February is heart health month and on Valentine’s Day, give your heart what it deserves! Treat the ones you love and yourself with a heart-healthy dessert.
I created this nutritious chocolate pudding with cashew cream, pure cacao powder, dates, maple syrup and freshly squeezed orange juice. Made with raw ingredients, there’s no white sugar and no dairy products in this pudding. It’s creamy, nutritious and oh-so-delicious! You can read about the health benefits of cashew cream and how to make it here.
Dates are a great substitute to white sugar because, like many fruit, they are good for your heart. They’re fat-free and they don’t affect your cholesterol. They’re also packed with fibre, minerals and vitamins. Dates have a low-glycemic index, which means that they won’t cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar after you eat them.
Pure maple syrup is also a great alternative to white sugar. The syrup contains minerals, vitamins and a host of antioxidants. However, if you’re diabetic, bear in mind that dates and maple syrup are high in natural sugars and carbohydrate and shouldn’t be used as a treatment for diabetes. In addition, people with diabetes need to moderate their fruit juice intake. With carbohydrate counting and glucose monitoring, dates, maple syrup and fruit juice can be safely incorporated in a diabetic diet.
Not only is this chocolate pudding healthy and delicious, it’s also simple to make. To make it even more heart-healthy, top it up with pomegranate seeds or other fresh seasonal fruit. Have a great Valentine’s Day!
Creamy Chocolate Pudding
- 2¼ cups cashew cream*
- 4 fresh medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsps maple syrup
- 4 tbsps 100% cacao powder (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup 100% pink grapefruit or orange juice (no sugar added)
- Pomegranate seeds or other seasonal fruit (for topping)
In a small and narrow pot on stove top, heat the cashew cream, pitted dates and maple syrup. Bring to the boil and quickly reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken whilst stirring and banging the dates with a wooden spoon or potato masher until they dissolve.
Add the fresh juice and cacao powder and stir on low heat for one minute.
Remove from heat and slightly process the pudding directly in the pot with a handheld blender to make it extra smooth.
Pour into 4 or 5 ramekins or small cups and let cool at room temperature. Put in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve topped with fresh fruit or a topping of your choice.