Heart-Healthy Indulgence: Avocado Cacao Pudding

If you ask me, orange and chocolate (dark) are a match made in foodie heaven! I am quite proud of this recipe which I like to call my “heart- healthy indulgence,” and here is why.
Avocados are probably not the first foods that spring to mind when a sweet craving strikes. However, avocados take on various flavors really well, specifically chocolate, vanilla and orange. The creaminess makes them a perfect base for a mousse or in this case a pudding.
Bonus points: Avocados are superfoods! Rich in heart-healthy fatty acids, potassium, fiber and magnesium, they top my list for nutrition rock stars! Plus they are an excellent substitute for dairy and eggs often incorporated into sweet treats. Vegans you are so welcome!
A few words on chocolate, which has also enjoyed the medicinal spotlight with countless research demonstrating its health benefits..
Thanks to naturally-occurring phytochemicals in cacao known as “flavanols” we can indulge with far less guilt! Research suggests that these antioxidant compounds, mostly epicatechin, but also catechin and procyanidins, which are richest in dark chocolate, may increase vascular dilation and improve blood flow, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Not too shabby!
Oranges and all citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, calcium and potassium and add the perfect kick! If you use the zest please make sure I­t­ is pesticide-free. I usually soak my fruit in a bath of white vinegar and sea salt for about 10 minutes. I like to think that does the trick.
I used dates, which are like nature’s candy to sweeten the pudding. While they do contain natural fructose, the fiber matrix provides added benefits for our gut microbiome. Feel free to omit them or use a smaller amount.

OK..time to eat. Enjoy!

1 Avocado
2/3 cup almond milk
Juice and zest of a mandarin
3 Tbsp unsweetened raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of pink Himalayan salt
2 pitted dates
Blend and indulge! I like to refrigerate the pudding and enjoy it cold..well if it even makes it to the fridge 😉
Happy & Healthy Cravings! 🙂

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