There are a number of different churches in the great religion of Foodism, and I just can’t seem to commit to one. I eat vegetarian, for the most part, but can’t quite bring myself to permanently affix the label to my lapel. I’ll ponder the virtues of veganism, but then my chest starts to tighten at the idea of life without stinky cheeses. I can’t bring myself to rule out a food group altogether - there’s too much to taste and discover. So I compromise and live in food limbo. I dabble in veganism, eat mainly vegetarian, and toy with the idea of paleo, but ultimately I’m keeping my options open.
These different food “churches” may have their moralists, but they also have great ideas for the more mainstream eater. Two chefs, in particular, make dipping a fork into their sects of Foodism fun and exciting. First, there is beauty exec turned vegetarian chef Cara Mangini. Based out of Columbus, Ohio, Mangini is creating salads, soups and sandwiches so flavorful and filling that the absence of meat becomes an afterthought. If you need convincing, make her garlicky kale with quinoa and roasted squash. Or, if you are in the Columbus area, head to the North Market and visit her restaurant, Littler Eater. I promise you will not walk away hungry, but rather encouraged by how delicious and hearty vegetables can be. And if you can sit tight until the spring of 2016, her cookbook, The Vegetable Butcher (Workman Publishing Company) will be on the shelves, turning even the weariest of carnivores into believers.
Then there is raw, vegan chef Laura Miller. Watch her show on Tastemade, Raw. Vegan. Not Gross and be amazed by the dishes she creates with neither heat nor animal. Every time I watch her show I am inspired. but for this post I settled on making her silky chocolate pudding. Do not be turned off by the fact that its base is avocados - be excited that you get to eat pudding that is full of healthy fats and won’t clog your arteries. Miller also has a cookbook coming out in the spring of 2016. According to her website, it promises to be a “collection of easy, real world, not too complicated and definitely not gross recipes”. Easy and not gross? I’m in.
So even though I’m a bit of a heathen when it comes to Foodism, chefs like Mangini and Miller make it easy to taste and explore a different culinary mindset. They’re breaking down stereotypes, and proving that flavor and animal product are not mutually exclusive. Now that’s something I can get behind, and I bet if you gave their recipes a try, you would too.
Recipe by Laura Miller
This dessert is wildly easy to make. The hardest part is probably planning far enough in advance so your avocados are ripe enough to use. You can watch the video of Miller making it here.
This recipe will yield approximately 16 oz of pudding. I will leave it up to you to determine how many servings that is.
1. Pull out your food processor.
2. Slice and pit the avocados. Scoop the avocado into the food processor.
3. Pour in your wet ingredients - coconut oil, maply syrup, nama shoyu and balsamic vinegar. Blend until creamy (10-15 seconds, but keep going until the avocado lumps are gone).
4. Throw in cocoa powder and salt. Blend again, and keep going until the mixture goes from weird green brown mixture to rich chocolatey goodness - about 20 seconds.
5. Serve and enjoy!
*Are you wondering what namu shoyu is? It is unpasteurized soy sauce, and apparently full of good for you enzymes that raw foodists need in their diets. The purpose in this recipe is to cut the avocado flavor. Do NOT switch out the namu shoyu for soy sauce. That would be gross.