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Quick Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding w/ Adaptogenic Mushrooms

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Pudding/mousse-like desserts are my favorite, and coming up with new, simple chocolate pudding recipes is sort of a hobby (check out this Whipped Chocolate Chia Pudding and this Black and White Chocolate Pudding from the archives). Most times, a new chocolate pudding recipe happens when a craving hits at the most inconvenient of times. Instead of going to the store, I work with whatever ingredients I have on hand to create something satisfying. I pretty much always have cacao powder around, and I go from there, figuring out what I can use for the creamy element, then the sweetener. The creaminess can come from anything from avocado to sweet potato, cacao butter to coconut fat, to agar. For sweetener, I usually stick with maple syrup or dates, both of which are a constant in my pantry.

This sweet potato version is my new favorite because it comes together in a flash, especially if you are in the habit of roasting up a few whole sweet potatoes on the weekend, like I am. It tastes perfectly luxurious, and it’s so easy to spruce it up with all kinds of super-powders – in this case, powerful adaptogenic mushroom powders.

Mushrooms are having such a moment right now, and that makes us really happy because we are downright obsessed with everything to do with them, from the thrill of foraging for mushrooms, to their flavor, to their superpowers, which as it turns out are many. My father was an avid mushroom hunter, and he really instilled that love in both of us. Him and my mom had a ritual of going far and high up into the Caucasus Mountains for a few weeks in the late summer to gather mushrooms and berries. It was one of the most remote places I’ve ever been, with wild, beautiful, and rugged nature, where it would be warm and sunny one minute, and cold and snowing the next. Run ins with wild animals were not unusual, and the clouds often descended so low to the ground that you could walk through them. My father would disappear into the woods for whole days, only to return covered with mud, with baskets of the most beautiful, fragrant mushrooms on his arms. We would then spend all our days cleaning, cooking, and canning the mushrooms, and no meal would go by without some kind of mushroom component for the next few weeks.

All (edible) mushrooms carry some sort of health benefits, but adaptogenic mushrooms like lion’s manechaga and reishi are regarded as the kings and queens of medicinal mushrooms. Adaptogens are defined as natural substances that are able to adapt their healing properties to focus on whatever your body needs during any given time, instead of serving one limited function. The way we understand it is that they’re basically able to determine what’s out of balance and then work to bring it back into equilibrium. Isn’t that so mind-blowingly cool?

Our awesome partner, just started offering organic lion’s mane, chaga and reishi mushroom powders, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Although all three are adaptogens, each one of the mushrooms is known for slightly different properties. Lion’s mane is generally said to be great for concentration and memory, chaga is known for helping with immunity, overall energy and well-being, and reishi might become your friend when it comes to dealing with stress and sleeping well.

Our favorite way to incorporate these mushroom powders into our daily life is by sprinkling them into drinks like our Tahini Hot Chocolate, in snacks like our Energy Bites, or in healthful desserts like this Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding. We find that mushrooms powders go really well with chocolatey flavors and go unnoticed when added to something like the drinks/dishes mentioned above. People also love adding them to coffee.


 A colorful take on whole foods cooking--everyday dishes that are seasonal, clean, and nourishing, from Anya Kassoff.
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