Sharing the Gift of Health This Holiday Season with Healthy Cooking



As a young twenty-something girl, my life would be near perfect if all my friends were just as enthusiastic about following a plant-based diet as I am. It would be easier when we went out to dinner and all wanted to go to the same healthy vegetarian restaurant, during potluck dinners and lunch dates. We could talk about nutrient-dense cooking and baking and our latest favorite healthy recipes with the same overflowing enthusiasm (these conversations are so enjoyable to me- I’m like a little girl talking about her favorite girl scout cookie). I am drawn to other people who share the same passion for health and wellness and its sidekick, healthy cooking. Yet, while I do have some friends I can share my passion for nutrition with, I certainly have many friends who are not as healthy-eating inclined. Therefore, I view the holiday season as the perfect opportunity to share the wealth of health with my currently not so health-inclined friends, a mission I nicknamed “operation undercover- convert friends with irresistible cooking”.

I prepare foods like cashew creamed kale, avocado banana brownies, and black bean pesto dip (all tasty, I promise!) in the hopes of luring my friends into wanting to learn more about my healthy eating lifestyle. It is a fun mission, that’s for sure. I’ve learned that preparing delicious foods gets conversation flowing and we talk about how taking care of our bodies doesn’t mean depriving oneself of delicious foods. On the contrary, I think I enjoy the tastiest foods! I tell my friends about why I used some of the ingredients I use, like flaxseeds in my pumpkin bread and black beans in my brownies. It’s an educational opportunity as well as an enjoyable one.  

Therefore, instead of shopping for presents like clothing and jewelry during the holidays, I continue to prepare my friends healthy but delicious goodies throughout finals week. They are most grateful. I get more joy from feeding my friends healthy foods than I would from providing them with something store-bought. I feel that there is no better present than helping people improve their health. Healthy eating really can be contagious if we make an effort to show the people we care about that itis not difficult and can be mouth-wateringly enjoyable. The holidays are the perfect time to do this. We can provide a healthy and delicious nudge to get them headed in the right direction. Without further ado, I will share a recipe inspired by Emily Boller that works wonders on this mission:


Heavenly Holiday Fudge



1 can (15oz) of black beans

½ cup of dark cocoa powder

1 cup medjool dates pitted and chopped

3 apples chopped

1/4 c. water

1 banana

2 t. vanilla

1-2 cups walnuts

Place all ingredients (except walnuts) in a vitamix or high power blender. Process until very smooth.  Then stir in by hand walnuts (not finely chopped) and bake in a 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for an hour until the top has a crust and the middle remains gooey.  Transfer the batter into a rectangular plastic container and pack in tightly and put into the refrigerator overnight.  Afterwards cut into 1 inch squares. 

Store cut up fudge in-between layers of wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!




image credit:  Emily Boller

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Comments (31) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Marie - December 5, 2011 1:49 PM

The fudge looks wonderful. Just one question. I'm a bit confused about the directions. It looks like I'm supposed to take it out of the pan after baking it, pack it into a rectangular container and refrigerate over night. That seems counter-intuitive after baking. Won't I lose the crust and gooey middle?

Thanks for your help. I'd love to add this to my healthy goodie list.

Dawn - December 5, 2011 3:10 PM

Did you drain and rinse the black beans or did you use the liquid as well?
Thanks, I'm excited to try this!

Jeffrey A - December 5, 2011 3:11 PM

Is it sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder? Makes a big difference.

Judi F. - December 5, 2011 3:20 PM

I too am confused about the directions -
1. Do you use one-half of a 15 oz can of beans or one and a half cans?
2. Same as Marie asked - remove from pan after baking and place in another container? does it really need to be baked?

Thanks and happy holidays!
Peace, Judi

Mark Osborne - December 5, 2011 3:32 PM

Thanks Talia, love that these are naturally sweetened. Medjool dates are my favorite.

Your comments on tasty food jogged a couple of memories for me. One was Dr Fuhrman's comments on toxic hunger and the other was comments about sugar, fat and salt by David Kessler.

Whole foods can be tasty without crossing the line to become hyper-palatable foods that drive cravings and cause overeating.

Angelique - December 5, 2011 4:01 PM

This sounds delightful, I will have to try making this over the holidays.. the family will be coming to my house this year! I know many of them will bring their foods I won't wish to partake in, but I plan on having many healthy things available too!

Stephanie - December 5, 2011 4:25 PM

This sounds great. I'm also intrigued by the avocado banana brownies and would love a recipe for it, if possible.

As another twenty-something, I'm in a similar boat where my friends are concerned. I like to take my dreams a little bit farther than just imagining that all my friends went Fuhrman, though; I dream of a Fuhrman world, where all the restaurants would be nutritarian, and you could walk into Whole Foods and buy a healthy dessert if you didn't want to bake it yourself. Mostly it just feels like idle wishing, but sometimes I think I'm young enough that I might live to see it happen--or at least live to see something much closer to it than what we've got now. Here's hoping! Keep up the good work!

Katie - December 5, 2011 4:27 PM

Talia, great article! As a late twenty-something girl I can totally relate!! Great ideas and I can't wait to try the recipe! Enjoy the holidays!

Also to those who had questions on the recipe, from my experience with similar recipes I am guessing it is 1 1/2 cups of beans and they are drained. The refrigeration after baking is probably to make them fudge-like. (Talia or Emily, please correct me if I'm wrong!) With these ingredients you can't really go wrong. :)

Anna Halager - December 5, 2011 4:28 PM

Dear all,I am new to all this. However, US friends of mine speak enthusiastically about the EAT TO LIVE Programme, so I went to my local bookstore in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark, and ordered a copy of the book. I expect to receive it shortly. I have a cup for American measurements but must say that I am lost when it comes to ounces and Fahrenheit. I am a member of a local vegetable association where we buy directly from local farms that provide us with the season's organic vegetables at sharply reduced prices. In a cold climate, you tend to eat more. I am wondering whether EAT TO LIVE makes you 'full up' in a climate that is very windy, with a chill factor, and where we can hit quite low temperatures? Would like to hear your opinion. Anna

Mia - December 5, 2011 4:35 PM

Gonna have to try this one for myself just to see how black beans can end up making fudge!

Emily Boller - December 5, 2011 4:57 PM


You are correct . . . mixing the crusty part with the gooey part and "moudling" it into a plastic container and refrigerating it does make it present, with a clean cut, just like fudge. :)

Evelyn Levine - December 5, 2011 5:12 PM

I am going to have to try this for sure....perfect timing, as I used to make "Fudge" every holiday, now I can try a healthy version & not feel bad eating some!
Thanks for sharing!

Talia - December 5, 2011 5:23 PM

Eek! Typo in the recipe. It is actually 1 can of black beans (which is about 15 oz). I drained the beans before putting them in a vita-mix. You don't have to bake it, but it becomes more like a fudge when baked and then cooled and is more like a pudding before baking. It just depends on your taste preferences! It doesn't matter which types of apples. Any will do! I used raw unsweetened cocoa powder.

Stephanie, I too wish that we lived in a nutritarian world!

Jeffrey A - December 5, 2011 7:43 PM

Thanks Talia for the updated info. Can we get the other recipes you talked about?

BioEthics - December 5, 2011 8:06 PM

@ Anna Halager - I am in the northern part of the US, New Hampshire, which has a fairly cold winter, similar or cooler than a blog I follow from Sweden (Chez Larsson) And my husband and I have great appetites. We started eating Nutritarian in July, and have been thrilled with the foods. We eat lots of veggies and fruits, and still have become leaner. The foods are wonderful. Your good health will keep you warm, and permit you to be active enough to warm up as needed by exercise. Best of luck! Pat in NH, US

Liz - December 5, 2011 10:19 PM

As a twenty-something girl whose greatest passions are nutrition, wellness, and healthy cooking, I can relate to this post so much! I can't wait to try out this fudge recipe -- it sounds delicious, and could really come in handy with the holiday baking I'll be doing soon.

BioEthics - December 6, 2011 10:27 AM

@ Anna Halager - I just came across an earlier title of Dr.Fuhrman's work, done in metric! Here's the url What a surprise! Hope this helps!

Kittye - December 6, 2011 11:05 AM

I just made this recipe last night and it is delicious. Some of my co-workers also really enjoyed it. Some suggestions:
- Line the baking dish with parchment before adding the batter.
- If you don't have a Vitamix, add the ingredients a little at a time since they may fill the blender if added all at once.

Suzy - December 7, 2011 8:48 AM

I used to make "Fantasy" fudge every year at Christmas to put in a tin of "goodies" for friends and family. When I realized that the "goodies" were more like "baddies", I started looking for replacements.

This looks wonderful and healthy, too! My one concern is the combination of beans and fruit. Will that cause digestive upset?

Robin - December 7, 2011 2:15 PM

I made this fudge last night (I too was confused about draining/rinsing the beans) but drained them only - it came out great, except I think I might have wanted to cook it longer. It set up somewhat in the fridge overnight - but not as much as I would have liked. Does cooking it a bit longer help?
I love high nutrient cooking and eating - and have a wicked sweet tooth - even with ETL since September! This "treat" really takes the edge off of my craving for dark chocolate after every meal! So healthy it's crazy!!

Toria - December 7, 2011 10:16 PM

This sounds delicious, will be trying it soon and if there's any left over giving it for gifts.

Katie - December 9, 2011 1:59 PM

Delicious! I made half a batch this morning to test out the recipe. I'm shocked at how good the flavor is and how filling they are. Best of all I don't get that energy slump I feel after I eat really brownies loaded with butter and sugar!

Courtney - December 11, 2011 7:50 AM

I left this comment 3 days ago but it isn't getting posted, so I will try again...
What is the point of taking the fudge out of the baking dish and putting it in another container to chill? Couldn't you just put it in the fridge in the baking dish? Or are you supposed to pack it into a smaller sized container to make it thicker? Some help/explanation would be great...I would really like to try making this and have been waiting for a response!

Thanks so much!

Emily Boller - December 11, 2011 11:49 AM

Please read a response above on Dec. 5th to Katie's question. And yes, a smaller, plastic container does make it thicker.

MishiRN - December 11, 2011 12:00 PM


If you look back a few comments, they gave an answer to that:
"Talia - December 5, 2011 5:23 PM
Eek! Typo in the recipe. It is actually 1 can of black beans (which is about 15 oz). I drained the beans before putting them in a vita-mix. You don't have to bake it, but it becomes more like a fudge when baked and then cooled and is more like a pudding before baking. It just depends on your taste preferences! It doesn't matter which types of apples. Any will do! I used raw unsweetened cocoa powder."
"Emily Boller - December 5, 2011 4:57 PM . . . mixing the crusty part with the gooey part and "moudling" it into a plastic container and refrigerating it does make it present, with a clean cut, just like fudge. :)"

MishiRN - December 11, 2011 2:14 PM

Can't wait to try this! This is the first vegan-style recipe I've ever seen that doesn't rely on nuts as the main ingredient! I am 99% "vegetarian"...I don't really know what to call myself really!lol Red meat is pretty much gone from my diet (maybe once a year, and not even enough to count as an actual 'serving'). Truthfully, I don't really eat any animal proteins, with the exception of egg whites or fish...on the RARE occasion. I just don't seem to be able to digest them like I used to. I get awful bloating and pain when I even try! My problem is, I have Celiac's, and SEVERE allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat! I'm dying to live a vegan or "nutritarian" lifestyle, but I am physically unable:( I can't even smell nuts, or I'll have an allergic reaction. I found Dr. Fuhrman a little over a year ago, when my health was so out of wack, and I was desperate for relief after being repeatedly let down by my "traditional" doctors. I did a complete water fast for 22 days, and I felt AMAZING afterwards!! It literally reset my gut; if I didn't do it myself, I wouldn't have believed me,lol. I seem to have rebounded back into a physiologically unhappy/unhealthy state, though. I can't seem to get on a even keel, and I think it's because I cannot get a steady, nourishing "diet" that fulfills all my dietary needs and stays within my dietary restrictions. Its so completely frustrating and discouraging, because most, if not all vegan/vegetarian/nutritarian diets are nut based, and involve some kind of wheat grass or oatmeal which are typically at risk for cross contamination with gluten.
If ANYONE can give me some advice, I would be eternally grateful. I am so tired of this health see-saw I'm on, and I just want to feel strong and healthy! Thanks in advance for any and all help:)

Mieke Benton - December 11, 2011 9:13 PM

Great recipe! I made 2 batches, one with coconut and one without. I think for the holiday party I will make the one without the coconut and add dried cherries.

Matt_A - December 13, 2011 12:23 PM

I made this last night and it isn't bad but it's a bit too "fruity" for me. Next time - and there will be a next time! - I think I'm going to cut the apple and add more beans, banana, and cocoa. For serving this batch, I'm sprinkling extra cocoa powder on top to cut the fruity taste.

It certainly looks like traditional fudge. The mouth-feel is different, of course, less creamy or something. But just a couple of adjustments for my personal preferences and I think it is a winner!

Sharon - December 19, 2011 5:06 PM

I've made 6 batches so far. My family loves them. They turned out too wet with carob though as my friend says there's caffeine in the cocoa. I love it with coconut. I've been buying little Christmas trays & handing them out as gifts to everyone, including the manager at Starbucks who seemed happy b/c he's diabetic. I added a little stevia b/c people are used to a bit more sweetness. People love it & are asking for the recipe.

Jenna - December 25, 2011 1:24 PM

Hi Talia! You may vaguely remember me from Cornell (we met through your cousin) - I made this for my family yesterday, and my dad absolutely loves it! He's always hated vegetables and we have a heck of a time trying to get him to eat healthy, so this was quite a victory. :) He still can't believe it's pretty much all beans, apples, banana, and dates!

Anna Halager - April 7, 2012 3:02 PM

@ BioEthics: To Pat in NH, USA:
It is only today, April 7 2012 that I read what you wrote to me. This is a question to you all in this forum: Page 270 mentions Bean Enchiladas. Questions: What is cilantro? What is a tomatillo? A winter zuchini: Could that be a fairly new, round vegetable known here as Hokkaido? We have 'exotic' vegetables but more into Asian fruits and vegetables. Grateful for any help and advice.
Anna, Denmark

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