Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl

Sometimes– okay, all the time… I want a yummy indulgence that comes together easily and painlessly.  Oh, and while I’ve been known to chow down on packaged goodies and processed treats from time to time, I much prefer homemade using healthy ingredients.

I told you I would be sharing recipes from some of the BenBella Vegan line of cookbooks.  I think I made this next one as soon as I hit the “publish” button on that last post.

love peanut butter.  It was really hard giving it up when I went on an elimination diet over the holidays (actually, I should probably get back on that bandwagon…).  Usually I prefer chocolate with my peanut butter, but recently I’ve rediscovered the PB&J.  My favorite combination is whole grain bread with natural peanut butter and all-fruit strawberry jam.  Lately, though, I’ve been making my own jam of sorts using frozen fruit and chia for thickening – like in these two recipes.  Similarly, this recipe from Plant-Powered Families combines peanut butter and chia for thickening, and this jammy process using frozen fruit.

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl | credit: benbellavegan.com

In full disclosure, that is not my photo.  Oh, I took some pictures, but they just weren’t very pretty.  I’m not a food photographer, and that’s okay – I’m a food eater.  I only have a couple cute little jelly jars like that, and I wanted to split up the recipe with everyone in the family, so it only went halfway up the sides of the canning jars I used.  And see that pretty little swirl?  Kind of like in a Hoodsie cup?  Yeah, mine didn’t look like that.  I opted to layer the ingredients instead.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Pudding
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter or other nut butter (see notes)
1 tablespoon white chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2–4 teaspoons pure maple syrup for extra sweetening (optional)

Berrylicious Swirl
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries (see note)
2–3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
Pinch sea salt

To make the peanut butter pudding
In a blender, puree the dates, peanut butter, chia seeds, sea salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth (if using a high-speed blender, this will be quick; with a standard blender, you may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times). If you’d like additional sweetener, add the maple syrup, a teaspoon or two at a time, to taste.

To make the berrylicious swirl
Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the berries, maple syrup, and sea salt until semi-smooth. If using frozen berries, it will take a little longer. *note: I used frozen berries and cooked them down on the stove top.  

To assemble:
Dollop the berry mixture on the peanut-butter pudding, or “swirl” it through!

Peanut Butter Note: Peanut butters often have salt added, even the natural varieties. Check the ingredients—if it does, reduce or omit salt.

Nut Butter Note: If substituting a nut butter like almond, try adding a touch of orange zest. It pairs beautifully with almond
butter!

Berries Note: If using seasonal fresh berries, they may be sweeter than frozen. Puree with just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and add extra to taste. With frozen berries, I usually use 2 tablespoons syrup.

The verdict?  This was soooo good.  I didn’t even miss the chocolate-peanut butter combination… though perhaps I should think of turning this into something else next time?  Obviously this is a personal preference, but I could have made this a little less sweet, but wanted to stay true to the original recipe.  Next time I make this I will double the peanut butter pudding, but keep the berry mixture the same.

Since I’m sharing from Plant-Powered Families, I wanted to give a brief review.  I didn’t read it from cover to cover, but skimmed through it entirely, reading portions here and there.  There are lots of basics (e.g. hot cereal, nut milk, dips), recipes based on spur-of-the-moment creations (e.g. smoothies, pudding, frozen treats), of which I am familiar.  In fact, some of them are very similar to recipes I’ve already made myself!  The recipes don’t require hard-to-find specialty ingredients and are very family-friendly… hence the name of the book!  I personally don’t use tofu, and there are a few recipes which include it, but there are plenty of other choices that don’t contain it.  There’s a nice balance between different types of meals, sides, soups, dips and miscellaneous treats.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I understand advocating for a certain way of eating, teaching your family about healthy choices and trying to stick to those choices in certain situations.  I also enjoy a meatless meal here and there, forego grains from time to time, look for milk-free alternatives.  There are some good tips and bits of information in the back of the book about dealing with some of these – school lunches, birthday parties, etc.  I thought these were very helpful, but honestly, there was a line in the book that colored my view of the Dreena Burton, the author and, consequently, the entire book!  She was talking about “preparing for slips,” those inevitable times when you or your children might eat food that you don’t want them to have.  In her example, her daughter ate a piece of cheese, which of course is a no-no for a vegan.  Instead of continuing with her dialogue about such a “slip,” she threw in the fact that she was “pretty repulsed that she ate the cheese.”  I paused, thinking – repulsed?  Does this author not hope to reach families that’s aren’t vegan?  Or is she just writing for some elitist group that looks down on those who happen to consume dairy, meat or – gasp! – both?

I would happily make and enjoy many of the recipes in this book, but would take some of her advice with a grain of salt.  And if I were browsing through this book in a bookstore and saw her opinion of a piece of cheese, I would have put it back on the shelf.

Have I ever told you that I also enjoy a grilled cheese from time to time?

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