I have never subscribed to the guidelines of a vegan diet in my own life. I value the various motivations that vegan friends I’ve known use to structure their dietary and ethical identities with, but that specific way of life is not for me. I first became aware of veganism in high school and it seemed at the time like a diet with more rules and restrictions than opportunities to celebrate the wonderful offerings of what foods were acceptable for consumption. The world of vegan foods seems so much fuller to me now. Even though it’s unlikely that I’ll ever make the move to eliminate fish, or meat, or dairy (especially dairy!) from my daily life, I still intend to celebrate the abundance of richness and flavor in those other, earthier foods.
Today I offer a vegan take on the chocolate torte which in its simplest form is a flourless cake. This rich dessert utilizes dates as its silky base. I made a simple walnut meal by blending walnuts in a food processor with a pinch of salt before adding cocoa powder, soaked dates, and just a spoonful of agave. Once you have the blended walnut/ date/ cocoa mixture you are free to add whatever extras you like. I chose to use shredded coconut and sliced almonds but really you could throw in any nut, citrus zest or seed. Also, since there is no cooking involved, this recipe could be made completely raw by using all totally raw ingredients. Excellence!
2 C Walnuts, chopped
Pinch of Salt
1 C Cocoa Powder
16 oz. Medjool Dates, pitted and soaked until soft
1 T Agave Sweetener
½ C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
½ C Almonds, sliced or slivered
Directions: Pulse walnuts and salt in food processor until ground into a fine meal. Add cocoa powder and pulse until well combined. Add dates in 4 batches making sure the mixture reaches an even consistency before adding more. After dates, add agave and blend until thick but smooth.
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and stir in coconut and almonds, making sure an even distribution throughout.
Line a 9” cake pan with parchment paper and spoon the batter in. With your hands, press the mixture down evenly and tightly. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.