Welcome to my first recipe of 2018!
Inspiration for this recipe came from some mad chocolate cravings. My love for dark chocolate is already strong in itself, but this time, it was ferociously gnarly. At the same time, I also needed a kick for some creativity. In addition, I’ve noticed that most New Year’s recipes consist of detox salads and green juices to start off New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong–I adore loaded vegetable salads and fresh smoothies most of the time, but where’s the fun in eating only those dishes every single day?
For the most part, when you think of roasted vegetables, you generally don’t think chocolate belongs in the equation. However, once you try this recipe out, you’ll thank me for the idea and start using the chocolate marinade almost every single time you roast your starchy vegetables for those sweet cravings. You don’t even have to use kabocha. Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and acorn squash have worked amazingly with this sauce.
What is so special about this marinade, might you ask? Well, it’s creamy, rich, decadent, chocolatey, sweet, and incredibly easy to make! You will only need a few ingredients with many of them being optional. Once you create this chocolate marinade, you will never have to buy chocolate syrup from the grocery stores ever again!
For many people with some health-related conditions or New Year’s resolutions, simple sugars and any form of carbohydrates should be reduced or eliminated all together. Makes sense, because there are already plenty of complex carbohydrates (which are nutritious for you) in the kabocha squash. So, I have created a keto-friendly alternative for those who cannot tolerate too many sugars or just don’t really need anything extra.
In this case, you can use any oil, but I prefer to use melted coconut oil, almond oil, peanut oil (YUM), or any mild oil such as sunflower oil. Olive oil is technically usable, but its strong savory flavor might taste distinctive against the chocolate. But, I DID come across chocolate olive oil when visiting a store around Glendale, so maybe you could give it a try! If you do end up using the keto option, I highly recommend using a natural sugar free sweetener such as Stevia or monkfruit extract for extra sweetness, minus the olive oil option. Instead of kabocha squash, you can use cauliflower or even roasted avocado, which–TRUST ME–is absolutely delicious.
You may have some marinade left over, or it will taste so delicious that you’ll make even more to dip the kabocha squash in! Talk about DIY chocolate fondue!
RECIPE (serves 4)
- 1 1/2-2 TBSP cacao powder
- 3 TBSP organic maple syrup or Lakanto Monkfruit maple syrup; for the keto option, use 3 TBSP coconut oil (MUST be melted prior to using), peanut oil, sunflower oil for a milder flavor, or olive oil for a stronger flavor
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar or Stevia (optional, but I think it’s already sweet enough without it)
- A few splashes of water (optional)
- 1 pound of kabocha squash
- Gently whisk the first six ingredients in a large bowl until there are no clumps of cacao powder and the texture is completely even.
- Cut the kabocha squash into evenly sized squares or tips–alternatively, you can cube them or even slice them.
- Carefully add the pieces of kabocha, several at a time, into the bowl with the marinade, ensuring that each piece becomes coated with the marinade one-by-one.
- Let sit in the refrigerator overnight, covered. You don’t have to do this step, but the taste quality improves dramatically.
- When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 475F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper or sprayed aluminum foil.
- Spread the kabocha squash onto the baking tray, spacing each piece evenly.
- Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes.
- Let cool before serving.
Do you have mad chocolate cravings? Would you ever try chocolate olive oil?