Valentine’s is here, and it’s time to show your loved one—and yourself—a little love. Why not do that by splurging on dark chocolate—a plant-based ingredient with health benefits? Dark chocolate is packed with compounds with antioxidant activity, but it’s all about what you do with that dark chocolate. If you pack it with cream, sugar, and unhealthful fats, you can undo the benefits of this healthful food. Learn more about the benefits of dark chocolate here. And try some of my favorite plant-powered recipes enriched with the flavor of dark chocolate.

Coconut Cherry Dark Chocolate Waffles (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

These crunchy, delicious waffles really pack in the nutrient power, thanks to coconut, cherries, dark chocolate, chia and whole grain flour in the mix. Light in sugar, salt and fat, you can feel good about this healthy waffle, which uses  aquafaba (bean liquid) to obtain a light fluffy texture sans eggs. It’s just as yummy for dessert, with a scoop of coconut ice cream, as it is for breakfast. 

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Energy Mix (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I want to share this special recipe with you from  Plant-Powered for Life, as it is the perfect gift of love! You can make up this easy recipe and package it in mason jars, decorate it with some twine, and give it as a wonderful, handmade gift.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Vegan)

This ooey-gooey, fudgy chocolate cake recipe showcases the magic of  aquafaba, the reserved bean liquid that whips up like a meringue, replacing eggs in baking recipes. It also highlights how veggies can add so much moisture to recipes, such as zucchini in a luscious cake.

Indio Date, Walnut and Dark Chocolate Cookies (Vegan)

Within the desert region of Indio, California, you’ll find an oasis of date palms that has supplied most of the dates in the United States for the past century. I borrow the natural sweetness of these dates, along with the rich flavors of walnuts and dark chocolate, to flavor these healthier cookies. Pack them into a lunch box or picnic basket, or serve them with fresh fruit or sorbet the next time you host dinner guests. This recipe is featured in my book The Plant-Powered Diet.

Chocolate Zucchini Power Muffins (Vegan)

You won’t believe the plant power in these mega muffins! They are packed with cocoa, zucchini, avocados, almond meal, hemp, chia, flax, wheat germ and more! Plus, they are so delicious, they’re like a special treat—one that you can feel good about!

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