Beet Chocolate and Date Mousse (Vegan)

Oh sweet chocolate, how I love thee! Chocolate, beetroot, and dates create one ode-worthy healthy dessert. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing its praises while frantically ravaging every bite down to the last microscopic morsel on the spoon. 

Besides its delicious flavor, raw cacao contains many fantastic health benefits. Known for being a "happy food," studies have shown that cacao (chocolate), is a stellar mood enhancer, as it can increase certain neurotransmitters promoting a sense of well-being. "The same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate" (Food Matters). Raw cacao is also high in antioxidants and trace minerals, protects nerve cells, improves circulation, and increases energy. There are so many amazing reasons to eat more chocolate. Wahoo! 

What is the Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa? 

Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. Cocoa (like in hot chocolates and chocolate bars) may look like cacao, but it is not the same. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures which can change the molecular structure of the cacao bean reducing its overall nutritional value. However, both are beneficial for health. 

Raw cacao combined with the superhero benefits of beetroot (antioxidants, minerals, and fiber) provides one deliciously nutritious dessert. Beets and Medjool dates are high in natural sugar (which is why I love using them in desserts), so this dessert is sweet enough without extra sugar. For a sweeter flavor, add sweetener of your choice. Grab a spoon and dig into this scrumptious treat!

For more delicious ways to use cacao, try this Beet Berry and Cacao Smoothie

Are you a raw cacao fan? What are your favorite ways to cook with or eat cacao? 


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small-medium beetroot, cooked and peeled (use 2-3 beets for more BEETastic flavor): for easy prep, use ready-to-eat packaged baby beets, such as LoveBeets. 
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 4 heaping tbsp coconut cream (if using coconut or almond milk, use 2-3 tbsp. Coconut cream is a thicker consistency)
  • 4 soaked pitted Medjool dates and 1 tbsp soaked liquid
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1/4 cup water (only as needed for processing)
  • 1 tbsp raw almond-butter
  • dash of cayenne or chili powder

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • cacao nibs, shredded coconut, or chopped nuts
  • blueberries, peaches, raspberries, or strawberries
  • fresh mint
  • gluten-free oats, granola, etc. 

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak 4 pitted Medjool dates for 1/2 to 1 hour. 

2. In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients.

3. Blend well, stopping frequently to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Begin blending again, adding a little water, coconut water, or coconut milk as needed to create a light and smooth mousse consistency. 

4. Spoon equal amounts into dessert glasses. Top with preferred toppings, such as fruit, cacao nibs, or coconut shreds. Chill in fridge for at least 20 mins before serving. 

5. Serve in a glass layering with gluten-free oats, granola, or Greek-yogurt (non-vegan option).

 

Vegan Beet Fudge

Hot diggity! This vegan beet fudge is decadent. The combination of coconut, beets, and dark chocolate is absolutely stunning, especially if you are a lover of beets. Serve this fudge for a family dessert, for Valentine's Day to celebrate the beet's vibrant red and pink hues, or for a way to experience a totally new presentation of beets, just for the heck of it. 

In order to create the perfect texture for these vegan fudge bites, it is essential to use a Vitamix or incredibly awesome high-speed blender or food processor. However, if the texture is not stellar, the beet fudge yumminess factor trumps desired texture. Also, you definitely need to use coconut butter as the texture and flavor largely depend on that specific ingredient. 

Vegan Beet Fudge

INGREDIENTS

Beet Fudge Ingredients

  • one heaping cup of chopped steamed beets (about 8oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia (or your preferred sweetener)
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup softened coconut butter* + 1 tablespoon (about 5 oz)
  • 1-2 tablespoons water (you could do 1 tablespoon maple syrup if more sweetness is desired)

*Coconut butter is different from coconut oil. Coconut oil is the oil extracted from coconut meat. Coconut butter is the whole meat of the coconut pureed into a butter. Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter is a favorite!

Dark Chocolate Sauce Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder (1 oz) -could use regular cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar, maples syrup, agave or honey (3oz)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid (around 2 1/4oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

to make fudge

1. Cut beets into quarters and steam until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Leave skins on. Beets retain more vibrant color and nutrients when skins are left on during steaming or cooking (a beet is cooked when you can easily insert a fork into its center). Peel beets. 

2. Place all ingredients into a Vitamix or food processor.

3. Soften the coconut butter before measuring out 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon. The one tablespoon is added because the 1/2 cup made the consistency just a tad too soft; adding in that extra tablespoon should help.

4. Blend until smooth and creamy. This works best if all ingredients are at room temperature.

5. Pour into your pan of choice, like a small ceramic carafe. 

6. Set in freezer or fridge for 3-5 hours or until firm to touch.

7. Remove from pan, or if you used a knife-friendly pan, you can cut into slices and carefully remove.

to make chocolate sauce

1. Gather ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.

2. With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate sauce over your beet fudge pieces.

3. Coconut nectar makes the chocolate sauce really thick and sticky, but if you cannot locate coconut nectar, substitute maple syrup, agave, or honey to create a good texture. 

4. If you have any leftovers, store in refrigerator for 5-6 days. 

Photo Credit & Recipe adapted from Purely Twins.


Beet Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Vegan and Gluten-Free Beet Chocolate Cupcakes.jpg

This decadent dessert is chocolate and beet goodness all condensed into a vegan and gluten-free cupcake. Want to "sneak" some vegetables into dessert for the kiddos? Beets are heart healthy and filled with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Your heart will "BEET" for these cupcakes! 

I was first introduced to these delightful cupcakes while attending a baby shower in Long Beach catered by Hilary Zuraspi, who baked brilliant vegan and gluten-free beet chocolate cupcakes along with a vast array of vegan dishes. Beet cupcakes, baby shower shenanigans, beautiful surroundings in nature with friends: it was the perfect afternoon for celebrating. Brenda and Robby, we are excited to meet your little one! 

Adapted from the Minimalist Baker's recipe, these cupcakes are light, moist, and super chocolaty. If vegan and gluten-free baking is your preference, these cupcakes are perfect for you; be prepared for shimmies and smiles! For beet non-enthusiasts, I double-dog dare you to indulge and try this recipe. You may discover a new-found love affair with beets. Happy baking! 

Do you have a favorite veggie dessert? Please share. I love trying new recipes! 


INGREDIENTS

for cupcakes

  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flax seed meal + 5 Tbsp water) or other vegan egg substitute, such as chia seeds & water (3:1 ratio)
  • scant 1/2 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk + 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar (sub honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup cane or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter (coconut butter is also an option)
  • 1 cup beet puree (sub butternut squash, applesauce, or another hearty fruit puree with varied results)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (finely ground)
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend

for vegan frosting

for mascarpone orange frosting, visit Just Beet It's Beet Chocolate Cupcakes (non-vegan)

DIRECTIONS (as featured on Minimalist Baker)

1.  FOR BEETS: To roast beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees F, drizzle 2 large beets with oil of choice and wrap in foil. Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until a knife slides through easily. Peel away skins by rubbing foil around and it should shed off easily. Add beets to a food processor or blender and add 1/4 cup liquid of choice (water or orange juice). Blend until creamy, smooth and pourable, scraping down sides as needed. Otherwise, sub another fruit puree, such as applesauce, with varied results. 

If time and prep is an issue, use natural organic packaged beets. Love Beets provides fresh, prepared beets for a no-fuss way to eat beets. 

2. FOR CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 11 muffins with paper liners or lightly grease. Also measure out almond milk and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle while moving onto the next step.

3. Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.

4. Add baking soda to the almond milk vinegar mixture and stir. It should fizz.

5. Add the sugar, maple syrup and almond milk mixture to the flax egg and beat to combine. Then add beet puree, melted coconut oil, salt and mix.

6. Add cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour and gluten free flour blend and beat to combine. If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more almond milk, but it should be perfect. If too thin, add a little more gluten free flour blend + cocoa powder. It should resemble a thin batter that’s pourable.

7. Divide batter evenly between muffin tins (should be enough for between 11), filling 3/4 full.

8. Bake for 29-34 minutes or until puffy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

9. Let rest in the tin for 10-15 minutes, and then remove. Let cupcakes cool COMPLETELY on a cooling rack. Don’t try to sample early because they need to fully cool or they tend to stick to the wrappers.

10. FOR FROSTING: Add almond milk to your rinsed out mixing bowl from earlier and microwave for 1 minute. (Alternatively, heat in a saucepan until just simmering and then transfer back to mixing bowl.)

11. Immediately add chocolate to warm milk but don’t touch for 2 minutes so it can melt.

12. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate, and then add softened butter and cover. Let rest untouched for another 10 minutes to meddle.

13. Use your mixer to beat the mixture together. Then add 1 cup powdered sugar, mix again, and place in fridge to set for 20-30 minutes. You will know the frosting is ready when you tip it and the texture is slow to move.

14. Remove from fridge and beat again. If it’s still too thin, add another 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Chilling for a total of 20 minutes and adding 1 3/4 cups total powdered sugar seems about perfect.

15. Frost cupcakes generously. You will likely have leftover frosting. Sprinkles, mint leaves, or fresh raspberries would make the perfect garnish.

16. Will keep well-covered at room temperature for several days, though best when fresh. 

Recipe by Minimalist Baker/Photo Credit (Photo #2 - ingredients): Minimalist Baker


Red Velvet Beet Espresso Brownies

red velvet beet brownies

Beets, Espresso, and Chocolate . . . Oh My!

These brownies will delight your soul. I discovered this recipe on gardenerd (founded by the fabulous Christy Wilhelmi) and fell in love with the scrumptious combination of beets, espresso, and chocolate, a dream come true! Although I prefer a low sugar diet, there are ways to include healthier ingredients if that is also your preference. 1) Replace sugar with sugar-free applesauce (brownie consistency will vary) or a dash of Stevia, and 2) Use a gluten-free flour (brownies may be more dense) if you are gluten sensitive. Experiment with ingredients and share your experiences with me. Cheers to beets and decadent desserts! 


INGREDIENTS (Makes 16 brownies)

  • 2 large cooked beets (Fresh is best; however, Love Beets and Trader Joe's both provide ready-to-eat beets as an easy, no-fuss alternative)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (or 2 Tbsp coconut oil) 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (or egg substitute)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder or real espresso grounds (use decaf instant coffee as a substitute if avoiding caffeine)
  • ½ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Just Beet It Notes

Beets retain more of their vibrant color when cooked or steamed with their skins. 

Use raw cacao powder if you want a healthy chocolate flavor. Raw Cacao contains more nutrients than cocoa powder. 

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Purée beets in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Set aside.

3. Whisk together butter and sugar in bowl until smooth. Add vanilla, and then whisk in eggs one at a time. Stir in beets.

4. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in separate bowl. Fold flour mixture into beet mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool, then cut into 16 squares.

The natural moist texture of beets keeps these brownies tender.

Photo Credit: Vegetarian Times


Beet Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone and Orange Frosting (beet-dyed)

Beet Chocolate Cupcakes

Beets in a dessert? That may sound like crazy talk; however, beetroots contain natural sugar and a unique taste making them a wonderful vegetable to add to desserts. I am a dessert fiend, so I have to keep my composure and not devour an entire batch of these beet chocolate cupcakes. 

The beets and applesauce retain the cupcakes' moisture as gluten-free flour is often more dense than all-purpose flour. Fresh is best, but for the easy factor, using organic packagedbeets is also a great option. Top cupcakes with your favorite frosting. Mascarpone and citrus frosting (see below) is one of my favorites. Add a hint of orange-juice dyed pink with beet juice for flair.

Want to Create a Healthy, Natural Red Dye?  

Use beets! Beet dye is the perfect alternative to synthetic, artificial red food coloring. Cheers to your beet dessert adventures! 


INGREDIENTS

for beet chocolate cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked, mashed (or puree) red table beets
  • 1/2 cup unsalted grass-fed butter (use 1-2 tbsps of coconut oil as an alternative)
  • 2/3 cup raw cocoa
  • 1 1/8 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice - I tend to avoid using added sugar when baking with beets as they are naturally sweet - sweeten to your preference)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (Almond flour creates denser cupcakes, so use all-purpose flour if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

for Mascarpone Orange Frosting (Beet Dyed) 

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream (optional-coconut butter)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (varies depending on your preference for sweetness)
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice (optional)
  • 1-4 tbsp beet dye (creating red dye.)

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Cook beets unless you are using prepared baby beets. Beets (with their skins) can be steamed for 15-20 minutes, roasted, or boiled. Beets need to be cooked with skins removed and mashed in order to blend. Mixing in a food processor works best to create a beet puree. 

3. In a bowl, combine cocoa, applesauce and vanilla, and mix well. In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar (if using), cinnamon, and salt. Mix well and add to cocoa mixture. 

4. Blend in eggs, butter (softened), and beets. Beat two-three minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

5. Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Cupcakes will continue cooking for a few minutes after removed from the oven. 

6. Let the cupcakes cool on rack. 

Directions for Mascarpone Orange Frosting (Beet Dyed)

1. In a medium bowl, use a handheld mixer and whip the chilled cream (or coconut butter) until texture becomes slightly stiff. If using coconut butter, texture will remain soft and less firm than heavy cream. Add vanilla extract and sugar and beat until mixed.

2. Slowly add mascarpone cheese by adding spoonfuls at a time, mixing on slow speed, just long enough so the mascarpone is mixed.

3. Lastly, add orange juice and beet dye (Beet dye measurement varies based on preferred color. Add a few drops at a time until desired color is achieved). Slowly incorporate both orange juice and beet dye.  

4. Place the icing in the fridge for about an hour to chill. The frosting becomes soft, so refrigerating is best until ready to be served.