healthy party idea! how to host a chocolate bar

healthy party idea

Stick around here long enough and you’ll know that I’m obsessed with helping people kick their sugar addiction and love living life without it. While this can be much easier to do when you’re by yourself at home, here’s a healthy party idea that is meant for a crowd and can even be taken on the road…host a “Chocolate Bar.”

I did this for a group of ladies at our local rock climbing gym this week and it was so. much. fun! It’s easy to do too.

But what it is?

A “Chocolate Bar” is kind of like a Menchies (except without all the sugar) or a salad bar (but this is dessert). You start with a base – in this case, my favorite chocolate avocado pudding recipe, and then provide a variety of mix-in and toppings options for your crowd to pick from.

Read on for the how to…

vegan chocolate pudding

Healthy party idea: How to Host a Chocolate Bar

1) Start by making the vegan chocolate avocado pudding. Since it’s gluten and grain free, this is perfect for your gluten-free and paleo friends and family too. If you have guests with nut allergies, I recommend making a nut-free batch first and storing it away

2) Brainstorm and gather your topping and mix-in ideas. I highly recommend choosing toppings and mix-ins that are free of added sugars (and vegan too!). Otherwise, this party is not quite so healthy. Here are my suggestions:

  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pistachios)
  • Fresh fruits (raspberries, strawberries, cherries, oranges)
  • Unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, goji berries, apricots, cranberries, cherries, coconut)
  • Cacao nibs
  • Instant coffee
  • Peanut butter
  • Peppermint extract
  • Date caramel (grab my recipe for that here)

3) Create a large sign to display at the Bar plus smaller food tag cards in front of all the toppings and the pudding too. This is so important, especially if you have guests with particular food allergies, aversions or dietary preferences. If you have guests with nut allergies, I recommend keeping the nut-free pudding and topping options separate from the rest to avoid cross contamination.

4) Decide whether you will have the pudding portioned out ahead of time or will have guests help themselves to that along with their topping and mix-in selections. I shared my favorite ideas for doing this with my VIP readers in a brief video. If you aren’t already a Wildberry Press VIP and want to become one so you have access to that video, plus printable versions of the recipe and how to, click here to learn more.

5) Optional, but fun (this is a healthy party idea, after all!): Have guests name their creation, snap a selfie with it, then share their picture with you which you can use to create a shareable Chocolate Bar Photo Album!

That’s it! So easy and super fun. And if you’re looking for other healthy recipes for a party, try these ones from my blog:

vegan scalloped potatoes (easy, dairy free, gluten free)

vegan scalloped potatoes

 

With Thanksgiving coming up fast, here’s one of my favorite side dishes that’s an alternative to the traditional mashed potatoes: vegan scalloped potatoes.

Even though there isn’t bit of dairy to be found, they taste very close to the original. In fact, when one of my young nephews tried it, he said he, “really liked these cheesy potatoes.” Total vegan recipe win!! Did I let him in on the dairy-free secret? Nope.

But I’m sharing it with you. Let me know what you think!

 

vegan scalloped potatoes

 

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes (printable version below)

6 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk (see tips for more)

1 cup original hummus

1 T nutritional yeast

3/4-1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

 

  1. Add garlic cloves, soy milk, hummus, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a medium saucepan. Stir gently over medium-high heat until well-combined.
  2. In a greased casserole or baking dish (see tips for what I use), add a single layer of potatoes, then onions and repeat until all the potatoes and onions are gone, making sure you end with the potatoes. For a more finished look, place the final layer of potatoes in a spiral pattern starting on the outside of the dish and working inward and slightly overlapping each potato.
  3. Pour the sauce over top, cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. 

 

Recipe tips:
  • Onions, garlic and hummus are the key to bringing the cheesy flavor out in these vegan scalloped potatoes. My go to brand of hummus is Sabra so if you use another brand, you may have to adjust for flavor.
  • While you can slice the potatoes and onions by hand, makes it much quicker and easier to use a food processor to slice them (here’s the one I use). Or you could use a mandolin. I usually pluck out the best pieces and save them for the top for a prettier look.
  • I prefer using avocado oil for greasing the casserole or baking dish because it’s better for high heat cooking. If you can’t find avocado oil in your local grocery store, try this one.
  • I use unsweetened organic soy milk in this recipe because I think it gives the best flavor. While soy is a controversial ingredient, I personally don’t have a problem with it, especially since I use it sparingly. If you try another non-dairy milk, you may need to adjust for taste.
  • Though I love these in a round or oval casserole dish for looks, any shallow baking dish will do.

 

And if you’re looking for other potato side dish ideas for a holiday dinner, you might like these: smashed potatoes & roasted broccoli  or jeweled sweet potatoes.

 

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This easy side dish is a vegan take on a classic...cheesy but without the cheese!

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, vegan scalloped potatoes, vegan side dish
Servings: 8
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 6 medium potatoes thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk see post for more info
  • 1 cup original hummus
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add garlic cloves, soy milk, hummus, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a medium saucepan. Stir gently over medium-high heat until well-combined.
  2. In a greased casserole or baking dish (see post for what I use), add a single layer of potatoes, then onions and repeat until all the potatoes and onions are gone, making sure you end with the potatoes. For a more finished look, place the final layer of potatoes in a spiral pattern starting on the outside of the dish and working inward and slightly overlapping each potato.

  3. Pour the sauce over top, cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

 

 

 

low carb snack plate (vegan, no sugar)

Earlier in the summer, I posted this recipe for low carb crispbread – a more nutrient dense alternative to traditional crackers. They’re packed with plant-based protein in the form of  seeds and are a perfect medium for transporting all sorts of yummy veggie snackage to your mouth. (I’ve dropped the crispbread recipe below in this post, too, for your convenience.)

I made a batch recently when my husband and went away for a long weekend to the Smokey Mountains because they’re sooo portable. From experience, I’ve learned I need to pack ample snacks or simple meals to keep my nutrition on track and avoid paying $9 for a salad (which I find to be insane!).

For the trip, I just snacked on them as is or with hummus, but here are some favorite toppings if you want ideas for a low carb snack plate, appetizer or even lunch!

And tell me below, which would be your top topping pick!

 

low carb vegan snack idea

 

1. The Garden Salad: red pepper hummus (the Sabra brand is my favorite), baby spinach leaves, cucumber, tomato, peeled carrot, drizzle of salad dressing (you can try this one that I often make)

2. The Smokey Avocado: baby spinach, sliced avocado and eggplant bacon. The recipe for the eggplant bacon is for my VIP readers. If you’re not a VIP already, you can become one by signing up here

3. The Eggplant Parmesan: regular hummus, roasted eggplant, pasta sauce, cashew parmesan. You can find the pasta sauce recipe I use on the regular here and the cashew parmesan recipe here

4. The Quick Cuke: regular hummus, baby spinach, sliced cucumber

5. The EST: Like a BLT, but a wee bit healthier…regular hummus, eggplant bacon, baby spinach, and tomato

6. The Spicy ‘Cado: baby spinach, sliced avocado, garlic powder, chili pepper flakes

 

low carb crispbread
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy to make snack that is light on the carbs and heavy on the nutritional impact. So you can fuel your body and not just fill it up.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: cracker, low carb crispbread, snack, vegan
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add water and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Spread a layer of parchment paper over a large baking sheet (a flat one is best vs a jelly roll pan). Spread crispbread mixture over the paper so it's in the middle and down the length of the pan and place another sheet of parchment paper over top (the crispbread mixture should now be "sandwiched" between the parchment).

  4. Using a rolling pin, carefully press and roll the crispbread mixture, pushing it towards the outer edges of the pan until it is very flat and thin and covers most of the pan.

  5. Remover the top layer of parchment and cut the crispbread "dough" into desired cracker sizer (square or rectangle). A pizza wheel is best for this.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 13 minutes, remove and recut the crackers then turn each over individually to bake the other side. Return to the over for another 13 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and check each crispbread section for doneness. Depending on your climate and how thinly you rolled the crispbread, you may need to add on additional baking time. The crispbread should be completely dry with only slightly toasted edges. You may need to remove some of the crispbread (usually the pieces from the outer edges) before returning the remaining batch to the oven for additional drying time of 2-3 minutes. If more drying time is needed, return the pan to the oven, turn it off, close the door and let it finish crisping while the oven cools.

raw fruit crisp (vegan, no sugar)

raw vegan fruit crisp

(Printable version of this recipe are near the end of the post. This post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you.)

 

Last week, I shared one of my favorite go to recipes: raw granola. This week, I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to eat it, especially as a snack.

When you first “give up” eating certain foods, it can be hard not to lament all the foods you loved to eat B.D.C. (before the diet change). Like traditional fruit crisp.

While I’ve never been much of a pie person, I always adored crisp because of the topping. With added sugars (mostly) out of the picture, however, the traditional topping for crisp was no longer an option because it’s loaded with brown sugar.

Thankfully, I discovered this raw granola makes an excellent substitute. The dates for the brown sugar and the pecans add buttery crunchy notes. No need to find a sub for the oats, unless you need ones that are certified gluten free.

 

vegan raw granola

 

The “recipe” for this raw fruit crisp is simple:

  • one piece of raw fruit per person (e.g. apples, pears, peaches) or an individual serving size of berries per person
  • dashes of cinnamon
  • a few sprinkles of the raw granola

 

Besides the health benefits of eating raw fruit, another thing I love about this raw fruit crisp is that it’s more economical. LOL Whenever I make a cooked fruit crisp (apple, for example), I always use much more fruit than if I leave the fruit uncooked because the water evaporates as it cooks down. And with several hungry mouths to feed, ones that particularly love dessert, anything I can do to stretch our food budget is a bonus.

 

And here’s the printable version of the recipe for you:

Raw Fruit Crisp
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Simple to prepare and excellent as a snack or dessert, this raw fruit crisp contains only five ingredients!

Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: easy vegan dessert recipe, raw vegan fruit crisp
Servings: 1 per person
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 piece/serving raw fruit (e.g. apples, pears, peaches, berries, cherries)
  • dashes cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats gluten free if needed, organic is best
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients for the raw granola to a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes crumbly. Don't overmix or the pecans will release their oils. Can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks.

  2. Prepare fruit as needed (e.g. washing it, slicing/dicing) and add to an individual serving bowl along. Sprinkle cinnamon over top and add topping.

Recipe Notes

*If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. See post on why I prefer using date paste.

raw granola (vegan, no sugar, raw)

vegan raw granola

(Printable version of this recipe are near the end of the post. This post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you.)

Word on the street is that most people who visit recipe blogs want the goods up front and without the life stories. I get it. I often do that too. #guiltyascharged So I’m making a slight change in posting format to get you to the recipe faster.

However, I know there are a few of you who also enjoy learning more about the blogger behind the recipes. If that’s you, then you’ll definitely want to join my VIP newletter list where I share more about life plus give you insider tips, content and recipes. You also can find me on Instagram here.

 

Now for that granola…

This raw granola is incredibly easy to make and comes together in minutes. It can be made gluten free, if needed, simply by using gluten free oats. The best part? It satisfies your craving for something sweet, because of the dates, but without any added sugar.

You’ll notice in the recipe below that I use date paste which is just a blend of softened dates that I buy from a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern market in our area. You can find the specific brand I use here. I like to have a softened form of dates ready to go as they blend more readily, but you can make your own I’ve included the how to below and in the printable version for your convenience.

Here’s how to make the raw granola:

  • Add 3/4 cups of date paste, 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup of whole rolled oats (organic is best) to a food processor (this one is my favorite) or high speed blender (like this one).
  • Blend on high speed until the mixture becomes just crumbly. Be careful not to over-mix or the pecans will release their oils. Refer to the picture for the texture you are going for.
  • That’s it! All done.

 

While you certainly can eat it as is and straight from the jar (and I absolutely adore these tulip jars by Weck!) which I occasionally do, I think it’s best when combined with other foods, like fruit – here’s the recipe for my favorite apple crisp – or vegan, unsweetened yogurt or sprinkled over oatmeal. The raw granola can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

And here’s the printable version of the recipe:

Raw Granola
Total Time
3 mins
 

This raw granola is added sugar free and so easy to make it comes together in minutes.

Servings: 2 cups
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats, gluten free if needed, organic is best
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes crumbly. Don't overmix or the pecans will release their oils. Can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a couple weeks.

Recipe Notes

*If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. See post on why I prefer using date paste.

*See post for suggested uses.

low carb crispbread (vegan, oil free)

low carb crispbread vegan

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

 

I’m absolutely crackers over this low carb crispbread!

When I grabbed a package of crispbread from Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago, it was love at first bite and I knew I had to try and re-create it at home. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but was ecstatic with the results the first time I tried it.

Why all the excitement?

When I cleaned up my diet by going plant-based, one of the interesting “side effects” was a desire to cutting back on my bread consumption. It was something I swore I’d never do (along with going vegan, cutting out added sugars, giving up cheese, eat Brussels sprouts… ), but I  lost interest in eating bread, crackers and any heavily wheat-based foods, except for the rare occasion.

It’s like my body naturally began to recognize the difference between eating foods that are fillers and foods that are fuel.

Buuuut, the one thing I miss about crackers especially, is their perfect snackability for a quick pick-me-up or to satisfy a craving in-between meals.

Which is why I love this low carb crispbread!

It gives you all the benefits of a cracker but without the empty calories and carbs. It’s also incredibly easy to make and I worked the kinks out of the baking process to give you perfectly crispy crispbread every time. (Hint: using a pizza wheel, flat baking sheet and parchment paper.)

 

 

The health benefits:

  • Combined the seeds in this low carb crisp bread give you these nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, calcium, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, maganese, zinc, folate, phosphorous molybdenum, selenium and vitamins B1, B2, B6, E & K.
  • All of these seeds provide a hearty helping of plant-based protein and fiber
  • Zero oils makes it heart healthier and is easier on the waistline
  • Since the oat bran is whole grain, it’s fuel, not a filler.

 

 

So, go ahead, make a batch! What are you waiting for?!!

 

Oh.

 

The recipe. Right. 😉

low carb crispbread
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

An easy to make snack that is light on the carbs and heavy on the nutritional impact. So you can fuel your body and not just fill it up.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Keyword: cracker, low carb crispbread, snack, vegan
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add water and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Spread a layer of parchment paper over a large baking sheet (a flat one is best vs a jelly roll pan). Spread crispbread mixture over the paper so it's in the middle and down the length of the pan and place another sheet of parchment paper over top (the crispbread mixture should now be "sandwiched" between the parchment).

  4. Using a rolling pin, carefully press and roll the crispbread mixture, pushing it towards the outer edges of the pan until it is very flat and thin and covers most of the pan.

  5. Remover the top layer of parchment and cut the crispbread "dough" into desired cracker sizer (square or rectangle). A pizza wheel is best for this.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 13 minutes, remove and recut the crackers then turn each over individually to bake the other side. Return to the over for another 13 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and check each crispbread section for doneness. Depending on your climate and how thinly you rolled the crispbread, you may need to add on additional baking time. The crispbread should be completely dry with only slightly toasted edges. You may need to remove some of the crispbread (usually the pieces from the outer edges) before returning the remaining batch to the oven for additional drying time of 2-3 minutes. If more drying time is needed, return the pan to the oven, turn it off, close the door and let it finish crisping while the oven cools.

 

chia cherry goji berry energy bites (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you’re on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing. Fortunately, they are much easier to whip up than they are to say (LOL) with just seven ingredients.

Since the name is kinds of a mouthful, I decided to shorten it to “Bing-Go Bites” for the bing cherries and goji berries. So much easier – and fun! – to say.

I created this recipe while I was packing for our mission trip to the Dominican Republic last month. I wanted something that would travel well, include both healthy servings of plant protein and fruit and provide extra nutritional benefits like antioxidants (cacao nibs, goji berries and cherries) and omega-3 fatty acids (chia seeds). Oh, and free of added sugars of course.

That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I had been dreaming up energy bites like this for awhile but hadn’t pinned myself to actually pull something together and what better time than the day you have to leave the country? Let me tell you, I was praying these would turn out the way I had imagined since I left myself zero time to test multiple batches. So grateful God answered that prayer with a speedy “yes.”

 

 

 

Let me tell you, I’m extra grateful I had these chia cherry goji berry energy bites (a.k.a. Bing-Go bites) on hand as we encountered a two hour wait to get through the airport in Santo Domingo and the virus I ended up coming down with was starting to kick into gear. They got the stamp of approval from other team members too.

If you try these, or the other recipes on my site, I would love to hear your feedback too! Good and not-so-good. Your comments are extremely helpful as I continue to both develop and improve on the recipes I share with you.

chia cherry goji berry (Bing-Go) bites
Total Time
15 mins
 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you're on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 T chia
  • 1 T goji berries
  • 1 t cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried bing cherries
Instructions
  1. Add first four ingredients to a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the goji berries, cacao nibs and dried cherries and pulse until just combined.

  2. Scoop out mixture with a spoon and roll in your hands to form 1" balls. Place in an airtight container. Should be eaten within 1-2 days if stored in the cupboard or 5-7 days in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I used the Navitas brand of cacao nibs which I bought online at vitacost.com. But you also can find them here.
  • I found the dried Bing cherries at Trader Joe’s. You can get them online here if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. Make sure they are free of added sugar and sulfur!
  • The goji berries were from the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you can get them online here.

ode to chocolate: a valentine’s day recipe roundup

Ahhhh, chocolate!

Food in general may win men over, but you, chocolate, are definitely the way to a woman’s heart. God knew what He was doing when He made you a super-fruit and then gave us things like coffee and chili and peanut butter and dates to mix with you and make our taste buds swoon.

The only thing, chocolate, is that you’re often paired with sugar and dairy milk and other sketchy ingredients which totally drags your healthy vibe down. So not cool.

But I’m here for you, chocolate, and created this Valentine’s Day recipe round up which gives you the starring role supported by a cast of ingredients that plays to your superfood talents and lets your antioxidant superpowers shine.

Ready? Roll recipes!

 

Chocolate, you make a surprising appearance in this comfort food staple…

 

His ‘n Hers Black Bean Chili

 

 

 

And with the main meal out of the way, here are all the desserts and snacks you were made for..

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

 

Nanaimo Bars

 

Rockier Road Brownies

 

 

 

Chocolate Doughnuts with Milk Chocolate Glaze + Pink Sprinkles

 

German Chocolate Cake

 

 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

 

 

Pistachio Wrapped Chocolate Truffles

 

Dark Chocolate Pudding Mousse

 

 

So there you have it, chocolate! Your Valentine’s Day recipe round up in a nutshell.

So many recipes you were simply made for. I can’t to see what other combinations we come up with this year. Looking back, I see we haven’t made nearly enough of pairing you with peanut butter or fresh fruit or even finding ways to sneak you in where people least expect to see you. We’ll have to remedy that, you and I.

XOXO

 

P.S. In the comments, tell me which recipe you absolutely have to try and/or what kinds of flavor combinations you might like to see me team up with chocolate in future recipes. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but I always love to hear from you!

mocha hazelnut torte (vegan, added sugar free, no bake, gluten free, paleo)

I can’t decide which I like better: chocolate + coffee or chocolate + hazelnuts. Hmmmm….

If you had to pick one, what would you choose? (Tell me in the comments.)

Fortunately, we don’t have to choose one over the other because I’ve brought both together is this mocha hazelnut torte! It’s a dessert that looks decadent, but contains only whole food, added sugar free ingredients, so it’s a recipe that loves your body back.

Ever since I detoxed from sugar a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to have my cake and eat it too…just without the added sugars which keep you hooked on the very thing that brings your energy levels down and anxiety up. Thanks to dates, stevia and few other tricks, it’s made this mission much easier and I’m excited to share the results with you in my recipes.

This mocha hazelnut torte is incredibly easy to whip up and I even have a pro tip for you for easily removing those pesky hazelnut skins which would make the crust bitter. Check out the tip here over at Will Cook for Friends. It’s seriously so ridiculously easy that you’ll probably do a happy dance in your kitchen. Or at least in your head.

Because my husband and I aren’t dedicated coffee drinkers, I’ve never learned to make a good pot of coffee and don’t keep coffee in the house (shocking, I know), so I relied on Trader Joe’s Coconut Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate for the body of the torte. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find an equivalent, here’s a cold brew coffee recipe by Wellness Mama or see the “Shop the Recipe” section at the end of the post for a link on where you can buy it online.

But let’s dig in to the recipe, shall we?

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts come together in this easy, no bake dessert recipe that is free of added sugars so it loves your body back whether you have one slice...or two

Course: Dessert
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 1/4 + 2T cup cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 2 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste*
For the filling:
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1.5 cups cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 1.5 cups date paste*
  • 2 15 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture easily holds together when pinched between your fingers. Pour into a 9" spring form pan and press firmly to form the crust.

For the filling:
  1. For one of the cans of coconut milk, make sure the fat has separated from the liquid by chilling it in the fridge overnight.

  2. Depending on the size of the bowl of your food processor or blender size, you may need to do the filling in two equal batches  to ensure everything mixes thoroughly.

  3. First combine the avocado, cocoa powder, date paste, vanilla, stevia, salt and one can of coconut milk.

  4. With the other can, remove the fat and then add it to the other filling ingredients along with the coffee concentrate. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well blended and very smooth.

  5. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with foil and chill for at least four hours before serving. It's best if kept refrigerated. Decorate with hazelnuts or fresh fruit if desired.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth to make about 1/2 cup of date paste. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. Multiply quantities of dates as needed to make enough date paste for your recipe.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Cocoa powder: for fair trade cocoa powder which helps support farmers at fair wages, Equal Exchange is an excellent brand with a very rich cocoa flavor. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it online here.
  • Trader Joe’s coconut cold-brew coffee concentrate can also be found online here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

south-of-the-border party dip (vegan, oil free, added sugar free)

 

I could happily eat Mexican-style foods most days of the week. It’s one of the few cuisines that easily adapts to a plant-based diet without extraordinary effort or feeling like something is missing. Meat- and cheese-lovers might disagree, but as a former meat- and cheese-lover, this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

While this dip is made for the party scene, I also love it as a main, side or lunch any day of the week. It’s best when eaten within the first day, but can hold up in the fridge for a couple of days, although the avocado isn’t too happy about that.

This south-of-the-border party dip was inspired by one shared at a friend’s, but I “beefed” the recipe up with the addition of chickpeas plus a couple south-of-the-border ingredients: jalapenos and jicama.

 

 

 

If you’ve never tried jicama (pronounced hee-cama), it’s a root vegetable that has a pleasant crunchy texture and the flavor reminds me of apples, although not as sweet or pungent. To prepare it, all you do is peel it and slice as desired – for this recipe, I diced it. See the “Shop the Recipe” guide under the recipe for where you can find it.

This is a recipe where you can play with the ratios of ingredients and choose what to include and what to leave out, but of course, I recommend trying the whole kit and caboodle first as suggested in the recipe below. Since most of my family like foods on the mild side, I kept the jalapeno peppers to a minimum – really just enough to hint at some heat, but if you like things spicy, you’ll want to toss in more.

 

South-of-the-Border Party Dip
Prep Time
15 mins
 

A hearty, refreshing dip that is easy to pull together especially for large gatherings or when you want to whip up a quick meal.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12-14 green onions, diced
  • 1-1.5 cups corn kernals
  • 1-1.5 cups diced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup, packed cilantro
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced fine (optional)
  • 3/4-1 cup jicama, diced (optional)
Dressing Ingredients
  • 2-3 T veggie stock
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. With the exception of the avocado, add all the dip ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the avocado just before serving, coating it with extra lime juice to slow the browning.

  2. Combine the dressing ingredients, pour over the dip and stir to coat.

Serve with organic tortilla chips or combine it with lettuce for a hearty salad.

     

     

     

    (contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

    • I used Eden Organics black beans and chickpeas for this recipe. I love that they are unsalted! If you can’t find them in your local store, you can get them here.
    • I always buy my corn organically because of GMOs in conventional corn. I get mine in bulk at BJs (a wholesale club), but Trader Joe’s also carries it. You also could look for the Woodstock brand in your local grocery store if they cater to an organic market. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!
    • I bought my jicama at Whole Foods, but you could also look for it at Mexican grocery stores or larger grocery stores with an expanded selection of fruits and veggies may carry it.