Raw Chocolate Bars

By definition, raw vegan diets consist of unprocessed plant foods that haven’t been heated over 40 degrees C. Using all natural, antioxidant-rich ingredients, these chocolate bars are as pure as they get, and unlike any waxy confectionary you’ve ever had.

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Raw Vegan Chocolate Bars from Scratch

1 cup cocoa butter pieces
Pinch fine Himalayan salt
7 tablespoons raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons mesquite powder
2 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
Dried fruit and nuts, optional

Melt the cocoa butter shavings and salt in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Whisk in the cacao and mesquite powders. Stir in the agave nectar. Transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend on high for about 90 seconds until well emulsified.

If using dried fruit or nuts, put them into a mold and then top with chocolate mixture, otherwise, pour chocolate mixture into molds. If you don’t have molds, you can easily use loaf pans (for thick chocolate bars use a 9×5, for thin chocolate bars, use two 8×4). Freeze immediately.

Let set completely before unmolding and cutting into pieces, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

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Tomato and Basil Tart with Sunflower Seed Cheese

An easy to put together tart highlighting juicy tomatoes and fresh basil. Feel free to add herbs, garlic, fresh ground pepper, and other ingredients to the basic “cheese” recipe to suit your favourite flavors. The sunflower seed cheese process needs to be started a day ahead with some soaking.

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Raw Tomato and Basil Tart with Sunflower Seed Cheese

Almond Crust:
1 1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons water

Sunflower Seed Cheese:
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds, soaked 8 hours
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
6 large basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Topping:
Mixture of colourful tomatoes, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
Small handful fresh basil, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the crust, put the almonds, flaxseed, basil, and salt in a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Drizzle in the coconut oil. Pulse about 6 times to mix. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing just until the mixture begins to stick together. Scrape the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Transfer to the refrigerator.

To make the sunflower seed cheese, drain the sunflower seeds and put them in the food processor with the remaining ingredients, scraping down the sides as necessary (add a few splashed of water, if needed). Test for seasonings, adding additional salt, pepper, or lemon zest if desired. Spread the mixture onto the crust. Top with the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola

The combination of cacao and hazelnuts is a classic, and the hint of dates, prunes and raisins adds just the right amount of sweetness. This recipe makes use of a food dehydrator to maintain its raw state. The reasoning behind the low temperature is because it is believed that when food is heated above that level, nutrition is minimized, proteins are damaged, and phytonutrients are destroyed. Dehydrating also removes the water from foods and preserves its enzymes and nutrients. One of my favourite ways to use my dehydrator is making granola, and this is a basic recipe that I use that is open to endless combinations.

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Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola

  • Servings: 1 1/2 pounds
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4 cups water
2 cups raw buckwheat groats
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked 2 hours, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup raisins, soaked 30 minutes and drained
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pitted soft honey dates
1/4 cup pitted soft prunes
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; not raw; try powder for a raw version)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsweetened cacao nibs

Soak the buckwheat in the water for 45 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a fine sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth. Drain well. Rinse well, about 5 to 8 times, until the water is completely clear and the buckwheat no longer feels gelatinous. Set over a bowl and let sit 4 hours. Rinse a second time, ensuring the water runs clear. Let sit another 4 hours, then rinse well once more.

During the buckwheat preparation, soak the hazelnuts and raisins if you haven’t already done so. Put the water, dates, prunes, cacao powder, vanilla extract (if using), salt, and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add the rinsed and drained buckwheat, hazelnuts, raisins, and cacao nibs. Mix well. Sample the mixture; though the flavors will become more prominent when dehydrated, you may want to add additional cinnamon or salt to taste.

Spread the mixture in a single layer on dehydrator trays, using trays designed for small items or fruit leather. Dehydrate at 105 degrees F (40 degrees C) for about 8 hours until the top is dry and firm. Use your hands to break up the pieces and flip them over. Continue to dehydrate for 6 to 8 more hours, until dry and crunchy. Store in a sealed container at room temperature or in the refrigerator or freezer.