Fancy Spinach Salad (page 115)

Sometimes when I’m falling asleep at night, I’ll describe the dreams I’m about to be having. One night, I fell asleep describing this dish. Be sure to use a bowl that’s large enough for tossing!

Makes one bowl
Takes 20 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup roughly chopped fresh spinach
2 tablespoons pine nuts, divided
2 tablespoons sweet nibs (page 123)
1 orange

Combine the oil, cranberries, and lemon juice and let them sit for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, add the mixture to the spinach and one tablespoon of the pine nuts, and toss everything well. At this point, if you’re really going for fancy, transfer the salad to a fresh dish.

Sprinkle the sweet nibs and remaining pine nuts on top of the salad. Cut the orange using the most decorative technique you know (we like the double twist) and use it to garnish the salad.

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Budget Spinach Salad (page 114)

This salad can be thrown together quickly using cocoa nibs and common kitchen staples. Since this is a budget salad, definitely substitute any greens, fruits and nuts you already have handy.

Did you know the word “salad” comes from “salt”?

Makes one bowl
Takes 10 minutes

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) [or a tomato]
1/4 teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients and serve. Rinse bowl, repeat.

Salsa Picante (page 95)

Our housemate Bridget was so helpful when it came to understanding the names of these various salsas. We’re not sure if she learned it growing up in Puerto Rico or raising a family in Texas, but she’s a true salsa expert. Salsa is not a precise science; alter these recipes based on your preferences and what’s in your kitchen. Remove the seeds from your peppers if you prefer a milder salsa.

Makes 3-4 cups
Takes 60 minutes

3 large tomatoes
1+ chili peppers
1 small onion
1 ear’s worth of corn (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium tomatillo
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
Juice of one lime (2 tablespoons)
Salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Chop the tomatoes, peppers, and onion. Put them and the corn on a baking pan and drizzle the oil over everything. Roast them for about 30 minutes, or until they start to turn a little brown at the edges.

While the other vegetables roast, chop the tomatillos and cilantro. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven, add the tomatillos, nibs, cilantro, and lime juice and stir well.

Salt to taste and serve with chips, add to burritos, or use it to make a taco salad.

Salsa Verde: Replace 2 of the tomatoes with 2-3 medium tomatillos and 2 large green tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup of fresh mint, reduce the nibs to 2 tablespoons, and add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

Salsa Fresca: Follow salsa picante or salsa verde, but without roasting anything. Instead, chop the tomatoes, put them in a bowl, and salt them. Drain the tomatoes before mixing them last to everything else. Set aside the salty tomato water to use in other dishes for salted water or vegetable broth.

Bonus Beverages (page 46)

A Basic Chocolate Drink: Cocoa powder + fruit + spice + water/plant milk is a formula that will take you far. Serve hot or cold.

Caffè Mocha: A friend of mine once had a dog named Mocha. Mocha was a wonderful dog, and this is a tasty beverage. You can think of it as a latte plus chocolate, or as a hot chocolate plus espresso. Make a mocha.

Chocolate Banana Drink: Add cocoa powder, banana, and cardamom to coconut and other plant milk. Freeze the banana before blending for a cool beverage, or blend and then simmer on the stove for a hot beverage.

Cocoa Chicha: There are lots of different kinds of chicha, but here we mean corn beer. Cocoa corn beer.

Kombucha: If you like making kombucha, experiment with steeping cocoa nibs and other herbs and spices in with the kombucha for a day or so before straining them out.

Tejate: According to Cat Callaway, our illustrator, “TEJATE IS DELICIOUS”! Furthermore, she says that “tejate is a drink that apparently only exists in Oaxaca City and its surroundings. Not coastal Oaxaca, not in the Oaxacan Sierra, just in the valley where Oaxaca City is situated. This is what I’ve been told by some Oaxacans.” We had no luck finding some of the ingredients, so keep an eye out for this non-alcoholic beverage if you’re ever in Oaxaca City!

[Bonus bonus beverages from Nicaragua.  Pinole is extremely popular, and it tastes like the bottom of a bowl of sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal.]

Wine: Serve chocolate with a dessert wine, flavor wine with cocoa, or make wine from cocoa pulp.

Chocolate Chili Barbecue Sauce by Greg Evans (page 82)

Greg made this barbecue sauce for a potluck and everyone loved it. We think you will, too.

Makes 2 cups
Takes 60 minutes

1 onion, diced
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup (6 oz can) tomato paste
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste, depending on how spicy you want it)

Sauté onion on medium heat until translucent and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from skillet.

Add the water to the skillet and deglaze the pan by scraping and stirring; then add the sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a blender or food processor along with the onions and the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. Pour the resulting sauce back into a pan (or the same skillet) and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Easy Sauce: Essentially the same sort of sauce could be made more conveniently by using store-bought vegan BBQ sauce, adding the chocolate and chipotle powders to it, and simmering it for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors meld.

Thick Chocolate Banana Drink (page 42)

This drink makes a delicious breakfast treat. It’s just like a milkshake, but without the dairy or refined sugar!

Makes one glass
Takes 10 minutes

1 frozen banana
1 cup plant milk
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons grated unsweetened baking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Break the banana up into a few chunks. Dump all the ingredients into the blender. Blend everything. Pour the drink into a glass and drink it while it’s cold.

Tidy vegan icecream cone s’mores & chocolate-filled cupcakes

So we were camping with our parents last month, and my dad proposed injecting chocolate into marshmallows for s’mores, which got me thinking: how do you make a tidy s’more?  The answer?  ICE CREAM CONES.

There’s two ways to do this.

You can bend a wire into the shape of a circle at the end of a stick to make a little holder for your ice cream cone, fill it with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and wait patiently for the marshmallow to toast – ya gotta cook slowly and wrap the cone in tin foil or the tip will burn – this really does require patience.  My dad even engineered a wire shape that you can leave on the edge of the fire pit so you don’t have to wait around while the cone slowly cooks!

The other option is to leave the chocolate chips out on a hot day by mistake, and then you have a thick chocolatey mess that you can pour into the bottom of the icecream cone.  Roast the marshmallow over the fire the way you normally do, and drop it on top. This is my preferred method.  It requires less patience.

Someone else may have already invented this; I don’t know.  I’ve been offline and haven’t done a search.  We invented it independently and had a lot of fun.  Good times were had by all.  Highly recommended for the tidy s’mores lovers among you.

And a bonus for the bonus: Darin’s mom mentioned that someone she knows cooks chocolate truffles into the center of cupcakes.  I thought that sounded like a good idea and worth a mention, too.  YUM.

Cherry Chocolate Milk (p.36)

Hey! If you don’t have cherry flavoring, you could probably substitute almond flavoring.  They smell similar, just be extra-sure you don’t skip the step where you color the milk!


If at all possible, this beautiful pink beverage should be served in a clear glass.

Makes one pint
Takes 30 minutes

  • 1 red beet (for beet water)
  • 2 cups of plant milk
  • 5 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 5 teaspoons cherry jam or other sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring

Cube the beet for another recipe, such as “Hummus of the Gods” (page 88). Boil the beet for the boiled beet water. When the beet is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of the beet water for immediate use, and pour the rest off into an ice cube tray for coloring future cherry chocolate milk or turning pretty much everything you cook red for a while.

Simmer the milk on low heat in a small pot, stirring, until you start to see steam rising from the surface. Remove the milk from the heat and add the cocoa powder, jam, beet water, and cherry flavoring. Whisk until everything except the cherry from the jam is well-dissolved. To enjoy the delights of delayed gratification, put your cherry chocolate milk in the fridge, wait, and drink it cold.

Fast & simple cherry chocolate milk: The full recipe above gives a more nuanced blend of flavors, but here’s the 5-minute version. In a pint glass, combine 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, 1 cup plant milk, and 1/2 teaspoon cherry flavoring. Drop in a few shreds of fresh red beet if you have a beet handy and stir everything well with a dessert spoon. Stir in the remaining cup of plant milk and serve.

Fresh cherry chocolate milk: What?! Cherries are in season! Forget about that beet! Bust out the red cherries! Blend together a glass of plant milk, a handful of pitted red cherries, and 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Serve in a glass with a dessert spoon.

Chili Today (p. 134)

Corn may have a million industrial uses, but more than just the kernels can be used at home, too. Save corn husks for tamales or add them to your next batch of soup stock. If your corn came from a can and its ingredients are simply corn, water, and salt, you can use that corn water to replace some of the vegetable stock in this recipe. If you’re attending a pun potluck, save the corn husks to make hot tamales and bring the two dishes together.

illustration of a head of corn with one husk still partly attached

 

Makes about 2 cups
Takes 75 minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup vegetable stock
2 ears of shucked corn (or the corn from one 15-ounce can)
1 large tomato
2 chile peppers
1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Salt
Cornbread (optional)

Put the oil in a large pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds to the pan and stir them occasionally for fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, shell the corn—cut the corn kernels off the cob. Chop the tomato, dice the peppers, and grate the baking chocolate.

Put the beans and vegetable stock in a pot to simmer along with the corn, tomatoes, peppers, and chocolate.

Simmer on low for 30–45 minutes. Chop the cilantro, add it to the pot, and salt to taste. Serve with cornbread.

Chocolate Smoothie (p.30)

We love this recipe for its simplicity and reliable tastiness. Stick to the more intense fruits for flavor, and use bland fruits such as apples, bananas, and pears for substance and sweetness. Avoid using citrus; it’s too pulpy. If the fruit doesn’t come out sweet enough on its own, substitute 1/4 cup of chocolate chips for the cocoa powder. Now is the time to use up any ugly, abandoned, or forgotten fruit; it still tastes delicious in a smoothie!

Makes about 2 cups
Takes about 10 minutes

  • 10 ounces frozen local fruits (blueberries, strawberries, mango, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and/or 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Plant milk (as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter or seeds (optional)
  • Spices (optional)

Drop the fruit into the blender, and add the cocoa powder. If you’re using chocolate chips, don’t add them yet. Add any nut butter and spices. Pour in enough plant milk into the blender to just cover the berries.

Blend until smooth, which is usually when you start to see a consistent funnel shape swirling at the top of the smoothie. Depending on the blender, you may need to turn it off briefly and use a utensil to jab at the fruit a little to break it up, or add a little more plant milk to help it blend.

After the smoothie is smooth, drop the chocolate chips into the blender and blend them until they reach the size you’d prefer. They turn into micro-chips very quickly, so this may only take a few seconds.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape every last drop of smoothie from the blender into a glass.