Monday, July 21, 2008

Mint Chocolate Pesto (non-dairy and no sugar options)

There is nothing secret about my sincere affection for chocolate. I am a confirmed chocophile. Unfortunately, much of the chocolate that is prepared and ready to eat as is contains milk or milk products. Not cool if you have a dairy allergy or a sensitivity to dairy. So, what is an allergic chocophile to do? Try this nifty little desert pesto.

Here’s how it goes. You’ll need:

· 1 square unsweetened baking chocolate (or equivalent amount of carob)
· Scant ¼ C blanched, unsalted almond pieces
· 1 T sugar (or substitute)
· 2 C whole mint leaves
· 1/8 C canola oil (or other light oil, NOT olive)

As you may have noticed, this is a variation of a standard pesto recipe. Of course, we’re substituting mint for basil and chocolate for garlic but the basic concept is the same. So, here we go.

Put all ingredients into your food processor. You can use a blender for this but I find it is easier to work with the processor. Either way, it will work just fine. Mix until the chocolate and mint is fairly smooth. The almonds will still be chunky but that’s alright. If you want a really smooth spread, go ahead and puree until the almonds are completely broken. Personally, I like the texture.

This is best served chilled though it can be eaten right away. I like to serve this with plain croissants or, as in the picture, whole wheat tortillas I’ve cut into pieces and fried crisp. To make the tortilla chips, heat canola or other light oil in your skillet (about ¼” deep) , cut the tortillas into eight pie wedges and lightly fry them golden brown. They are really good served warm with the chilled chocolate mint pesto.

As you could see in the ingredients list, there are a couple substitutions possible. You can substitute carob or artificial chocolate for the baking chocolate. However, if your alternative is sweetened, omit the tablespoon of sugar. If almonds are a problem, try walnuts, pecans, peanuts or hazelnuts. You could omit the nuts entirely and have a much smoother spread. If wheat is a problem for you, try this spread on rice crackers or cakes.

This can be made the day before which is a nice option when you’re planning a party. The recipe above makes about ½ cup but it is easily doubled.

Next time you’re in the mood for a little something chocolate, let’s go eat that!


Corinne said...

I go to one over on Greenway and 75th (there on fri/sat from 9am t whenever) Sometimes they set up shop on a corner near 59th and Union Hills... I'm awful with exacts, but I can figure it out if you'd like to come out to one.
There is also a wonderful one on Cactus and the 51 at that large park... I have yet to make it to that one.. I hear it's huge!

Sandra Gordon said...

I've heard of the one at Cactus and the 51 but haven't gone that direction, as yet. Greenway and 75th would be good. We'll have to check it out. Saturdays are usually pretty booked up but it would be worth the effort. Maybe on a Friday.


Reeni said...

This looks like a yummy little treat to satisfy a chocolate craving!

Sandra Gordon said...

It is just right for that chocolate 'need'. The mint makes it refreshing, too, which is nice and makes for a lighter dessert after a meal.

Though, I'll admit, it isn't bad for breakfast. I won't tell if you don't. ;)