Onion Spread (p. 91)

This rich chocolate-onion spread is great on sandwiches, and in pasta salads, potato salads, guacamole, and dressings. The spicy version makes a good substitute for chutney in lentil dishes. We use it as an ingredient to add flavor to all sorts of foods; see if it makes sense to add anywhere a recipe calls for cooked onion.

Makes about 3/4 cup
Takes 1 hour

2 tablespoons cocoa butter
1 large red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cacao nibs
1/3 cup water

Put the cocoa butter and onion in a pan over medium-low heat. Cook the onion for about 40 minutes, or until it is translucent and mushy. Remove the onion from the pan and let it cool.

Once the onion has cooled, combine it with the nibs, water, and a pinch of salt. Blend it until the spread is smooth. It will last several weeks refrigerated or several months in the freezer.

Spicy onion spread: Substitute a white onion for the red onion. With the onion, cook a pinch of asafoetida powder, one minced chipotle pepper, and cumin seeds or a cinnamon stick. Remove the cinnamon stick after ten minutes.

onion cross sections!



Pumpkin Soup (page 108)

This sweet soup is great a great choice for picky eaters on special occasions. Words cannot express how thrilled I would have been if I had gotten this soup for dinner on my birthday as a child.

Makes about 6 cups
Takes 90 minutes

1 butternut squash
4 cups diced red onion
1 cinnamon stick
10 pods cardamom, crushed
5 whole cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (3 ounce) bar of dark chocolate
1 cup raisins

Bake the squash at 375°F for about an hour, or until it’s soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. While the squash is in the oven, cook the onions in a large pot on low. Stir the cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom, and cloves in with the onion. Stir occasionally.

By the time the squash is ready, the onion should be carmelized well. Stire in the ginger, coriander, nutmeg, and vanilla and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, and squash.

Stir in the chocolate and continue stirring until the chocolate is melted. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smoother consistency. Add the raisins then simmer for another five minutes.

If you want to go all out, throw together a pie crust and serve it broken up on top of the soup like oyster crackers. SO GOOD.

Brewed Chocolate (p.29)

Update: You can also use a mortar & pestle to crush the nibs.

Brewed chocolate is a must-try in the world of cocoa beverages. It’s similar to a cup of coffee, except that it tastes like chocolate. If you have access to a grinder that won’t blend so fast that it melts your nibs, you can grind your beans to maximize flavor by exposing more surface area during the brewing process, but mincing with a knife works great, too. If you’re using cocoa beans, wash them well or remove the papery outer husk. This beverage is simple, easy to make, and a new classic in our household.

Makes 1 mug
Takes 10–20 minutes

1 mug water
2 tablespoons minced cocoa beans or nibs

Put water on to boil. Put the nibs in a tea ball, and steep them in freshly-boiled water for 5–15 minutes. Enjoy!

Brewed chocolate with cardamom: Chop up a pod’s worth of cardamom and steep it along with the cocoa beans.

Creamy Chocolate Oatmeal (p. 132)

Check out this amazing photo of what chocolate oatmeal can be.

Chocolate oatmeal is basically the best breakfast ever. Fruits, nuts, and seeds are not optional unless you want to be hungry an hour later.

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Takes 20 minutes

Spiced apple
1 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped apple (if dried, add a little extra water)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or filberts
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
Plant milk (optional)

Budget oats
1 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Plant milk (optional)

1 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup seasonal fresh fruit
1/4 cup fresh nuts or seeds
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Plant milk (optional)

Combine all the ingredients of your preferred variation except the plant milk in a small pot, and cook on the stove at low heat. Stir occasionally, and stir in a little more water if needed. Remove the pot from the heat after the oatmeal has simmered for about ten minutes, or when it is at your preferred texture, and serve hot. If it pleases you, add a little plant milk to your bowl of oats to cool it off.

Instant oatmeal: Substitute quick oats for the rolled oats and dump everything—except for the plant milk—into a large bowl the night before. In the morning, stir in boiling water and wait a few minutes. Once you figure out your favorite combination of ingredients, premix a large batch of the dry ingredients ahead of time.

Pantry rescue: For all or part of the rolled oats, substitute that grain you got in the bulk aisle that one time. Adjust your cook time accordingly.

Cantaloupe Leather (page 119)

This recipe requires a dehydrator! You may be able to use an oven, depending on how low its thermostat can go. If the weather is hot and sunny, research solar dehydrating – it can be as simple as a few screen trays.

We discovered dried cantaloupe through a happy accident: a tasty-smelling melon was mushily overripe, the dehydrator was already running… and it turned out surprisingly well! Depending on how long you leave the melon in the dehydrator, it will develop a leathery consistency reminiscent of dried mango, or turn into crisp cantaloupe chips. Add a little spiced cocoa and BOOM! Magic.

Makes about 10 pieces of cantaloupe jerky
Takes 20 minutes prep (drying time depends on your dehydrator)

1 small cantaloupe
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Stir together the cocoa powder, ginger, chili flakes, and lemon juice to form a thin paste. Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into 1/4″-thick pieces and slice of the rinds. Coat one side of each slice with the chocolate paste and dry according to your dehydrator’s instructions.

Check the slices periodically, since different dehydrators can have vastly different drying times. Leave the cantaloupe in until beads of water don’t form when it is torn.

Dehydrated fruit can last many months in an air-tight container, or even longer if stored in the fridge or freezer.

Cantaloupe Chips: Continue drying the slices of cantaloupe until they crack instead of tearing.

Bonus Soups, Salads, & Snacks (page 124)

Borscht: Borscht is a sweet and sour soup. Add some nibs along a little extra sweetness (like a few extra carrots) to compensate.

Chocolate Jalapeño Corn Bread: Sweet, spicy, and bitter: these flavors are super matchy, so if you like the ingredients, we recommend that you whip up a batch.

Fig, Fennel & Almond Salad: Combine fresh figs, fresh fennel, sliced almonds, cocoa nibs, butter lettuce, olive oil, and champagne vinegar. Salt to taste. We didn’t do a full write-up on this one up because almonds require a lot of water to grow, but it’s at this point it’s a flavor classic that bears mentioning.

Jicama: Slice a medium jicama into rounds and top with a mixture of cocoa powder, chili powder, lime juice, and salt.

Nibby Trail Mixes: We’re all about the trail mixes. They pack so well! They’re such a great way to make sure we eat our nuts and seeds! With trail mix, there’s so much room for creativity and variety. Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, optional coconut flakes, and cocoa nibs or chocolate chips. Go nuts!

Spiced Garlic Bread: Make a roasted garlic cocoa butter with spices that tie together the flavors of garlic and cocoa butter. Then use the garlic butter to make garlic bread.

Spicy Popcorn: Throw your favorite spices (or try chili pepper, cumin, or cinnamon) in a pan with a mix that’s half vegetable oil and half cocoa butter, then pour it all over a bowl of popcorn. Use a spray bottle to add a little lemon juice or watered-down tamarind paste to the popcorn.

Split Pea Soup: Make it with chile peppers, ginger, and nibs.

Peanut Dip (page 93)

This tasty recipe is based off an Aprapransa stew from Ghana. It originally called for a palm nut pulp, but we use peanut butter as it is more widely available in North America. Serve this dip with 1-2 cups of berries, apples, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, jicama, or other fruits and vegetables that go well with peanuts.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons annatto seeds
1 large onion
4 cups water, divided
2 cups cooked beans
1/4 cup peanut butter
4 medium tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked polenta, or 1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large saucepan over medium heat, briefly cook the oil and annatto seeds until the annatto seeds start to collect bubbles. Remove from heat, wait a few minutes, then strain out the seeds.

Mince the onion, then add it to the oil in the saucepan. Turn the heat back on to medium and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the beans, one cup of water, and the peanut butter. Dice the tomatoes, then stir them in along with another cup of water.

Start toasting the polenta in a small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until it turns golden brown. Stir the polenta into the mixture along with another cup of water.

You can mince the cocoa nibs for a smoother dip and a more intense chocolate flavor. Stir in the cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, lemon juice, and remaining cup of water. Salt to taste.

Turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally until the dip is at your preferred consistency. For us, this takes about 10 minutes. Serve with fruits and/or vegetables.

Dip & Drizzle (page 165)

Yes, chocolate-coated grasshoppers are a thing!

When the basic recipe is warm enough, it can be used for dipping and coating other foods.

Bite-sized fruits and other foodstuffs can be placed on a tray of waxed paper and then drizzled with chocolate.  Alternately, add a cup’s worth to the basic recipe and ladle out the resulting mixture either into molds or onto waxed paper.  Most larger fruits will do best when sliced. Bananas, bread, and carrots [dry to touch] can be dipped whole or when sliced/cubed, and then placed on a tray for refrigeration.

The Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar recipe (page 163) is also a great place to look for ingredients that can be dipped and drizzled upon.  You can also use flavored, spiced, or infused chocolates for combinations like mint-blueberry or ginger-orange-cinnamon.

  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Chili peppers (seeded)
  • Dried fruits
  • Figs
  • Kiwis
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries.  If you pit the cherry, you lose the stem, if you don’t pit the cherry, it is best to warn people
  • Biscotti
  • Bread
  • Candied ginger
  • Popsicles
  • Pretzels
  • Some bugs (not vegan)
  • Sweet carrots
  • That which grows in your garden
  • Zucchini
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough balls
  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Filberts
  • Flax seeds (use sparingly)
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts
  • Pepitas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanut butter filled pretzels.  Buy these pre-made, squish peanut butter into pretzels, or use the filling from the peanut butter cup recipe.
  • Honeycomb candy (page 168)

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar (page 163)

1/3 cup cocoa powder (heaping)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup trail mix

Melt coconut oil using a double boiler or solar oven. If you’re careful not to overheat the oil, you can also melt it directly on the stove or in the microwave.

Combine the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. If your coconut oil isn’t already a liquid, take care of that now. Stir in the coconut oil. Add trail mix. Pour the mixture into a mold. This will make a standard chunky chocolate bar.

To make fruit & nut chocolate clusters, increase the amount to a cup of trail mix and dip out spoonfuls onto wax paper. It will hold together better if you allow it to cool slightly before spooning it out.

Here are some alternative ingredients to go in or on your chunky chocolate bars. Mix and match as appropriate:

  • Banana chips (sweet or salty)
  • Coarse salt
  • Fruits (dried/freeze-dried)
  • Nuts & Seeds (chopped
  • Puffed rice
  • Toasted coconut
  • Toasted oats
  • Wasabi peanuts
  • Candied flowers
  • Candied ginger
  • Candied nuts (page 167)
  • Candy cane (blended)