Raw Vegan Ginger “Bananavo” Pie with Cacao Pepita Crust

Happy Friday! Today is 3/14, aka Pi Day. So instead of doing my bi-weekly Food Feature Friday, I’ll be posting a pi(e) recipe instead! This pie isn’t your typical pie. It doesn’t contain any flour, butter, or sugar. There’s no milk or cream. Yet it’s one of the creamiest pies I’ve ever eaten. So what is it, you ask? It’s raw. And vegan. And as far as the internet has told me, this pie doesn’t exist. Yet. Execpt for in my stomach. Right now.

Raw Vegan Ginger "Bananavo" Pie with Cacao Pepita Crust // Naturally Lindsey

I’ve been wanting to make a raw vegan pie for a while now, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. While I don’t follow a raw or vegan diet, I do tend to incorporate raw/vegan foods into my diet fairly often — and who says your diet has to have labels anyway? Anything that’s healthy, delicious, and REAL is good enough for me. I also wanted the pie to be GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day on Monday! So it’s a Pi-Patrick’s Day Pie. That’s a thing, right?

Raw Vegan Ginger "Bananavo" Pie with Cacao Pepita Crust // Naturally Lindsey

I’d never used avocado in baked goods before, and the interwebz told me that Avocado Pie is a California “tradition” — but seeing as I’ve lived in California, oh I don’ know, my entire life and have never tried it before, I think they might be wrong. The traditional recipe calls for condensed milk which is obviously a big no-no if you’re dairy-free or vegan. So I decided to add cashews and banana instead. (P.S. Banana + Avocado = Bananavo… get it?)

Raw Vegan Ginger "Bananavo" Pie with Cacao Pepita Crust // Naturally Lindsey

So what’s it like? The avocado-cashew-banana base is thick and creamy and while it tastes ever so slightly of avocados, the ginger and banana definitely shine through. The subtly sweet cacao pepita (pumpkin seed) crust pairs perfectly with the soft spice of the filling. And all you need is a food processor to make it. What’s not to love?

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Food Feature Friday: Cacao

Happy Valentine’s Day! When I was trying to come up with this week’s post, I wanted to theme it around love. I don’t know about you, but when I think of love I think of chocolate! However, chocolate in it’s modern form is hardly chocolate at all. It has a whole bunch of ick in it, like corn syrup, hydrogenated soy bean oil, and GMOs. No thanks! So instead, I chose cacao.

Raw Cacao Beans

Cacao is, in essence, chocolate before it becomes chocolate. Virgin chocolate, if you will. And the best part? It has so many health benefits. Most people know that cacao is high in antioxidants that help remove free radicals and fight inflammation. But there’s so much more! Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally means “Food of the Gods” — how cool is that? According to Natural News, Cacao contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium, being an amazing source of the latter with 272 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. Talk about nutrient-dense! Plus, just one ounce of raw cacao has 9 grams of fiber, 36% your RDA. It’s also thought to have anti-cancer benefits, lowers insulin resistance, reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and stimulates neurotransmitters in your brain to release a euphoric feeling when you eat it. So… do you want some chocolate?

Full disclosure: I must be sick in the head or something because I cannot have chocolate of any kind (including cacao) while I’m on this anti-candida diet. I’ve been all up on Instagram with the #glutenfree and #paleo hashtags looking at all the amazing stuff everyone is making for Valentine’s Day, I want it all! I cannot wait to shove some chocolate in my mouth once this thing is gone. No shame. All glory.

Now for this week’s recipes: Continue reading

Simple Chocolate Nut Butter Spread

Before becoming lactose intolerant, I loved Nutella. Perhaps a little too much. A finger dip here, a spoonful there; to my uneducated tastebuds it was truly happy in a jar. But let’s be honest here: Nutella is not the well-rounded health food the commercials make it out to be. Besides containing milk, soy, and an artificial flavor called vanillin, the first ingredient isn’t even hazelnuts: it’s sugar. The second? Non-sustainable palm oil, the harvesting of which is responsible for orangutang endangerment and deforestation – a contributing factor of global warming. It’s also very high in saturated fat, which can cause heart disease, increase cholesterol levels, and raise blood pressure. Find out more about palm oil here. Turns out Nutella isn’t so great after all.

But you know what is great? A healthy, tasty, natural alternative. This Chocolate Nut Butter Spread can be put together easily with three ingredients you already have on hand: nut butter, cocoa/cacao powder, and honey. Use hazelnut butter (make your own with this easy recipe) if it’s the Nutella taste you’re after. Almond butter is reminiscent of Ferroro Rondoir chocolates. And who can resist the classic combo of peanut butter and chocolate? For a decadent dessert, try it atop So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean “ice cream” and sliced bananas sprinkled with cinnamon (pictured below).

This recipe is:

• Dairy-free
• Gluten-free
• Soy-free
• Refined sugar-free
• Vegan*

chocnutbutter

Simple Chocolate Nut Butter Spread

• 2 tablespoons unsweetened creamy nut butter of your choice
• 1/2 tablespoon raw cacao or best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon honey

1. In a small bowl, combine nut butter and cacao powder. Add honey and stir until well mixed. Taste and enjoy.