Chocolate Sunday on Monday – Vegan Chocolate Mousse!

Last week, I came across a recipe for vegan chocolate mousse that looked intriguing. It called for avocado, cocoa, and a natural sweetener, among one or two other ingredients. Nothing objectionable!

vegan chocolate mousseBut someone commented that she had found it dense, so I googled “vegan chocolate mousse” and decided to combine ideas from a few recipes, adding a little extra almond milk so it wouldn’t be too dense. I’m writing this today instead of yesterday, because my avocado was slow to ripen.

Of the recipes I found online, this one – from a blog called The Laidback Vegan – was the most unusual. It called for balsamic vinegar and tamari soy sauce to enhance the flavour, and also mask the avocado taste. The description sounded wonderful! Whatever else I included, I would include those two ingredients.

I was disappointed by the result at first, but it tasted much better after being chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours. Maybe it needed time for the flavours to blend, or maybe I shouldn’t have messed with the recipe. I think I’ll have to tweak it next time. I expect more maple syrup would help.

Here’s a link to another recipe I consulted. It’s a Food Network recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. How bad can that be?

And a third, from MindBodyGreen.

And lastly, my own first attempt, below.

As an alternative, I wouldn’t make the recipe at all – I’d eat the avocado on its own, because I like it that way, with a bit of vinaigrette, and I’d enjoy a piece of dark chocolate, or the healthy chocolate treats I made last week, for more serious chocolate flavour.

But it’s fun to experiment.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

1 avocado

1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. almond milk, unsweetened

just under 1/8 tsp. balsamic vinegar

just under 1/8 tsp. tamari

2 tsp. maple syrup

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor.

2. Process until smooth.

3. Chill in fridge for two hours.


Sautéed Red Cabbage, Apples & Sesame Seeds

The great thing about red cabbage is that, if you haven’t been to the grocery store for a while and other vegetables in your fridge are turning into science experiments, it’s probably still fresh.

red cabbageApples and onions also keep well, and the combination makes for a hearty winter side dish.

I finally got around to cooking my weeks-old red cabbage last night, combining ideas from a few online recipes: this one from Food Network star Rachael Ray; this one from Michael Smith, also a familiar face from the Food Network; and a final one from the World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Because I’d pre-sliced the cabbage, prep was very quick. I actually sliced half the cabbage a couple of days before I cooked it, and wondered if it would be okay. I sliced the second half the next day, and both were fine – not wilted or starting to brown. Red cabbage is – um – hardy, not just hearty. After I sliced it, I kept it refrigerated in Ziploc bags, with paper towel to absorb any moisture, and I’m sure that made a difference.

I’ve always kind of liked sautéed red cabbage with apples. The first time I tasted it, as a teenager, the contrast between the familiar apple and unfamiliar, purple cabbage intrigued me. Red cabbage seems to be the more popular name, but in reality it’s more purple – definitely my favourite colour when I was a teenager, and still high on the list now. I can’t honestly say that red cabbage is my favourite food, but I do like it once in a while.

Sometimes, I like to add red cabbage to salads. I know it’s healthy – aren’t all cruciferous vegetables? A Google search for its health benefits yielded many links. I knew red cabbage had fiber and antioxidants, but I was surprised to see that it’s also high in vitamin C. Maybe red cabbage’s long shelf isn’t really the great thing about it after all.

Here’s my version.

Sautéed Red Cabbage, Apples & Sesame Seeds

1 head of red cabbage

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. Umeboshi vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 tbsp. maple syrup (dark maple syrup, if you have it)

2 tsp. brown sesame seeds

2 apples, sliced not too thin and not too thick (I like organic Royal Gala)

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. sesame seeds

1. Cut red cabbage in quarters, and remove core by cutting around it. Slice thinly.

2. Slice red onion, and cut slices into bite-size chunks.

3. Heat olive oil in large pan on medium-high, and sauté onion for two minutes.

4. Add cabbage to fill the pan generously. I used about 3/4 of my cabbage, and will add the rest to a salad.

5. Sauté about two minutes more, then add Umeboshi vinegar and maple syrup, and mix together. I bought the vinegar, which is made from Japanese pickled plums, for a recipe a long time ago, and thought this would be a good opportunity to use it again.

6. Sauté another minute or two until cabbage is wilted, then add sliced apples and mix in gently. Cook until apple is no longer raw, but not yet mushy.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Or maybe just pepper, if you’re using Umeboshi vinegar, which has a high amount of sodium – 1200 mg. per tbsp. Yikes!)

8. To serve, drizzle with sesame seeds and a small amount of maple syrup.