Oh my goodness, just wait till you try this! I think this pudding is simply amazing and everyone who has tried it agrees. The ingredients are surprising (the picture gives it away, there is avocado in here), but they all work really well together. After playing with the recipe, I’ve settled on one that feels just right and I’m very happy with it. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also made entirely with healthy ingredients. I do believe that you can have the best of both worlds- you can make treats to satisfy your sweet tooth and use all healthy ingredients at the same time. And in this case, the proof is in the pudding. (Ha!)
The inspiration for this recipe came from Cooking with Coconut Oil: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living by Elizabeth Nyland. (I’ve checked it out from the library multiple times, it’s a great cookbook, and ya’ll know how much I love my coconut oil!) I came across a recipe for Chocolate-Avocado Mousse in there and made an adapted version of the recipe at home. I enjoyed it so much, my sister (always on the lookout for new recipes) and I made it together when I went out to visit her last Thanksgiving. It was delicious and also very rich, so we both agreed that it tasted best when it was paired with some fresh fruit. She is a huge fan of pomegranates and had the brilliant idea to pair the recipe with that. (I’ve been pairing it with blueberries, the berries we’ve had on hand, and I love them together with the pudding.)
I started making changes to that original mousse recipe I found and then ended up with something different at the end. At first I took out the coffee granules (love the smell, but not a fan of the taste) and substituted honey for maple syrup, since honey is our sweetener of choice and the one we have on hand. I made it with chocolate like the recipe called for, but I wanted to eat it as a nighttime dessert and since I’m really sensitive to caffeine, the chocolate made me super (!) hyper and I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. So for that reason, I switched to carob. And also the fact that I prefer the taste of carob to chocolate anyway. (I’ll write more about that below. Don’t go away chocolate lovers, you can always use chocolate instead.) I also felt that the recipe really needed some bananas and later wanted to try having it entirely fruit sweetened. This is the result of all my experiments… Paleo Pudding!
What I love about this pudding is that even with all the sweetness from the dates, bananas, and carob powder, the healthy fats from the avocado and coconut oil help keep blood sugar levels at a more even keel. Have you ever eaten a sweet treat and been totally spaced out afterwards? I have. That’s one reason I love pairing sweets with healthy fats.
Another plus? It’s raw and doesn’t require any cooking. Perfect for summertime when it’s hot in your kitchen and you don’t want to turn on your stove! This recipe is a great one to make if you don’t eat dairy or are serving someone with a dairy allergy. But regardless, it’s good for you, and it’s simply delicious.
I realize that the avocado might deter some people from thinking of this recipe as a dessert and deciding to make it, but the avocado is the magic behind the creamy consistency of this pudding and needs proper credit. This pudding doesn’t taste avocado-y. It tastes like pudding. So, I hope that if this recipe sounds a bit strange, but also intriguing to you, that you will be brave and give it a try anyway!
4 small ripe avocados (or 2 large ones)
2 bananas (medium-size or 1 large)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
6 tbsp carob powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
When the stars align and your bananas and avocados are ripe simultaneously, it’s the perfect time to make this pudding.
Firstly, is your coconut oil melted? If not, put it in a warm spot while you get everything else ready. Also, if you keep your dates in the fridge (like I do), set them out at room temperature for awhile so they will be softer. You want them as soft as possible for blending.
Remove the pits from your avocados and scoop out all that green goodness, putting it in a food processor (or blender) with your bananas. Removes the pits from your dates, cut them into small pieces, and add them to the mix. Add your coconut oil, coconut milk, carob powder, and vanilla extract and blend until completely smooth.
Your pudding is ready. It’s seriously that easy. You can put your pudding in the fridge for about four hours or eat it warm. Warm or cold, whichever way you prefer your pudding. I think it’s delicious both ways, but we usually stick it in the fridge. My sister has served it in beautiful wine glasses for a fancy look, we usually serve it in small bowls, but I discovered that mugs are a fun way to serve it too.
I highly recommend fresh blueberries on top! I haven’t tried it yet, but I also think fresh raspberries would be an amazing combination with this pudding. Pomegranates are delicious with it too. The fresh fruit helps add a lightness to this dessert that really completes it, in my opinion.
-Of course, purchase the very best ingredients you can afford. Organic is always best, not only for your own health and the people you love that you might be feeding, but also for the health of the planet.
-I use non-alcoholic vanilla extract for this because this recipe is raw and won’t be cooked.
-Awhile back I had an allergic reaction a few times to coconut milk. Then I switched to this brand, with no additives, and haven’t had any reactions at all, so I must have been sensitive to the additives in other brands. (Oh, and it comes in a can with BPA free lining.) We purchase that brand of coconut milk at Natural Grocers.
-My very favorite coconut oil can be purchased at Tropical Traditions. (If you purchase from them for the first time using that link, you will receive a free book about Coconut Oil, and I will receive a gift certificate that helps our family purchase more coconut oil, thank you!)
-A note about carob and chocolate: awhile ago on the blog when I mentioned that I prefer carob to chocolate (with a little health excerpt about why carob is so great), mentioning that I prefer the taste and my body likes it better, I may have offended some chocolate lovers. Did my chocolate-loving readers go on strike and stop reading? I hope not, but seriously, I know how much people love their chocolate! I don’t have a strong stance on chocolate one way or another- you’ll read one article that says it’s a superfood with more antioxidants than any other food source and then another article saying it has caffeine, is high in phytic acid, and is best avoided, some sources even saying chocolate causes migraines. I partake in chocolate on a very rare occasion (during the day so it doesn’t affect my sleep), I just happen to prefer carob, so that’s why I used it in this recipe. If you prefer chocolate, you can substitute it in this recipe, but you may need to add a little bit of sweetener, since carob is more naturally sweet and lends that to the recipe.
[Edited to add 2018: I’m now a total chocolate fan. Most of my life I wasn’t crazy about chocolate, but that has changed my friends. I enjoy it regularly, and actually use it more often in my kitchen than carob these days.]
I love this recipe so much and can’t wait to make it again! If you make this Paleo Pudding, please let me know what you think in the comments. Make some changes? Tell me about them, I’d love to hear from you.