Spiced Chocolate Avocado Mousse with Pomegranate and Cacao Nibs


This past week I assisted my dear friend Ali Miller of Naturally Nourished with a Food-As-Medicine cooking class on Aphrodisiac Foods and Chocolate Avocado Mousse was on the menu.  Check out her version, a list of upcoming cooking classes, and her awesome practice, here.

If you’ve never had chocolate avocado mousse, or if you think it sounds weird, you absolutely must try it.  You also might have been living under a rock for the past couple years, because this is definitely a thing.  We served an early version on my menu at Roots Juice and I’ve tried a million different variations since then, all of them delightful.  And for Valentine’s Day, I quite frankly cannot think of anything sexier than creamy avocados, rich chocolate, spicy cayenne and tart pomegranate seeds!

Chocolate goes well with pretty much everything, avocados included.  Their creaminess lends an incredibly creamy mousse texture without any dairy added. This is the perfect recipe when you’ve got very ripe to overripe avocados, as the chocolate will camouflage any brown spots.  Do yourself a favor and use raw cacao powder in this recipe if you can, not cocoa powder, as it has a higher antioxidant load and is less processed .

I love a subtle spiciness with my chocolate, and the cayenne really revs up this dessert (as well as its eater).  You can certainly experiment with other spice combinations as well.

Serves 4
2 avocados, halved and pitted
1/3 cup raw cacao powder 
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch cinnamon
pinch cardamom
pinch cayenne
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk, as needed
pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs to garnish

Puree the avocado until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Add the cacao powder, sweetener of choice, vanilla and spices.  Blend until silky smooth, adding the milk one tablespoon at a time as needed.  Taste and adjust sweetness and spices.  Serve with pomegranate seeds and cacao nibs.

Goji Almond Protein Bars


I’m not sure which I like better, these little bars or this adorable heart print cake stand I just got from Sur La Table.  It’s part of their Valentine’s Day collection, and I’m admittedly obsessed with all things hearts, this time of year and always.  Of course, you can’t eat the cake stand.  These bars are a perfect mid-morning, pre-workout or anytime snack, packing about 11 grams of protein each.  While typical protein bars are dense and heavy, these bars are surprisingly light and crunchy.  They’re also gluten free, made with airy brown rice puffs, almonds, coconut and goji berries.  The great thing is, once you’ve got the recipe down, you can really substitute any combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  I’m dreaming up a version dipped in dark chocolate as we speak…stay tuned for that!

Makes about 10 1-inch x 3- inch bars

1/2 cup nut butter of your choice (I used almond)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch cinnamon
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
2 scoops grass fed whey protein powder, or protein powder of your choice
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried goji berries

Combine the brown rice cereal, protein powder, coconut, almonds and goji berries in a medium bowl.

Heat the nut butter and honey over medium low heat until bubbling. Remove from heat. Stir in the sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

Pour the nut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Press into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper, or into bar molds like these! Place in the refrigerator until firm, then cut into bars or pop out of molds.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week…if they last that long.