IMG_1264If you’ve never made pudding from scratch before, it couldn’t be easier. I adapted this recipe from a non-vegan pudding on the PCC Natural Markets website. It has a dash of cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper to give it a rich complex flavor. And if you’re looking for something to spice up your Valentine’s Day, I prefer this over wandering aimlessly through the Love Pantry.

While today’s focus is on affairs of the heart and celebrating with heart-shaped gifts, let’s remember to show our hearts some love. The best foods for your heart, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, are nuts, whole soy protein, garlic, green tea and soluble fiber.

The four worst foods for your heart?  Trans-fats. Found in most margarines, snack foods, heavily processed foods and some cooking oils. Animal protein. Excessive animal protein has been shown to raise levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that in high concentrations may contribute to heart disease. Refined carbohydrates. Sodium. Excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Happy Heart Day! 


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Chocolate Pudding

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Tiny pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Tiny pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups non dairy milk, divided (I used almond)
  • ⅓ cup bittersweet chocolate chips or half of a 3.5-ounce dark chocolate bar, chopped (I used Green & Black’s Dark 85%)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt and spices. Whisk in ⅓ cup cold milk a little at a time to create a smooth, thin paste.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and remaining 1⅔ cups milk. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Gradually whisk the cocoa paste into the chocolate mixture, continuing to stir over low heat until the pudding thickens. Cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Divide among 4 dishes and serve warm or cover the surface of the pudding directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fully set, about 2 hours.