Avocado, Chocolate, and Sweet Potato Pudding
July 28, 2010

Last September, when I posted my much adored recipe for chocomole, I got a ton of enthusiastic responses. Since then, I’ve seen many stellar renditions of the recipe around the blogosphere, as well as a few variations. My favorite of these is Ashley’s choco-banana-mole, which you check out here!

This week, I made what I think is my favorite variation so far: choco-sweet-potato-mole. Or, to abandon these disgustingly cutesy nicknames, avocado, sweet potato, and chocolate pudding.

The seed of this recipe was planted when a client asked me whether or not chocomole would make for an appropriate breakfast. My thought was, “not exactly.” It’s loaded with simple sugars and healthy fat–both of which are crucial for energy–but I’d say that it would have a lot more staying power as a breakfast option if it also had some complex carbs. I, and many others, have a hard time making it to lunch without them! An obvious option is to spread chocomole on sprouted grain toast, which I love to do. But how about a breakfast pudding that’s got some polysaccharides in it already?

Enter the mighty sweet potato. Full of energy yielding starch–not to mention a ton of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6–sweet ‘taters are a nutritious and hearty breakfast food. Couple them with the healthy fats in the avocado and the sugars in the dates, and you have a veritable energy powerhouse in a bowl! See for yourself:

Avocado, Chocolate, and Sweet Potato Pudding (serves 3-4)

1/2 medium sweet potato or yam, cooked
1 medium avocado
4-6 dates, pitted and soaked
2 tbsp carob or chocolate powder
1/4 cup water + more for blending

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till they’re getting mixed. Turn the machine on, and with the motor running, drizzle in more water until the pudding is 100% smooth and creamy.

Serve with toast, with fruit, or alone. Any way you serve it, the stuff is heavenly. I might go so far as to say I like it more than my original!

This will be the autumn of potato puddings!

On another note, do you remember a week or two ago, when I wrote up my review of The Pump? I noted in that post that one of my culinary dreams is for omnivorous restaurants to start offering at least two or three vegan entrees on their menus. Dearly though I love to eat at vegan restaurants, I find restaurant segretation a bit counterproductive, because it can contribute to the idea that veganism is “other.” What would set a new example would be for all restaurants–including gourmet spots–to show their patrons that meals composed entirely of plant foods are every bit as satisfying and demonstrative of culinary creativity as other foods. I don’t think that the public will get comfortable with the idea that a “real meal” doesn’t have to revolve around an animal protein until that message is drummed home in restaurant culture. And at the moment, too many chefs and “foodies” do their best to share the opposite message, mocking vegans whenever they can.

Well, one restaurant experience I had this week gave me a lot of hope. It was a steamy night in the West Village, and a friend of mine and I were ready to settle on a dinner spot. We happened upon Smorgas, a Scandinavian restaurant; a quick glance at the menu suggested that it had plenty of salads. Great, I though, this’ll work.

What I didn’t realize till I sat down was that the vegan options went well beyond salad! There was a vegan burger, a portobello mushroom dish, and–the kicker–a vegan spin on the restaurant’s in house Swedish meatballs, made with kasha (for those of you who are on the website, I know it says “vegetarian,” but I was careful to confirm that these were, indeed, vegan). Not only that, but the soup of the night was a cold beet soup, and with the simply removal of sour cream garnish, that was vegan, too.

Where do I begin saying how cool this was? For once, I had the luxury of choice at a restaurant; typically, my meal is decided for me by what’s available. And I loved that the restaurant’s signature dish–meatballs–were offered in an omnivorous AND vegan form. “Look,” the menu seemed to declare, “all beloved dishes can be made with animal or plant foods. Which do you choose?”

I really hope that more restaurants start to follow this kind of example. It’s no fun when I go out to eat and feel as though the only thing I can have is a grilled veggie plate or salad; it’s equally un-fun when my omni friends feel forced to eat dishes they don’t enjoy at vegan restaurants with me. Can’t we all just get along?

My friend played cameraman for me with his phone. As you can see, the dish was hearty and generous:


As I was eating, my friend asked a good question. “Would you know if it tasted like meat?” he said. Well, yeah, I think I would. I may have stopped eating red meat ages ago, but I haven’t entirely forgotten what meatballs are like! Honestly, though, my memories of the texture and taste of meal are really hazy.

Curious, my friend asked to try one of my meatballs. After a short of pause, he burst into laughter.

“Don’t worry,” he said with a smile. “That definitely isn’t meat.”

Well. No one said that alike and equal were the same, now did they?

If you’re a veg-heavy eater and you’re wandering around the West Village in Manhattan, I highly recommend stopping in Smorgas. It’s sweet, tasty, and neither you nor your dining companions will feel deprived!

xo

Categories: Gluten Free

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    54 Comments
  1. Dude! This recipe sounds amazing, and with minimal ingredients too. Thanks for the post, definitely giving this a go! 🙂

  2. I started following your blog a few weeks ago and am loving it! I’ve tried several of the recipes and am having fun discovering what’s new every day. I checked out the links to the variations on this pudding and decided to try my own version this morning. Instead of sweet potato, I added grapefruit, plus chia seeds and flax seeds for good measure. I know this sounds weird, but it was actually really good! I was looking at recipes in the Juice Bible and saw one for avocado and grapefruit, so I figured there was precedent for the combination.

  3. I am a bit behind with my reading I know, but I could not go past this post without thanking you for sharing this potato pudding. I’ll be making it very, very soon!

  4. Wow – these sounded SO interesting I just had to give it a try. I made it two nights ago and I have to say I really liked it. I put a bunch of fresh fruit on it and even though my husband (when I told him the ingredients) said there was NO way he would try it, he did and he said it wasn’t “bad”….which is pretty favourable. My kids (young adults) really really liked it.
    My only question is that it was (for us) lacking in sweetness…if I wanted to add some sweetness to it what would be a healthy ingredient! I am enjoying your web site very much. I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, but am a really clean eater and I enjoy both vegan and vegetarian meals, as well I love cooking so am always open to new ideas.

  5. Gena,
    I’m wondering what kind of chocolate or carob powder do you recommend? Does it have to be raw?

    • Doesn’t have to be. I like Shiloh Farms for cooked, and I love the “go Carob!” bags, which are made by Go Hunza foods for a raw option.

  6. I finally bought a food processor today. I didn’t want to buy one while I lived in Germany since I didn’t want to waste money on a 220 w appliance that I was going to use for two years. We are back in the states now, and I’m so excited b/c I read your post this morning. I can’t wait to get home, and makes this!

  7. i love you for this line: “But how about a breakfast pudding that’s got some polysaccharides in it already?” you’re adorable, and i’m bookmarking this breakfast for passover next year. 🙂

    i’ve been to smorgas for brunch (there’s one on stone street in the financial district too) and don’t think there was a single vegan option on that menu – i’m impressed with their dinner options, especially considering they cater to a very meat heavy part of the world. that’s nice progress!

  8. This looks wonderful, oh I’m adding sweet potatoes to my shopping list just to try this! Thanks!

    Agreed on the lack of vegan options at restaurants, I’m tired of seeing one lonely token main vegetarian option on menus.

  9. Oh my gosh, I love that hearty Eastern European type food. I’ve never heard of this place but I’ve got to try it now! I do always worry about non-vegan foods sneaking into seemingly vegetarian choices, so I’m glad you got things cleared up and that the meatballs were only “meatballs.”
    Also, that looks like some seriously hearty pudding. Sounds and looks great.

  10. i was just having a convo with my mom how it sucks that the world around me doesnt support the life i want to live…. this place sounds great though.

    LOVE the mash. it does sound great for autum and has inspired me to go make some chocomole now 🙂

  11. Okay, yum on the pudding. I favorite’d it so I can try it soon. Can’t wait! And so cool that the restaurant provided both non-vegan and vegan options. I agree that more restaurants should do that. That’d be awesome.

  12. I also went to this restaurant for brunch. While my mom had the egg dish, I enjoyed my avocado salad with their hearty, whole grain bread.

  13. Oooh I retract my offer of avocado on salad for dinner tonight. It’s goin into pudding. Sorry.

    (I kid. I’m assuming that salad avocado > dessert avocado.)

    I was not aware of Smorgas but it sounds like a good time! I could def. get down with those veg. meatballs.

  14. Yummers! Would this recipe taste ok with canned pumpkin? That looks like a smashing breakfast.

    That is SO funny! In Houston we have a restaurant kind of like that–the chef/owner is this verrry Dutch guy. There’s lots of good meat…but a ton of great vegan options too.

    Another one of my favorites is a place called Ruggles Green. It’s well-known for its bison burgers and goat cheese salads…but it also has these amazing “hempenadas” and one of the best veggie burgers around (it uses pecans!). And a lot of the salads are easily veganized. I love restaurants like that because I like variety. And the veggie burger is reaaaaaally good, haha.

  15. Just an Idea for those of us into proper food combining…
    Sub dates for stevia!
    But Gena, how would the texture be then…maybe add more sweet potato to make up for the lack of “meatiness” from the dates?
    I am def not a chef..
    Would u be up to trying out a properly combined version??

  16. Whoa. Sweet potato is an awesome addition! Such a great idea. Thanks for the recipe link/shout out as well. I really appreciate it and glad you like my banana version 🙂 I have the same feelings about restaurants needing to offer more options. What a great place you found. Luckily, in Colorado, there are a lot of veg/vegan friendly restaurants! You should probably come visit 😉

  17. I have walked by that restaurant SO many times – but never really thought twice about it. Coming from a Scandinavian family, I used to seeing lots of meatballs and smoked fish and the like, so I wasn’t inclined to even check out the menu at Smorgas (I’m a veg). It’s fantastic to hear that they have such a range of options – and the meatballs! I haven’t had Swedish meatballs since I was a little kid! Great to know.

  18. This pudding looks amazing, what a great recipe!!

    I agree, I am so sick of getting soggy grilled veggie plates and salads with no pizazz! More places should be like that. I am glad you enjoyed a tasty meal! They look great!

  19. I know that sweet potatoes are so very good for you, but I just don’t love them. I do, however, love chocolate pudding, so this may be just the way to get some into my diet. We actually got a couple of good size sweet potatoes in our farmshare box last week that have been siting lonely and ignored on the counter. Maybe tonight I’ll finally use them.

  20. I may need to buy myself avocados before the weekend just so I can make this pudding!! (I usually buy 4 avocados on Saturdays, and they are typically gone by Wednesday) And I totally agree with you regarding restaurants. In an ideal world, the meat dishes would also be grass-fed, organic, sustainable meat, alongside vegan dishes. And I would love for menus to be 50% omni, 50% vegan.

  21. Yum! I actually made this pudding all winter long! I found it very comforting with the addition of the sweet potato in those chilly months. Looking forward to having it again.

  22. Yup, I love it when restaurants are flexible like that! I know that lots of Thai restaurants will have a long list of entrees, and allow you to choose your protein: chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu, or extra veggies. These places let my friends and me eat slightly different versions of the same food, which I like.
    The pudding sounds wonderful–avocado must make it super creamy!!

  23. For the pudding, is that chocolate powder or actual chocolate?

    Also, that’s really awesome about the restaurant. I pretty much hate going out to eat because there are rarely options and when there is an option I feel like I’m wasting money because I could have made something better at home. I can pretty much only go to Chipotle and enjoy my food and that gets old. Hopefully the restaurants around here will read your blog and change things up!

  24. Great timing! My niece is visiting me in NY this weekend and I ant her to enjoy her meals (she’s an omnivore) but I don’t want to “settle.” We’ll try this restaurant! Love the pudding recipe–can’t wait to try it.

  25. “the luxury of choice at a restaurant; typically, my meal is decided for me by what’s available. “—oh that is so true, and how awesome for you!!

    Of at all places a Scandinavian restaurant..hey, very cool!

    The pudding…anything with cocoa powder and dates, is off to a great start. And that you like it better than your orig? Oh wow i may need to buy and cook a sweet tater just to try this. I never make potatoes, weird, huh.

    I think next time you need to show us pics of you and your “friend” at the restaurant 🙂 That’s more interesting than meatballs!!!

    xoxo

  26. Oooh, I love chocomole, but would never think to add sweet potato to it! All of my favorite things, why didn’t I think of that? 🙂

    That’s so awesome about Smorgas!! Living in San Diego most places are really veg friendly. I love being able to go out to eat where both me and my friends are happy! I don’t understand why it can’t just be that way always. I do have faith that we’re moving in the right direction, though. 🙂

  27. I long for the day when I can visit NYC to dine in all of their many fabulous restaurants.. until then, thank goodness I can live vicariously through all of your culinary adventures!

  28. Thank you so much for the restaurant suggestion! I feel exactly the same way about regular restaurants needing more vegan options…mostly because I can never drag my boyfriend to vegan places!

  29. You come up with some combinations that sound crazy but are so appealing! I would have never thought that chocolate and avocado would go together and yet this recipe sounds great.

    I love recipes that have great vegetarian options, usually ethnic restaurants offer the most!

  30. Yay for restaurants that offer all kinds of options! And the photos of that pudding have my hypnotized. . . that texture just looks amazing!

  31. Okay. Question. Do you cook the sweet potato first, or is it raw? If raw, doesn’t the pudding come out tasting really starchy? Love your blog. Thanks.

  32. Once again you’ve managed to take simple ingredients and come up with something fabulous. I haven’t tried a Gena recipe yet that I didn’t like, and well…I don’t even need to try this to know that I’ll love it. It’s got all my favorite things in it!

  33. Yum! Can’t wait to try this amazing twist on your original recipe – and I totally agree with you on mainstream resturants offering vegan options – it would make life SO much easier – as much as I like salads, it can get tiring always having to order a salad when you dine out 🙂

  34. Avocado with potato …sounds decent. Avocado goes well on bread…so same difference I guess (grain/starch)….honestly, avocado and chocolate go with just about anything!

  35. Looks delicious! I love the idea of putting a sweet potato in there 🙂 I have been having some form of an avocado pudding almost every night this week 😉 Love it!