These dark chocolate covered rice cakes are tasty, easy to prepare and make for an exciting mouthful (all the textures!). Topped with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, they're a delicious and nutritious snack. Make a batch at the start of the week for future peckish-you to enjoy.
As a nutritionist, I’m often hit up for easy and healthy snack ideas. Rice cakes are an ever-popular option, but they don’t boast much nutrient diversity as a stand-alone snack.
Cue these homemade dark chocolate rice cakes. With a tasty nut, seed and dried fruit topping, each mouthful offers an array of textures and more nutrient bang-for-buck.
They require just 15 minutes to whip up, are naturally gluten-free and a great healthy snack idea for vegan friends. The best part? They’re so easy to make that they barely need a recipe!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Rice cakes are made from puffed rice that has been pressed into a cake-shape. Here, opt for plain rice cakes and keep an eye out for products made with whole grain brown rice – these offer slightly more fibre and protein. Any thickness of rice cake will do, with thicker cakes equating to more carbohydrates per serve.
Dark chocolate. Go for your favourite high percentage bar. If vegan or dairy free, check that your chocolate doesn’t contain any milk products. At a high enough percentage, it shouldn’t.
Raw almonds. Chop into thirds or quarters to keep flavours balanced (and save your teeth!). You could substitute in another nut – walnuts, cashews, macadamias or hazelnuts work well.
Seed medley. I love a mix of sunflower, pumpkin and hemp seeds. Others, like chia or linseed, are good too.
Shredded coconut. Desiccated or chips are AOK substitutes if on hand.
Dried fruit. Raisins and sultana pair well with dark chocolate and are the perfect size to dot on. Finely sliced dried apricots of cherries would be delicious additions!
Ingredient-wise, this recipe is pretty forgiving. You can really have a play and get creative. Use whatever is lingering and lonely in your pantry.
Before you begin make room in the freezer or fridge for a baking tray to comfortably fit inside.
Determine the ‘smooth’ side of your rice cakes. Some types of rice cakes will have a noticeable smoother side. Dunking this side in the chocolate will save on chocolate, as deep crevices tend to pool the melted goodness.
Make sure your toppings touch the chocolate, even just a smidge. The set chocolate plays an important role in binding the toppings.
Store finished rice cakes in the fridge – they’re best eaten a little cold! Put an icepack in your lunchbox when transporting to work or school. The thin layer of chocolate isn’t resilient against warmer temperatures.
Rice cakes are an accessible, affordable and popular snack base – but what’s their nutritional deal? Below are commonly asked questions about rice cake nutrition:
Are rice cakes healthy?Rice cakes aren’t considered a very nutrient-dense or nutrient-diverse food – but this doesn’t mean they’re not a healthy addition to a balanced diet. They offer a source of quick-release carbohydrates and are a great hand-to-mouth vehicle for other nutritious toppings.
How do you make a balanced healthy snack with rice cakes?Rice cakes are generally low in calories, fiber and protein. By combining a rice cake with slow-digesting protein and fibre-rich foods, this will offer more nutrient diversity and slow energy release, keeping you full for longer.
Are rice cakes gluten-free? Rice cakes made from rice alone are naturally gluten-free. However, always check the packaging for allergen information if you need to avoid gluten strictly. Some brands might add other grains into the mix or use flavourings that aren’t gluten-free or prepare their product on a production line with other gluten-containing products.
Are rice cakes vegan? The basic ingredients for plain rice cakes are rice and salt, making many vegan-friendly. However, some flavours and varieties will use animal-derived products – check the ingredients panel if needed.
How many calories are in a rice cake? Calories measure the energy in a food, with rice cakes considered low calorie. Due to this, if you eat rice cakes alone, they likely won’t leave you satisfied for long (and you’ll feel like another snack not long after!). Combining rice cakes with foods richer in calories – like a spread of avocado, nut butter, sliced cheese, or the dark choc topping here – will create a more satisfying snack.
Line a baking tray with paper. Place overtop rice cakes. On a chopping board or plate, lay out toppings for easy access.
Break up dark chocolate into smaller squares and melt (microwave or Bain Marie method over the stove with a simmering pot of water). If using the microwave be careful not to let it overheat. Pour into a serving/mixing bowl with a flat bottom or enough room to dunk in a rice cake.
One at a time, dunk a rice cake into the melted chocolate. Remove and use a tablespoon to spread or swirl the chocolate into the uneven surface or crevices.
Evenly sprinkle over the toppings. Remember that everything needs to be touching the chocolate (even just a smidge!) to stick.
Repeat with remaining rice cakes and toppings.
Place in the fridge or freezer for the chocolate to harden.
Storage Store in an airtight container in the fridge* You could also prepare these in mini-sized!