Chocolate Pudding (Secret Ingredient: Butternut Squash) with Vanilla Cashew Cream

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When I was a little girl, my mother made chocolate pudding all the time. It was out of a box, My-T-Fine, but it was my favorite. So I always have some variation of a vegan chocolate pudding in my house. I have posted a bunch of different recipes for chocolate mousse and pudding but as I continue to create and learn in my kitchen, new ideas come up. This pudding is not My-T-Fine but it is mighty fine! And it is healthy to boot!

Note: I like to use coconut sugar here but maple syrup works really well too.

Chocolate Pudding (makes about 2 cups)
1 medium sized butternut squash (about 2 cups mashed)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or maple syrup or other liquid sweetener of choice)
1/2 cup plant milk (I use homemade cashew milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or extract)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel, deseed the butternut squash. Cube it and place in a deep pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Drain and let cool.

Add the butternut squash to the Vitamix or blender. Add the cacao powder, coconut sugar, plant milk, vanilla powder and salt. Let it rip until the pudding is creamy. Taste and adjust sweetness and saltiness.

Vanilla Cashew Cream (makes about a cup) *
1 cup cashews
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

If you don’t have Vitamix, soak the cashews for 4 hours or overnight. Drain and use new water.

Add all ingredients to the Vitamix and process until completely creamy and smooth. Add more water if too thick.

Serve pudding topped with cashew cream and fruit. Enjoy!

*Cashew cream is a great topping on this dessert and any other dessert, especially fruit. It freezes really well. Store it in a glass jar  and just set it out to defrost when you need it!

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