Are you looking for a healthy plant-based dessert? One of the things I love about plant-based desserts is that you literally get to eat your cake and have it too! Plants are chock full of vitamins, vitamins and antioxidants. By eating more plants you can improve your health and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Here is where having a quick, easy plant-based dessert can help fuel your health and satisfy your sweet tooth! Fruit is good and all, but sometimes having a simple banana does not cut it. Sometimes you want something more luxurious and decadent. This is where having a few plant-based dessert recipes like this 5-Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding can help save the day.
Why Are Avocados Good for Plant-Based Desserts?
First of all, you will need 1 ripe avocado to make this dish. In your traditional chocolate pudding, you would use whole milk to add to the creaminess, thickness, and mouth-feel that you expect of a traditional chocolate pudding. When making this plant-based version of chocolate pudding, avocado replaces whole milk.
Like whole milk, avocados are high in fat, hence, they provide the desired creaminess that milk fat provides. However, the type of fat it provides is quite different. Whole milk provides saturated fat, while avocado provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the type of fat that you find in olive oil. Why is monounsaturated fat good for your heart? It lowers the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) circulating in your blood. Studies show that monounsaturated fat may also help lower your blood sugar (1).
Another reason why avocados are also good for making plant-based desserts is that they are high in fiber. One avocado provides a whopping 54% of your daily fiber needs (2). Fiber keeps you feeling full longer and can help you lose weight. Yes, avocados are high in calories, but research shows that when you have an isocaloric (containing equal amount of calories) meal of avocado versus high carb, your body releases more of the hormones that make you feel full. In addition, your body releases less of the hormones that make you feel hungry (3). As a result, our 5- Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding will leave you feeling satiated much longer than say, a couple of cookies.
Avocados are also rich in vitamins and some minerals. Avocados are rich in Vitamins C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic acid, and potassium. Vitamins C, E, and K promote healthy skin. So by eating our 5-Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding, you will satisfy your sweet tooth and promote glowing skin in the process! What’s more, avocados are also a rich source of antioxidants which may help delay the aging process.
Maple Syrup versus Sugar: Which is Healthier?
You will also need maple syrup to sweeten this recipe. Traditionally, refined white sugar is used to sweeten chocolate pudding. When making this plant-based version of traditional chocolate pudding, you will want to swap out refined white sugar with more natural sweeteners, hence, we use maple syrup.
But is maple syrup really healthier? Yes, it is! One tablespoon of maple syrup provides 33% of your daily manganese needs (4). Manganese helps keep your bones strong and may even help you regulate your blood sugar. Refined white sugar on the other hand has no such nutritional value and on the contrary, increases your blood sugar.
Maple syrup is also a rich source of lignan phytochemicals which act as antioxidants (5)
Choosing the Right Maple Syrup
The first you should look for when buying maple syrup is that it is 100% pure. You also want to make sure that it Grade A syrup. What is Grade A syrup? Simply put, it is the highest quality syrup on the market (6).
Aside from that, the type of maple syrup you choose is a matter of personal preference. Grade A maple syrup is made up of 4 distinct colour classes. These are:
- Golden maple syrup: This syrup is golden in colour and is the lightest in colour of the 4 colour classes. It also tastes the mildest. It has a delicate taste and tastes a bit like butter popcorn.
- Amber maple syrup: This syrup is amber in colour. It has a rich flavor and tastes a bit more “maple” than golden maple syrup.
- Dark maple syrup: This syrup is dark brown in colour. It has a robust flavor which is stronger than that of amber maple syrup. Because of its robust flavour, you can also use it in savory dishes that you want to add some earthiness to, for example, curry.
- Very dark maple syrup: This syrup is darker than dark maple syrup. It has a very strong maple syrup flavor. Like dark maple syrup, it goes great in savory dishes. You can also use it when brewing your favorite beer.
Other Plant-based Sweetener Options
If you don’t have maple syrup in your pantry, you can use honey, brown rice syrup, or blackstrap molasses since these are minimally refined natural sugars. On the other hand, if you want to avoid all processing, you can make pastes out of dates or make purees out of fruits such as bananas to sweeten your desserts.
Making a paste out of dates is actually easier than you may think. To make a paste out of dates:
- Soak one cup of dates in one cup of water for at least 30 minutes
- Scoop your dates from the water and reserve your soaking water for later.
- Blend or puree your dates.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of your soaking water to your pureed dates.
- Blend until you achieve a smooth paste-like consistency, adding additional soaking water if you need to.
Health Benefits of Cacao Powder vs. Cocoa powder
Our recipe calls for cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder. So, first of all, what is the difference between the two? Well, I found this definition provided by Food Matters helpful in their article on Raw Cacao vs Cocoa (7). Here is what it says: Raw cacao is manufactured by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans while cocoa powder is raw cacao which has been roasted at high temperatures. This results in cocoa powder having less phytochemicals than raw cacao. So, if you want to reap more health benefits, you may want to use cacao powder instead of cocoa powder.
Exactly what health benefits can you reap? Research shows that the phytochemical flavanols found in cocoa powder and/or cocoa can help lower your blood pressure, prevent strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes (8). They can also lower systemic (whole body) inflammation which may be a risk factor for cancer.
Apart from the phytochemical difference, are cacao powder and cocoa powder nutritionally different? They sure are! For instance 1 tablespoon of cacao powder provides close to 40% of your daily iron needs (9). One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder on the other hand provides only 4% of your daily iron needs (10). As a result, if you are not getting enough iron in your diet, incorporating more cacao powder in your diet may be the way to go. Our 5-Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding is a delicious way to do so.
However, be aware that calcium prevents iron from being absorbed well in your body. Calcium is naturally found in dairy and may be added to some non-dairy milks such as calcium-fortified soy milk. As a result, if you want to enhance iron absorption, you can simply use our 5-Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding recipe or use unfortified plant milk to make your chocolate pudding.
On the other hand, Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better. As a result, if you are making chocolate pudding, it is best to make a plant based version like ours to reap the full benefits of cacao powder. The vitamin C in the avocado, orange juice, and orange zest up the ante on orange juice, and orange zest up the ante on iron absorption.
Other Variations of Avocado Chocolate Pudding
What’s there not to love about this recipe? Using only 5 ingredients, this recipe takes only 5 minutes to make from start to finish! However, there are other ways you can make Avocado Chocolate Pudding. Here are some of our other favorite ways to make Avocado Chocolate Pudding:
Chocolate Avocado Pudding (The Pretty Bee)
3-Ingredient Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Detoxinista)
Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Making Thyme For Health)
Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding (The Fitchen)
Raw Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Veggie Society)
Now before you go ahead and make Avocado Chocolate Pudding, I want to point out some quick tips on how to properly pit an avocado.
How to Properly Pit an Avocado
The last thing you want to do is end up in the emergency department because you cut your hand when trying to pit an avocado. Here are some tips on how to properly pit an avocado:
- Place your avocado on the cutting board and make a cut along the length of the entire avocado until your knife hits the seed.
- Rotate your avocado around by one quarter and make another cut along the length of the avocado until you just hit the seed.
- Pull apart the quarters of the avocado.
- Grasping the seed gently, remove it from the avocado flesh.
Rich and Decadent 5-Ingredient Avocado Chocolate Pudding
- Yield: 2 1x
- 1 large ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- ½ small orange, juiced and zested
- Place the avocado flesh, maple syrup, cacao powder, 2 tablespoon of orange juice, orange zest, 1/3 cup of hot water and vanilla extract in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Refrigerate the pudding for minimum 2 hours.
- Divide between serving glasses.
- Decorate with a little whipped cream, cacao nibs and chopped almonds or your choice of decoration and serve.