweeter side of things.

I’ll leave it here for today. I implore you to play around in the kitchen, Carrie style or not, and see what happens!


Chocolate Blood Panna Cotta

Scared of using other parts of the animal, like livers and kidneys? Try adding some blood into the routine and be amazed how subtle and gorgeously deep this ingredient makes these dairy-free panna cottas. This recipe can be SCD or AIP compliant by replacing the chocolate chips with carob powder (use about 3 tablespoons in place of the chocolate chips) and adding 2-3 tablespoons of honey to sweeten.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lucia Hawley


  • 1/2 cup fresh beef blood
  • 1.5 cups full-fat coconut milk could also work with a preferred nut or seed milk
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips dairy-free (for SCD/AIP, see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons grass-fed gelatin Vital Proteins or Great Lakes are wonderful brands
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • assortment of garnishes optional! Think fresh berries, shaved chocolate, toasted nuts, whipped coconut cream...


  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the warm water and set aside to allow to bloom (this only takes a few minutes, and is ready when there is no more dry gelatin powder on top of the warm and they fully combine).

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot over medium-heat, combine all other ingredients, whisking gently to combine for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove bloomed gelatin from the small bowl and add into the pot with the liquid mixture--whisk until gelatin melts and incorporates fully. Take pot off the heat.
  4. Pour approximately a 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of four small ramekins.
  5. Move ramekins to the fridge and allow to set and cool, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

  6. Garnish with berries, nuts, chocolate, flaked coconut or drizzles of coconut cream!

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