Monday, June 17, 2013

Chocolate Zucchini Truffles (Vegan, No Added Sugar)



Rich. Gooey. Dark. Chocolate.

(Got your attention, did I?)

I don't know about you, but lately I've been needing a little indulgence. So I donned my chef jacket and came up with these whole-food vegan truffles, which mingle the decadence of chocolate with the virtue of veggies for a treat you can actually feel good about eating. They're a snap to make, too—you need only 4 ingredients and 30 minutes.

Which is really good if you've had a really bad day.

Better yet, unlike most chocolate goodies I've encountered (yeah, brownies and cupcakes, I'm talking to you), these truffles actually satisfy my chocolate cravings instead of stoking them. Which seems somehow miraculous to me, but there you have it.


What's more, these tasty little morsels can help you use up some of the zucchini that even now is silently plotting to overtake your garden. (Heh.) Yet that same zucchini is completely undetectable in the final product, transmuted by some sort of mysterious alchemy into smooth, chocolatey goodness.

So if you're ready for a healthier hit of chocolate that's sinfully delicious, go ahead and treat yourself. You deserve it!
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Chocolate Zucchini Truffles Recipe
Dark and delicious, these truffles come together quickly. Better yet, they're fun for the whole family to make—even little ones can help, whether rolling each truffle into a ball or unleashing their inner Picasso to sculpt tasty truffle shapes. Truffles can be made up to 2 days in advance; see note at the end of the recipe.

Prep time: 30 minutes                    Serves: 8 (Makes 16 1¼-inch or 24 1-inch truffles)


Ingredients
½ small zucchini, cut into chunks (2 oz)
15 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped into quarters (a little more than 1 c packed)
1 c raw walnuts
¼ c + 2 tsp high-quality cocoa powder* (I like Ghirardelli) 
Additional cocoa powder or other toppings to coat truffles

Directions
Fit a food processor with a standard S-blade.

Process walnuts for 30 seconds–1 minute, or until the ground walnuts look like sand (but not so long that you make walnut butter). Remove walnuts from the processor and set aside.
Your walnuts should look like this.

Place zucchini in processor and process for 20–30 seconds, pulsing and scraping the sides as you go, until pulverized to a coarse "dust." (Like cauliflower rice, but finer.)

Remove from food processor and squeeze the water out of the zucchini using paper towels or a clean flour sack towel. Don't skimp; you want to get as much water out as possible.

Process the dates, cocoa powder, and pulverized walnuts together for 15–30 seconds, until the mixture looks like chunky dirt. (I know, yum, right? But that's exactly how it'll look!)

Add the zucchini and process another 10–15 seconds until evenly distributed. If the truffle "dough" starts to collect into a large ball and whump around your food processor, you're done!

Form the dough into 1-inch balls for medium truffles or 1¼-inch balls for large truffles. The dough will be soft, but should be able to roll easily. If you find it's too sticky to work with, wrap it in plastic and place it in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up.

Roll each truffle in a bowl filled with your topping of choice—I like cocoa powder, or chopped pistachios to echo the green of the zucchini. However, you could also use toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, or any other topping that strikes your fancy.

Serve and enjoy, refrigerating any leftover truffles.

Note: Truffles can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated without coating. Then, a few minutes before serving, remove them from the fridge, allow to warm slightly, and roll in toppings. Yum!

*To keep it raw, swap cacao powder for the cocoa. (And let me know how it turns out!)

Click here for printer-friendly recipe.

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Nutrition Info (⅛ of recipe: 3 medium truffles or 2 large truffles, excluding coatings): 223 calories, 79 calories from fat, 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 439mg potassium, 38g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 30g sugar, 4g protein 

Submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Unprocessed Fridays, and Wellness Weekends, some of the hippest blog hops around! 

If you still have more zucchini to use up, how about making some Crazy Easy Zucchini Basil Soup? Low fat and fabulous.

Want to actually enjoy your vegetables? Subscribe to Veggie Quest and never miss a recipe! (WFPB, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Eat-to-Live friendly.) 

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I came to check out yours and it's funny because I am doing similar things as you!
    I just posted almond energy balls yesterday and was playing around with formulas (still needs tweaking), but I like yours. We'll have to try them today!
    I'm assuming the zucchini would not last long and should remain refrigerated? But I also assume they wouldn't stick around long enough to find out :)

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    1. Great minds think alike! I'll have to give the almond energy balls a whirl, although I'm still recovering from eating SO many batches of chocolate zucchini truffles that I may have to wait a day or two. (Poor me, right? ;-) I'm guessing you understand, though, since you've been going through your own rounds of testing!

      And I kept leftover truffles in the fridge because I thought the higher moisture content of the truffles could be an issue. Who knows?

      Sure solution: Eat 'em all. :-)

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  2. Truffles with ZUCCHINI? I LOVE it! I love putting zucchini in my chocolate smoothies. So I know this is a winning combination. Can't wait to try your truffles! Please come share at Raw Foods Thursdays!

    http://www.glutenfreecat.com/2013/06/raw-foods-thursdays-62013

    Heather

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    1. Hi Heather, so glad you stopped by! Do you know I've never once thought of putting zucchini in a smoothie? I'm so trying that this weekend!

      Also, I just shared these at Raw Foods Thursdays. I even added an option for keeping them raw so they'd fit in with all the other goodies. Didn't want them feeling all awkward and middle school! ;-)

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    2. Awkward and middle school...that's hilarious! Hope you enjoy your zucchini chocolate smoothie! :) Thanks for sharing these truffles. Making them soon!!! Pinning them on our Raw Foods Thursdays board too.

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    3. Thanks Heather! And you're right, zucchini in smoothies is DELICIOUS (tried it yesterday). Disappears taste-wise, ups the veggie quotient, and adds a nice, smooth texture. Genius!

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  3. SO ingenious! They sound--and look--terrific. Nothing like veggies in truffles, indeed! :D Thanks so much for linking up to Wellness Weekend this week, too!

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    1. Hi Ricki, glad you like them! I've only just begun dabbling in veggie desserts, but I think I like it... :-) Will keep an eye out for veggie desserts (and other veggie recipes) on your blog and Wellness Weekends!

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  4. I have tried these and had to eat four or five in a row (strictly for scientific reasons, of course). Absolutely DELICIOUS! As a matter of full disclosure, I am Lee's mom. You will notice that I don't often write on the blog, but I just had to comment on these! Really, what a great treat it is to eat something absolutely luscious and not feel guilty.

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    1. Aww, thanks Mom! You're the best. :-D

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  5. These are so neat! I love it how bloggers are trying to get vegetables in desserts. I came across a cauliflower pudding recently, but don't know if I'm that adventurous yet. Your recipe is definitely one I hope to try though!

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    1. Cauliflower pudding?! Holy moly, that could either be really good...or really gross. Either way, I have to try it! Don't suppose you know of a recipe offhand? If not, I'll be Googling that one. ;-)

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  6. I love different ways to incorporate veggies in desserts - my favourite so far is avocado chocolate mousse, but I think these will be equally good:)

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    1. Avocado chocolate mousse, yum! I've tried chocolate avocado pudding, and it was surprisingly good. (Not at all the chocamole I was expecting... ;-)) Do you know of any more veggie desserts? When it comes to cooking veggies, I'll try pretty much anything!

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  7. Lee, I love this recipe. I've made plenty of date balls but never thought of adding something like zucchini. When the zucchini in my garden starts producing, I'll be sure to give this a try. Thanks for participating in Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

    P.S. I'm outside of DC, too!

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    1. Hi Linda, glad you like the truffles, and thanks for the highlight on this week's Gluten-Free Wednesday! You'll have to let me know how they turn out once your garden starts turning out some zucchini. I love Gluten-Free Homemaker, by the way, and GF Wednesdays are always inspiring!

      Side note: Are you on the MD or VA side? I grew up in VA, but when I came back to the area moved ACROSS the river to MD. Traitorous! ;-)

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  8. These are fantastically healthy! I LOVE the recipe!

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  9. Thanks, Vicky! So glad you like them! :-D

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  10. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the recipe! I have been thinking about making chocolate candies using vegetables so I am glad I came across your blog page. What is the usual shelf life for these truffles - or for any other perishables like fresh fruits and vegetables?

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  11. Hi JJ, great to "meet" you! To be honest, most of the time these truffles never made it past the 24-hour mark at my house, in part because I have no self control. ;-)

    As for shelf life: These truffles need to be stored in the fridge. The zucchini has a high enough water content that storing on the counter likely wouldn't be safe. I'm guessing the same would be true if using other fresh fruits/veggies. (If you dehydrate the fruits/veggies first, that might be another story--maybe I'll check with an expert and do a post on that!) In the fridge, we once managed to keep some truffles 3-4 days before devouring them, and they were still great. So I'd try to use them up in that space of time. Good luck!

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