You’ll never guess what wonderfully nutritious ingredient these vegan chocolate ice pops are hiding…
I’ll give you a hint.
These vegan chocolate ice pops are creamy and sweet, yet nut-free and reasonably low in fat, so what magic ingredient would let me do that?
Yes, beans. Black beans to be precise.
Now, I never would have thought to put beans in ice-cream, so when I saw Kathy Hester’s recipe for “Black Bean Fudgesicles” in her Great Vegan Bean Book, I was intrigued and just had to try it.
And they turned out to be delicious!
Delicious enough even for my 5-year-old daughter, who happily eats one of these for dessert most days.
And I inwardly giggle with delight every time she does, because she’s eating beans and doesn’t even care.
I mean, beans are just so good for you – they’re high in carbohydrate, protein and fibre, and low in fat. What’s not to love?
I don’t use raw beans in my dishes, because my digestive system can’t handle sprouted beans, and apparently uncooked beans really disagree with many people.
So I always cook my beans, just to be on the safe side.
And I always choose what to eat based on the nutrient-density and how it makes me feel.
At the moment, I feel less-than-great when I eat too much fat – even in whole food forms – or uncooked starches, so cooked beans round out my diet nicely.
And beans are a such great way to add nutrients and bulk to a recipe, without adding way too much fat, like nuts can.
So I’m having a great time at the moment discovering new and exciting ways to use beans.
I swapped out the agave nectar for medjool dates, and the vanilla extract for vanilla bean powder, so my vegan chocolate ice pops have even more whole foods than the original recipe.
And the resultant chocolate mix is so smooth and creamy, it’s hard to believe it has beans.
The chocolate and date flavours nicely mask any remaining beany taste from the black beans, so you’re left with a wonderful, satisfying chocolate popsicle.
You’ll just have to taste it to believe me.
I’ve also been playing with the recipe to make it into a vegan chocolate pudding, which my daughter also loves, but that’s a story for another day.
So if you’re looking for a way to enjoy your chocolate, while still giving your body more of the nutrients it craves, then I highly recommend you give these vegan chocolate ice pops a go.
They’re fast to make, super delicious and wonderfully satisfying.
- 1 can (250g) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
- ⅔ cup (150g) medjool dates
- ⅓ cup (30g) cacao powder
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder
- Add everything to your high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Spoon into your popsicle mould, add popsicle sticks/holders and freeze for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
During: 5 mins
After: 4h (at least) to freeze
Need: Blender, popsicle mould, freezer
- I use canned beans, because I love the convenience (I’m more of an on-the-spot kind of cook), but you can always cook them yourself if you prefer. One can of beans is about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans.
- If you’re buying canned beans, try to buy ones in BPA-free cans to minimise the amount of synthetic chemicals you’re getting from your food.
- Make sure your beans are prepared with little or no slat, or rinse them really thoroughly before you use them. A tiny bit of salt won’t hurt, but too much could easily throw out the whole flavour of this recipe.
- I normally use canned coconut milk, once again because I prefer the convenience. But if you wanted to make and use your own fresh coconut milk, that would make this recipe even less processed. And that could also make this recipe raw except for the beans.
- I use “Spiral Foods” organic coconut milk, which only has a 6% fat content, and it seems to make my raw vegan dessert recipes work better than brands with higher fat content (typically around 12%). If you decide to use canned coconut milk, see if you can find a brand that has a lower fat content.
- I’m in love with medjool dates at the moment for sweetening things. Medjool dates are big, sweet, soft and sticky dates that you usually find in the fresh produce section, or at your local health food store. They’re softer than regular dates, and have more of a caramelly taste and add a rich sweetness and a depth of flavour to recipes that I just love.
- The medjool dates add both fibre and bulk to these vegan chocolate ice pops, helping to make the popsicles even creamier. If you don’t have medjool dates, you can use any liquid sweetener, like agave nectar, coconut nectar or maple syrup (not raw). Just use 1/3 cup of sweetener instead of the 2/3 cup of dates (or adjust to taste). You won’t make quite as many popsicles, and they might be a little bit firmer, but still very delicious.
- I use raw cacao powder to make my popsicles, because my pantry is mostly full of raw ingredients these days and that’s what I prefer to use. If you don’t have cacao powder, you can just use unsweetened cocoa powder. You probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Vanilla bean powder is just fresh vanilla beans air-dried and ground into a powder using a spice blender or coffee grinder. You can make your own or you can buy it from your local health food shop. If you can’t get your hands on any, just scrape out a fresh vanilla bean or two into the mix, or add 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
- My high-speed blender makes short work of the dates and beans, creating a super-smooth popsicle mix. If you don’t have a high speed blender, just blend or process it for as long as you can, without the mix getting too hot, and use it as-is. You can also strain it through a sieve or cheese cloth if you prefer, to remove any remaining flecks of black bean skin or dates. I’ve never actually done this myself, so I can’t say how well it works.
- If you don’t have a popsicle mould, you can just use small paper cups instead, and add popsicle sticks after a couple of hours, when the mixture is half-frozen.
This recipe was inspired by the “Black Bean Fudgesicles” recipe from Kathy Hester’s Great Vegan Bean Book.
It had never occurred to me to add beans to ice-cream, so I just had to try this idea out, and I’m glad I did.
Kathy’s original recipe used agave nectar to sweeten as well as vanilla extract, but I love using the maximum amount of whole foods whenever I can, so I adapted the recipe to use medjool dates and vanilla bean powder instead.
I also increased the cacao powder to suit my tastebuds, and to make sure that the bean taste was completely masked.
I’m thrilled that my daughter loves these vegan chocolate ice pops and that I have yet another healthy, nut-free, kid-friendly dessert recipe in my arsenal.
Check out Kathy’s book for yourself
I think beans are a great addition to any vegan diet, even a mostly raw one, so if you’d like to discover some awesome ways to add beans to your day, I highly recommend Kathy’s book.
And have a fantastic day!