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Delicious Chocolaty Desserts Made Vegan and Gluten-Free

Jan 31, 2023 ● By Laura Theodore

Photo credit Laura Theodore

There are now many delicious chocolate varieties to suit a wide range of dietary needs, including those that follow a vegan and gluten-free diet. Because eggs are not used in a vegan diet, dairy-free chocolate chips can play an important role in creating “creamy” vegan chocolate desserts.  For example, when preparing vegan chocolate puddings, mousses or Swiss meringue-style frostings without the use of eggs, start by adding tofu or raw cashews, flavorings, chocolate chips, and simmering dairy-free milk to a high-powered blender and blend on high for about one minute to completely melt the chips, creating a fluffy, smooth texture. Once refrigerated, the chocolate chips will firm up, binding your delicious sweet treat while keeping it vegan!

For chocolaty vegan baked goods, cocoa powder combined with baking soda plays an important part, not only in taste, but to provide the “rise”. The acidic base of cocoa powder reacts with the baking soda to provide leavening without the use of eggs. This method works well for brownies and cupcakes. To add even more lift (like when you are baking a vegan and gluten-free cake), add a small amount of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to the batter to add even more leavening.

For the best vegan and gluten-free choices, purchase chocolate (and cocoa powder) that is fair trade, organic, dairy-free and certified to be gluten-free.

So go ahead and cook up some vegan and gluten-free chocolate treats that will please vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike!

Laura Theodore is a vegan PBS chef, cookbook author, podcaster and co-creator of the award-wining PBS television series Jazzy Vegetarian, airing every Thursday at noon on Lakeshore PBS, in Chicago.



Incredible Chocolate Brownies

Yield: 8-10 servings

Here’s the ultimate WOW brownie! It’s updated using tahini (instead of tofu) to replace the eggs and gluten-free oat flour (in place of whole wheat flour). The result is a rich and chocolaty indulgence that will earn raves from the entire family.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pan

1½ cups gluten-free, quick-cooking rolled oats

cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup (lightly packed) dark brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup nondairy milk, plus more as needed

cup (creamy) sesame tahini

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup vegan chocolate chips (55 to 70 percent cacao)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously coat an 8-inch-square-rimmed baking pan with olive oil.

Put the oats into a blender or food processor and process into coarse flour. Transfer the oat flour to a large bowl. Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir with a dry whisk to combine.

Put the nondairy milk, ¼ cup oil, tahini and vanilla extract into a medium bowl and briskly stir until very smooth.

Add the nondairy milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon until incorporated. If the batter seems dry, add an additional tablespoon of nondairy milk. (The batter should be thick, almost like cookie dough.) Fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Decrease the heat to 325° F and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the top is almost firm and edges are golden brown. Put the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 1 hour before slicing and serving. (Brownies will be crumbly while warm.)

Tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator, leftover brownies will keep for 3 days.

Recipe adapted from Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Laura Theodore, © 2022. Distributed by BPC. Reprinted with permission.

pPhoto credit Laura Theodorebrp

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