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Sunday recipe: Heart-healthy dessert

During the month of February, when Americans and Canadians celebrate their respective National Heart Months, an emphasis is placed on being heart-healthy. But February is also the month to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is known for its decadent desserts and indulgent meals, among other treats. What is a person who wants to stay healthy but enjoy something special on Valentine’s Day to do?

Health-conscious people don’t need to sacrifice sweets this February. With a few substitute ingredients, even something as rich as chocolate pudding can be made healthier. Try this recipe for “Chocolate Avocado-Chia Pudding” from the American Heart Association, which gets a healthy boost from creamy avocado and chia seeds.

Chocolate Avocado-Chia Pudding

Makes 6 1⁄2-cup servings

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
3 Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)

  1. In a food processor or blender, process all the ingredients except the almonds until smooth.
  2. Transfer the pudding to serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the chia seeds to thicken.
  3. Just before serving, sprinkle with the almonds, if desired.