Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits

I’ve got a week to go on my detox and dessert on the brain.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

I haven’t eaten ANY sugar except a teaspoon of honey here or there for two weeks. It’s been a fantastic exercise in self-control (who am I kidding—total TORTURE!), but as much as I’m ready to get back to the land of muffins, cake and pancakes, I’m also loathe to think of all the good work I’d be undoing if I went back to shoving the same, sugar-laced baked goods back in my face.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

So I made these parfaits. I wanted a totally delish, rich (not to mention romantic!) dessert to indulge in on Valentine’s Day, since that happens to fall about four days after the official end of my detox. And I wanted them to be healthy.

So I borrowed inspiration from a vegan chocolate peanut butter parfait from Whole Foods that my friend S and I loved. When we took a weekend trip to Austin, we spent about 87% of our time in their flagship whole foods and spent the night reclining after the wine bar, chomping on moist chunks of cake swaddled in silky, nutty layers of peanut butter mousse that, turned out, was made from…tofu. If the nutrition panel hadn’t listed it, we would never have guessed. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with recreating that mousse.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

But then…I wanted to add a brownie base. And chocolate mousse made out of another secret ingredient, no cream or sugar involved.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

Which is all fine and good except that, hello, I’m still in the middle of my detox! So the development process was kind of ridiculous, what with having to run over to my roommate with spoons of mousse asking, “how does this taste? Is it sweet enough? More peanut butter? Less vanilla?”

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

She gamely taste-tested for me (poor child) until I got the nod of approval (at which point, okay, I licked the spoon just to make sure she wasn’t being polite!). And if you’re skeptical, the real test was my boyfriend—who dug in with enthusiasm and didn’t stop until the glass was empty. He didn’t even flinch when I told him what was in it. “I couldn’t even tell!” Guys, this is BIG.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter parfaits

I honestly think this is one of the best “healthy” treats I’ve ever made. I’m definitely making it again for Valentine’s day—totally mood-supporting with that little accent of raspberry topping and what’s more romantic than mousse? Um, nothing. Plus, it’s totally satisfying, but not gut-busting, like the molten chocolate cake I’d otherwise be having. After my detox ends, of course.

Notes

Because these are almost raw (minus the tofu and the raspberry compote), you can throw everything together in a food processor in about 20 minutes. No baking required! A last-minute lifesaver! Just make sure to have the special ingredients on hand: avocado, tofu, dates, walnuts. HOWEVER. I’ve found the tofu pudding tastes better the longer it is refrigerated, so making this ahead of time is recommended.

I originally made this into two parfaits, but they were ginormous. I would still recommend following the full recipe; you can split one with your honey (or a friend) on V-day, then have another one the next day—one effort for the price of two. Or have a party with three friends and split it up into four reasonably-sized parfaits. Or just halve the recipe.

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but the chocolate and peanut butter layer repeat many of the same ingredients.

Substitutions: Raw cacao powder has many more nutritional benefits since it’s not cooked, but you can sub regular, non Dutch-process cocoa powder for it.

Tofu: I used firm tofu since that’s what I had on hand, but soft tofu might come together much more easily and you may not need to add the additional milk.

You can use any liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave). I try to stay away from agave due to its questionable nutrition, but I generally use maple syrup and honey interchangeably unless I want a distinct flavor profile. In this recipe, the chocolate and peanut butter should overpower the sweetener, so it doesn’t really matter.

Optional: I only topped these with the raspberry “compote,” but it occurred to me while writing this post that spreading the raspberry mixture between each layer would also be great.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits

Yield: 2 hefty parfaits or 4 reasonably-sized parfaits

Silky peanut butter and chocolate "mousse" are layered over a delicious, raw brownie base, made completely out of fruit, vegetables, nuts and natural sweeteners. No sugar, heavy cream or butter involved!

Ingredients

  • Brownie layer:
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond milk, optional

  • Peanut butter pudding:
  • 1 cup firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons almond milk, as needed

  • Chocolate pudding:
  • 1 cup avocado (~1 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (can sub cocoa powder)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tablespoon almond milk

  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries (or more, if layering)
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange juice

Instructions

To make the brownie layer:

In a food processor, grind the walnuts to a powder. Add cacao powder and process to combine. Add the dates, vanilla, salt and process until everything comes together. If the mixture doesn’t quite stick together, add the milk and process until it easily clumps together. Press into the bottom of a glass. I used a glass with a slightly smaller circumference to press the brownie layer evenly against the bottom of the glass.

To make the peanut butter pudding:

Press as much water as you can out of the tofu. I literally squeezed the tofu until I had wrung as much water out of it as possible, but you can also wrap the tofu in paper towels and place on a cutting board or strainer with a heavy, flat object on top for about ten minutes. In a food processor, puree tofu until smooth. Add peanut butter, maple syrup and salt and process until combined. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until mixture is silky. Spoon over the brownie layer in the glass.

To make the chocolate pudding:

In a food processor, puree avocado until smooth. Add cacao powder, maple syrup, salt, vanilla and milk and process until silky. Spoon over peanut butter layer in glass.

Refrigerate until needed. I've found that although the peanut butter layer may taste alarmingly tofu-like at first, the tofu flavor mellows and the peanut butter flavor blooms the longer you let it rest. Overnight is best, but even a few hours will improve the flavor.

For raspberry garnish:

Microwave the frozen raspberries and orange juice for 45-60 seconds. Smash with a spoon until it’s the consistency of jam, and spoon over the chocolate layer. Top with orange zest, powdered sugar, cacao powder, chocolate shavings, etc. Alternatively, you can let the frozen raspberries come to room temperature while soaking in the orange juice and macerate slightly before topping for frozen pizazz.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2013/02/05/vegan-chocolate-peanut-butter-parfaits/

More peanut butter:

Oatmeal peanut butter banana bread 2.0
Peanut butter quinoa oat muffins
Peanut butter & carrot pancakes
Peanut butter and banana dutch baby

More chocolate:

Single slice chocolate layer cake
Vegan double chocolate mini muffins (no sugar!)
Banana almond layer cake
{momofuku} chocolate chip peach cake
vegan chocolate cake pancakes

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36 thoughts on “Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits

  1. Pingback: Chocolate Peanut Butter Strawberry Parfait | Mangia Dolce

    1. erika Post author

      THANKS Jackie! I’m such a fan of your blog–it was a huge thrill to see your comment pop up. Thanks for the lovely comment :) You inspire me to be vegan every time I visit your site!

      Reply
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  6. elizabethranger

    erika, you’re a genius! I remember trying to make desserts for someone on a sugar cleanse (and, in turn, I remember how difficult it was for them to do it – so congratulations there, too!) and I don’t think I ever made anything as elaborate or as satisfying looking as that parfait. I would seriously make that any day or anytime, it just looks so perfect!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Aw thank you!!! You are so sweet. I felt so silly when I first started on my sugar cleanse, but it really was quite the journey and I feel kind of…really accomplished! I mean, I feel like my tastebuds are changing…what could be better than not craving as much sugar? Makes not eating it so much easier :) And oh man, you NEED this in your life–I know it looks sort of complicated, but it’s really SO easy and SO good. Thanks so much for the sweet comment!! :)

      Reply
  7. Leah

    How do you make tofu look and sound so good? The stuff makes me a little nervous but I totally trust you on this one. The brownie layer sounds awesome – I’m thinking about just making that ASAP! I’m recently obsessed with dates since trying them for the first time on Paleo.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Hahaha it was a little nerve-wracking to invest all that maple syrup and precious cacao powder into this, not knowing how it would turn out, but I actually promise it’s delicious. Especially layered with all the other delicious things :)

      But yes, you should definitely try the brownies asap!! They are my new favorite raw creation–so easy and SO good!!!!!!

      Reply
  8. The Wimpy Vegetarian

    These look gorgeous!! Avocado in chocolate desserts is everywhere and I’ve been wanting to try something along these lines for Valentines too. When I was in school we made chocolate mousse with silky tofu and I swear we couldn’t taste anything different at all. It was so full of chocolate goodness. And I love your approach to the brownies. And kudos to you for your commitment to detox!!! I’m cutting way back on processed sugar, and trying to reduce all sugars overall. It’s been a month, and I’m really starting to tell the difference in my taste buds now. I suddenly don’t want as much sugar in something. Yay!!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      We must think alike! I’ve been wanting to make a good cornbread, and when I saw yours pop up on my feed, I took it as a sign that I should try it :)

      I really think mousse and puddings are some of the most forgiving things you can sub healthy ingredients for–love how you can cover up the taste with just a little chocolate and sweetener! And thank you! Good for you for trying to reduce sugar intake–that was definitely a big goal of mine. And I totally agree–I think my tastebuds are starting to crave “healthier,” less sweet sweets now. YAY indeed!!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Alice! I will definitely post a recap of my detox, which is ending in three days!! And I think the buttons should be fixed; thanks so much for letting me know!

      Reply
  9. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Wow, going through a detox? I admire you! you’ll have to blog about the whole thing and let us know how everything went. . wow, I can’t believe you incorporated tofu and avocado in all this deliciousness. . I have yet to attempt something like that when it comes to dessert (like beets in cake) but I am definitely going to give it a try! Fabulous post!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much Stephanie! You’re so sweet :) Omgosh I think that actually looks so gross written down…there’s tofu and avocado in these!! But I do love that they’re healthy :)

      Reply
  10. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Yay, I’m so happy you’re posting again! I missed ya, girl. And as much as I miss your delicious, decadent, full fat, full carb recipes, these healthy ones are totally tantalizing. I can’t believe this is so nutritious! And your photos are gorgeous. I love the super-chic styling.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Awww thanks Nancy :) I missed your great comments! I almost can’t believe how “healthy” they are either! Now I just have to take the sugar out of them…and thanks–my boss actually got me that pink scarf in the photos from India! I should tell her it’s gone to such good use :)

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Um YES as it happens NYC is the #1 destination on my vacation wishlist. I’ll bring you some avocado brownies!! (Jk. But maybe quinoa cookies :))

      Reply
  11. Brandi

    These look beautiful! I’m seeing these mousse recipes everywhere with tofu or avocado, lol! I think the mousse gods are telling me to make it. Giada did one with avocado a few weeks back on the food network. I LOVE that you made yours peanut butter…yummy!! I just can’t stand tofu, but if you say you can’t taste it, I believe you! Can you taste the avocado? Last time I made a dessert with avocado, it’s all I could taste….I have a mousse recipe that I make completely different.
    These look so perfect for Valentine’s Day!! :)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Right?? I’ve been meaning to make these for weeks and suddenly avocado mousse is EVERYWHERE! I’d love to try out Giada’s recipe…I’ve never made one of hers before, but they always look so delish!

      Ooh ew, so I’m not a big fan of avocado, which means i had a vested interest in making the chocolate layer not taste like avocado! I think the cacao powder really does a good job of covering it up, and so does the sweetener. But you can always add more of both if you can taste it! (Although I don’t think you can, with these proportions.) And I can’t believe you can’t stand tofu! Have you tried it baked? Stir-fried? Is it the texture? I just love it, but I’ve been hearing more and more bad things about it, so maybe it’s good you don’t like it…

      Reply
      1. Brandi

        Hey! 2 reasons…one being that it is a highly processed food which means a big no-no for the hubby and two, yeah I don’t like the texture…I’m a weirdo when it comes to the textures of foods. I don’t like many fruits for that same reason. Yet, if they are blended up in a smoothie, I love them! Weird, I know. Regardless, your mousse looks DELISH!!

        Reply

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