Rich & Luscious
Despite being so indulgent, and you will be pleased with how many dietary boxes are ticked off with this vegan chocolate pudding recipe. If you are like me, when I need to make dessert for friends, it must be egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, oh, and preferably vegan and refined sugar-free too. Vegan chocolate pudding is all of these, but most importantly, it leaves you feeling pampered and healthy at the same time. By the way, I have an optional secret ingredient that adds flavor with no discernable heat: 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili. It enhances the fruitiness of the chocolate, and no one needs to know it is there.
I am offering you two ways to flavor this chocolate sweet up: orange or espresso. The secret ingredient is some Kashmiri (or cayenne) red chili. There is not enough to give any noticeable heat, but the fruity undertones from the chili are magical. Both ways are easy, rich, and comforting. Spoon the finished pudding into small little pots or dishes for individual indulgence. Or double the recipe and pour it into a large, pretty serving bowl and let your guests dive in for themselves.
Whipped dairy or coconut cream is a perfect match. And since it is always good to have texture, sprinkle some coarsely chopped, roasted or candied nuts for a crunchy topping. Try my recipe for sweet and salty nuts for a simple topping. I’ve gone with peanuts for this vegan chocolate pudding because chocolate and peanuts are best buddies. But almonds, pecan, walnuts—or even pistachios—would all also add some lovely texture.
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
The deal here is to plan ahead. Since this dessert has no eggs or gelatin, you still need the magic of a cold fridge to get it to set up properly. Even two days ahead is not too long. If the pudding is too firm just out of the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature naturally, microwave it in 30-second increments, or briefly place it in a hot water bath.
Please don’t be put off by all the dietary descriptions. Because even if you are lucky enough not to have any restrictions, you won’t miss the heavy cream, trust me!
P.S. If you would like to top this pudding with vegan whipped cream, please see my vegan coconut whipped cream recipe.
See the Notes below before you cook.
Vegan Chocolate Pudding Two Ways
- 1 4 ounces coconut milk ~ 1 can
- 5 ounces dark chocolate ~ Coarsely broken
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup ~ Or agave nectar, or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Optional, substitutions
- 1 orange zest ~ Zest of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder ~ Brand idea-- Not instant coffee
- Gather your ingredients.
- In a medium pan over medium-high heat, bring the coconut milk just to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Add the chocolate and stir until it is all melted and combined with the coconut milk.
- Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and ground chili, if using. If you are flavoring the pudding with orange zest or espresso powder, add them now.
- If you've used orange zest for flavor, strain the mixture now. Otherwise skip this step. Pour the pudding into one medium-sized serving bowl or individual jars or dishes.
- Chill for at least 3 hours, up to 24 or 48 hours. See Notes below if the dessert is too firm. Decorate as you wish. Whipped dairy or coconut cream, raspberries, chopped candied nuts, and chocolate shavings are just a few ideas.
- If you use chocolate without any refined sugar this dessert will be refined sugar-free.
- If you would like a good recipe for coconut whipped cream, please see my vegan coconut whipped cream recipe.
- If the pudding is too firm just out of the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature naturally, microwave it in 30-second increments, or briefly place it in a hot water bath.