Would you like to know what the super sweet secret ingredient to this unbelievable delicious and easy chocolate dessert is???
The crazy “weird” dried fruit that is kind of like a raisin… maybe you’ve had it in gross fruit cake or cereal as a kid, maybe you’ve never seen them but you don’t even know what you would do with them when you found them. Well relax and take note – dates are more common than you think, forgiving and as sweet as can be. Ever had a bacon wrapped date? You’re missing out. Dates do contain a lot of sugar but they also contain calcium and magnesium in a near perfect ratio (1:1), they have 1.5 g fiber, potassium, vitamin A and other minerals; that’s per date! When dates were tested for their antioxidant content, they scored 3 times higher than red plums. The recipe below can be used as a pie filling, push pop popsicle mold, eaten solo, or even as a parfait – layered with berries and Tru Whip.
Fudgesicle Filling (makes ~3 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups medjool dates (about 16), pitted and chopped (soak in water for easier blending)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup softened coconut butter
- 2-3 tsp coconut oil, melted
- heaping 1/3 cup raw organic cacao powder
- 1 1/3 cup purified water or leftover date water from soaking
- Soak dates in purified water for 30 minutes or more. Soak them longer if they aren’t very fresh and moist.
- Blend or use a tamper and Vitamix – all ingredients until it has a thick pudding-like consistency, add more water if necessary.
- Smooth into push pop popsicle molds. You will have plenty for 4 molds.
- Freeze for 1 day. Enjoy!
What would cashews have to do with jalapeno nacho cheese dip? Let’s consult my handy dandy 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden… it says “A lot.” Cashews are in fact the base of this dip and before you dismiss this as hippie quackery I urge you to give it a try.
Cashews and nuts in general have been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and attacks. It does this through its monounsaturated content which raises good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad (LDL). Cashews are rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese and selenium. Add to that 5 g of protein and 1 g of fiber per ounce. Have I mentioned that it’s delicious? Just ask my meat-eating-Sarah’s-a-crazy-hippie friend who said “Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip? Yeah I love that stuff! Oh but this is waaaay better.”
Jalapeño Cheese Dip (adapted from Amy Healy)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (fresh or roasted)
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours then drained – optional step)
- 1 medium slice of fresh onion, diced (or 2 tsp onion powder)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- 2-3 T nutritional yeast (try it!)
- 4 T water +/-
- 2 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
- 1/2-3 jalapeño pepper with seeds
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Blend all ingredients in a VitaMix, blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate.
Put it on some of these recipes or try it on any of your own:
For a comparison to Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar Dip let’s look at the obvious. The Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar dip lists MSG twice in the ingredients; once as monosodium glutamate and the other as autolyzed yeast extract (yep, that’s MSG!).
Does that tomato have a husk? Yes it does, which fits perfectly with my “weird food” obsession right now. It’s a tomatillo, and it makes the best green salsa ever! Tomatillos have a nice tart flavor very unlike a tomato. They sometimes have a sticky exterior because the fruit fills and bursts through the husk. Tomatillos contain vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and some fiber.
It is not an unripe/green tomato but rather a member of the tomato family and it’s ripe when it’s green.
- 6 medium tomatillos, rinsed and chopped
- 1/4 white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small jalapeno, chopped (adjust seeds/membrane for heat)
- 1 tsp of coconut vinegar or lime juice
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
*Seasonings to taste*
- pink salt
- white pepper
- chipotle chili powder
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and process in food processor. Add red tomatoes for Salsa Cruda.
The coconut vinegar helps the salsa stay fresher for longer and adds to the zip, that the lime I didn’t have on hand, would have offered. And coconut vinegar is an amazing vinegar with no coconut taste. I was also nervous using them raw since so many recipes boiled them in advance, but I was not disappointed. This was the easiest and most delicious salsa I’ve had in a while.
I will certainly try this vegan Cashew Tomatillo Sauce!!