This chocolate mousse really is the best. It’s silky smooth, thick and luxurious, full of goodness that is good for your body and soul, free of refined sugar or any sweetener at all (if you so wish), it comes together super quickly and leaves you feeling full but not heavy. Perfect as a dessert, snack or even a light lunch (or, if you need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, breakfast)!
The story of the best chocolate mousse
I was working from home the other day and, as you do, restlessly went downstairs at lunchtime, looking through the (very full) fridge and seeing nothing exactly like what I was craving. The truth was, I wanted dessert for lunch – is that really too much to ask on some days? I went into the freezer next, thinking that perhaps I might be able to find a frozen pie or something dessert-like – and then my gaze fell on the frozen roasted sweet potato and pumpkin mash.
Haha… I bet you’re thinking: I am not sure I like where this is going. (Or, maybe – what?! Great idea!) Either way, bear with me. I love to buy lots of veggies and usually buy way too much, especially if I am shopping in person. Online grocery shopping has actually worked really well for me these past few weeks as it’s helped me control the amount of fruit and veggies I buy. That said, I love that I can get out of the house again now that we’ve become basically COVID-free in our area and browse the groceries in person (weird I know). But that usually leads to buying more produce than we can eat.
Anyway, I’ve started roasting some of the veggies which start to look a little floppy and sad, and then using those delicious roasted pieces in salads, soups, lunch boxes for the kids etc. Cold roasted veggies are surprisingly handy when they’re all prepped and ready to go in the fridge.
The day before that work from home lunch conundrum, I roasted some pumpkin and sweet potato, blitzed it into a lovely mash which I then froze in small portions. I was going to pop it into soups, stews or casseroles in due course, since the roasted mash is thick, naturally sweet and all around beautiful.
What other ingredients are there in this chocolate mousse?
And here you thought that the pumpkin and sweet potato were all the goodness in this mousse, didn’t you? But why stop there – let me take you through this gorgeous line up in turn. And don’t be mistaken – although I seem to be on a bit of a chocoholic recipe streak lately (having just published a recipe for this wonderful two ingredient chocolate fudge sauce), there is no chocolate in this recipe and you will see from the ingredient list below that this thick, luxurious mousse is not only delicious, quick and filling but also very very good for you.
Who doesn’t have a ripe banana or two in the house at any given time? If you have too many ripe bananas at once and don’t feel like baking a banana bread, let me give you a tip: break them into smallish pieces (at least 4-6 pieces per banana) and chuck them into a ziplock bag in your freezer. That way you will always have easy access to frozen banana chunks which are great for smoothies, shakes, smoothie bowls and nice cream! Yum!
Luckily, this shake can use either frozen or room-temperature ripe bananas.
And in case you didn’t know, there are a lot of great things about bananas. Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants and several nutrients (including potassium, vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, copper and manganese). A medium sized banana only has about 105 calories and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs, virtually no protein or fat. Plus, bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index so should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.
The fruit of the avocado tree is often referred to as superfood and for a good reason. Avocados are very nutritious, high in healthy fats and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E, folate and potassium, as well as small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).
A medium sized avocado only has 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 net carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food. Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. You can see why they call avocados superfood, right?
Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
Depending on whether you want this mousse to be dairy-free, you can use plain Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt (but also check the section on “Milk” below). I have used both at different times and they are both delicious.
Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein, probiotics and calcium, and its acidity makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients. Plus, it’s a great workout food as it’s rich in the amino acids which make up proteins, and proteins are the building blocks for regenerating muscle tissue and repairing fiber damage.
Coconut yoghurt is dairy free, has less protein but might also have calcium and vitamins added. Check your label for more specific information.
Pear juice or maple syrup
This is the only sweetener I use in this chocolate mousse. I don’t believe that any more is necessary as there is already a lot of natural sweeteness coming from the banana, sweet potato and pumpkin in particular, but also a little from the avocado.
When I juice, I usually make an apple and pear (or just pear) juice for sweetening other (less naturally sweet) juices for the kids, and if I have any spare, I use it here. If you don’t have any, you can use a drizzle of maple syrup instead.
Either way, do not use too much (and you won’t really need it) – because even though maple syrup contains some minerals and antioxidants, it’s still high in natural sugar.
Vanilla and cinnamon
These are my flavourings, which I put in nearly everything. I find that just a little bit of vanilla and cinnamon can add a little sweeteness, enhance the flavour and give you a hint of a fabulous scent.
And did you know that cinnamon is not only delicious but is perhaps one of the healthiest spices on the planet? It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits. (Just make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon or stick to small doses if you’re using the Cassia variety.)
I top up this chocolate mousse with a bit of milk, most of the time plant-based and sometimes cow. Just use whichever milk you prefer to drink or what you have to hand. Use plant-based milk if you want to keep this recipe dairy-free. Currently I am loving this delicious plant-based milk.
I add a dash of cacao powder which is an excellent sources of several minerals, including iron, selenium, magnesium, chromium and manganese. It’s also low in calories, high in fiber and has no added sugar. And it’s just so delicious!
Sweet potato and pumpkin
And finally, to round this off (and explain to you why exactly you should be eating my frozen super duper sweet potato and pumpkin mash in a chocolate mousse), let’s talk about the health benefits of sweet potato and pumpkin.
Did you know that pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, as well as vitamins C and E, iron and folate? It also contains antioxidants and is also relatively low in calories, as it’s 94% water.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – including vitamins A, C and B6, manganese, pantothenic acid, potassium, copper and niacin.
Best chocolate mousse [no refined sugar]
- 1 large ripe banana (you can use frozen if you prefer)
- 1 avocado
- about 3 tbsp frozen roasted sweet potato and pumpkin mash
- 2 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
- 2 tbsp pear juice or maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- dash of cinnamon (about 1/2 to 1 tsp)
- plant based or cow milk (to top up, about 1/2 cup to 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth and thick.
- Divide into two glasses (if sharing) and serve immediately.
This recipe makes two standard serves (for lunch, snack or dessert) or one super luxurious large one.
I find this chocolate mousse to be quite filling, so half of the amount above is usually enough for me – but I will totally understand if you don’t want to share!
I usually pre-make my roasted sweet potato and pumpkin mash the day before, as follows: Pre-heat your oven to 210C, and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Do not peel anything (but wash your produce and pat it dry) and simply slice your sweet potatoes into halves or large chunks and the pumpkin into large chunks (the chunks should be about the same size). Sometimes, when I cannot be bothered peeling the darn things, I simply roast halves of a pumpkin and whole sweet potatoes. It takes a bit longer but there’s no peeling – and once roasted, it’s easy to peel off the skin (and even spoon out the pumpkin seeds).
I don’t use oil or seasoning and simply roast until soft – about 30 to 50 minutes, depending on size of your chunks. Once roasted, I let the roasted veggies cool down completely before blitzing them into a mash in a food processor (or with a fork) and then freezing them in smaller portions (about 3 tbsp) in the freezer overnight. Then the roasted mash is all ready to go for your chocolate mousse recipe the next day!