Guilt-free Gelato – Raw, Vegan, 1-button, 5-ingredient Deliciousness

Yes, I have been MIA of late.

The lack of posts are attributed to moi doing more eating than ‘raw food-ing’ of late.  Winter does that to the best of us.  (At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😛 )

Let me make it up to you!  An easy peasy dessert awaits.

Late in the night, hubby and I had a hankering for something sweet.  However that something sweet couldn’t be the calorific equivalent to slaving away for 2 hours on a treadmill.

Enter some staple vegan ingredients.

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

I was all out of frozen bananas (my go-to substitute for icecream), but was determined to make this work.

Throwing everything together in my trusty kick-ass blender, I pressed a button and waited for the magic to happen

Guilt-free Gelato – Raw Vegan Choc-Blueberry 

handful frozen blueberries
2 tbs agave
1/4 cup coconut cream
4-5 tbs raw cacao powder + optional raw carob nibs
1 tsp vanilla essence
ice blocks (approx 3-5)

Blitz the heck out of it till creamy.  Scoff.

Ohh, so good.  The creaminess of the coconut combined with the obliterated ice blocks gave it a soft-serve luxurious texture.  I decorated with a sprinkling of shredded coconut on top.

Hubby gave it the thumbs up too.

The flavour combinations are endless!

Does anyone have any rare flavoured gelato recipes?  I’d be keen to try something out of the ordinary, like fig and macadamia perhaps?

instant gelato, blender required.

instant gelato, blender required.

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Raw. Decadent. Thick. Pudding. Psyllium?

Spot the odd one out.  Psyllium… first off, what is it?

Psyllium is usually sold as psyllium husk in powder form. You can find it in health food stores, and its stocked in IGA, Coles and Woolies too.  Its often marketed as a colon cleanser, a reliable and natural remedy for constipation.  So sexy – not.

This recipe came by accident.

My intention was to make chia pudding, but instead of reaching for the chia seed container I poured in psyllium husks instead!  D’oh!  My mistake turned into a discovery… pysllium has the same effect as chia seeds poured into liquid, mixed and left to set.  Thickens to a pudding or jelly very nicely!

Why I didn’t realise this earlier I don’t know.  I’d known about psyllium for quite a number of years, but the usual M.O. of taking psyllium is mixing a tablespoon with water or juice, or sprinkling it over cereal.  As I’d never had a problem with *ahem* regularity, I didn’t investigate further uses and applications.

At a fraction of the price of chia seeds, I’ve found a new egg (1 tbs psyllium + 2 tbs water) and agar-agar replacer for raw treats.  Win!  For my gluten-intolerant bakers, you can morph baked goods into gluten-free versions by substituting psyllium for regular flour.  I imagine it would give an extra ‘lift’ when baking.  Taking advantage of its thickening ability, it could be added to soups and stews to generate a creamier consistency too.

psyllium pudding

psyllium pudding

Important notes:  make sure you drink extra water to ensure the psyllium can move easily through the colon. Its fibres absorb waste in the stomach and carry it out from the colon.  Psyllium should be taken on an empty stomach.  Regular intake is said to promote weight loss as it shifts stubborn built-up body toxins.

Without further ado, here’s a pudding recipe even a man can’t stuff up.

Raw Cacao Coconut Pudding

1-2 tbs psyllium husk (start with 1 tbs if you’re not accustomed to taking psyllium)
stevia or agave, to taste
2-3 tbs raw cacao powder
2-3 tbs shredded coconut
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used oat)

Mix ingredients into a large mug or small bowl.  Let it thicken – leave for an hour or so.

As it was a blistery cold and windy night, I heated the oat milk and poured it in.  The heat enabled it to thicken instantly.. probably less than a minute of stirring it.

I had a thick rich gooey chocolatey treat – minus the guilt!

What other flavour variations can you come up with?

Hope you’re staying warm and toasty … till next time.

pudding in a cup

pudding in a cup

Crazy fo’ cacao

cacao bean and cacao powder

cacao bean and cacao powder

Ok, nearly everybody knows dark chocolate is good for you.  Why?  Out of all the chocolates (ie. white, milk, dark) it’s the richest in antioxidants and heart-healthy polyphenols and flavanols.  This is attributed to the cacao content.

But have you heard about its other surprising benefits – cavity inhibitor or intelligence booster, you say?  Further research into cacao:

1.  A naturally occurring cocoa-powder extract may be added to future toothpastes in the US.  Apparently the extract hardens tooth enamel.  Harder enamel = stronger teeth = added resistance to decay.

2. Eating just one serve of chocolate each week lowers the likelihood of a stroke by 22% compared to non-chocolate eaters.  The likely cause is the high flavonoid content.  Research also indicated that even in the event of a stroke, chocolate eaters were 54% more likely to recover!

3. Chocolate lowers blood pressure in hypertension sufferers.  How?  The flavanols assist in widening blood vessels.  Apparently a 125kJ serve each day was sufficient to have a beneficial impact on blood pressure.

4.  Flavanols and antioxidants are known to increase blood flow to not only the brain but the retina.  The effects of this are improved mental clarity and eyesight.  Win!

open cacao bean

open cacao bean

As if you needed more reasons to eat chocolate, right?  I know I don’t need any.  As hubby will confirm, I find it difficult to function without having some every day.

To celebrate the research findings from scientists around the world.. it is only fitting to share a raw chocolate recipe!

This basic recipe can be tweaked according to your liking!  Choose any toppings you like, you are only limited by your imagination.  Chop some nuts (pistaschio, almond, macadamia etc), dried fruit (apricot, figs, goji berries), carob nibs, even crystallized ginger.  Other recipes I’ve seen have added essential oils such as peppermint and orange.

Ingredients:

100g melted coconut oil

150g raw cacao powder

50g melted cocoa butter

6-8 tbs agave / stevia / your sweetener of choice

1/2 cup toppings

choc + coconut

choc + coconut

Food process all ingredients except the toppings. (If you don’t have a food processor just make sure you mix very well in a bowl).

Taste – if not sweet enough for your palate, add in more agave or whatever sweetener you are using.

Stir in toppings into the melted cacao mixture thoroughly.

Spread with a spatula on a large flat surface such as a baking tray or you can pour them into ice block trays.

Refrigerate until set (minimum 1 hour).

Revisit childhood and proceed to lick spatula and bowl clean.  Sigh blissfully.

TIP:  Adding in bits of coconut flesh is delish.

Try not to scoff all in one sitting!  Freezes well 🙂