Recipe from our chefs: Secret-ingredient, zero-dairy chocolate pudding

If you’re looking for an alternative snack to curb your craving for the sweet stuff, the chefs of Nutrition Services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have a "secret-ingredient" chocolate pudding recipe for you.

Or try it instead of prepackaged pudding cups in lunches.

The secret? It’s made with avocado!

How is the recipe sweetened? Pureed dates and banana.

Adding vanilla is a great ingredient to amp up your sweet dishes because it mimics the effect of sweetness on your tongue. By putting in the vanilla, you’re fooling your taste buds to think that the dish is sweeter than it actually is.

Why avocados are a helpful addition

From dietitian Liz Weinandy:

  • Though technically a fruit, we classify avocados as a fat.
  • They’re mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, of which many people don't get enough.
  • They’re a great source of potassium and magnesium, which can help lower blood pressure, and they’re high in fiber, which a great majority of Americans lack.
  • Half of a medium avocado is about 140 calories and can easily fit into a healthy diet. To compare, three Oreos have 150 calories — and none of these health benefits.

Recipe ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup pitted dates (still sugary, but a beneficial substitute because they’re a decent source of fiber and some minerals, including potassium and iron)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • To garnish: raw almonds or pistachios, powdered sugar, cardamom powder or chocolate shavings

Pro tip: Choosing avocados. You’ll know you have a ripe avocado if your thumb leaves a slight indentation when you push on it. Also, the remnant of the stem should pop off easily. If you put a hard, green avocado in a paper bag with a banana, gas that seeps from the banana will ripen the avocado in a day or so.

Recipe steps:

  1. Soak the dates in hot water for an hour and a half (or in warm water for three hours). This step will ensure that the dates’ skins are completely soft and blend up smoothly.
  2. Put the meat from the avocados along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  3. Puree the ingredients on high, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed evenly. Blend for three to four minutes until it’s really smooth.
  4. Dish out servings — any fun bowl or glass will do. Chill. If covered, the pudding will keep in the fridge for two to three days.
  5. If you like, add a sprinkle of nuts, a dusting of powdered sugar or a dash of cardamom for a nice Mediterranean flavor.

Remember: Make sure each serving fits in one of your smallest bowls to ensure that the calories, fat and sugar remain reasonable amounts of your daily intake.

Nutritional information:

Makes eight servings

Calories: 190
Fat: 11g
Sodium: 0mg
Carbs: 24g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 3g

Nutrition Services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offers nutrition counseling, classes and more for patients and the community

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