Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 26, 2012

Combining two dynamically healthful foods–walnuts and chocolate–seemed like a wildly awesome idea, but then, what to do with those two items that end up as a truly original dish — one that almost jumps off the plate and starts to sing.

Walnuts and chocolate already meet up in a ton of cookie, cake, muffin, and dessert recipes. So I had to take that great little duo on a totally new journey into the unknown. That started my crazy little brain thinking about a savory dish, rather than one that’s sweet.

An idea blossoms
I had just bought a big bag of tomatoes and was planning to make a traditional Italian pasta sauce for dinner. Then–click–on went a buzzer. A sizzling idea was arriving! Before long it took shape–and yes–the idea sounded like a possibility–admittedly, a crazy possibility. The idea was so potent I could barely control its compelling tug.

No use fighting the urge, so off I went to the kitchen and began to assemble a delicious, from scratch, homemade pasta sauce with chocolate. Yep, that’s the nearly uncontrollable idea that mentally dragged me into the kitchen and forced me to make pasta sauce with–OMG really?– chocolate.

The traditional pasta sauce itself is actually rather easy and tasty, but not extraordinary. What is exceptional is the addition of chocolate–unsweetened chocolate–the kind one uses in baking. The finishing touch was the coarsely ground walnuts that added not only divine texture, but also a wealth of wholesomeness to the dish.

The ultimate fork test
The scrumptious result was a beautiful, sable-hued pasta sauce with such depth of flavor it simply stood out as irresistibly delicious. Looking at the sauce, no one would ever guess it contained chocolate. Not even tasting the sauce would reveal its secret ingredient. The chocolate is simply hidden within the delectable molecules and oozing with savory richness.

So NutGourmet fans, serve this pasta sauce with gusto–and don’t let the secret out of the bag! It’s ours–just ours, and we’ll keep it that way!


Yield: 4 to 5 servings or enough for 1 pound of pasta

3 pounds tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 head garlic, finely minced
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts

1.Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15, or until the tomatoes are well broken down and the onions are soft.

2.Add the chocolate and stir continuously for about 2 minutes, or until it is completely melted and thoroughly incorporated. Add salt to taste and cook another 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

3.Just before serving, stir in the walnuts and mix well. Cook another minute and serve.

Note: And don’t forget the Homemade Vegan Parmesan. Scroll down on the page past kale salad recipe.


  1. Spencer said

    I love chocolate and I love pasta so this makes perfect sense to me!

    • Zel Allen's nutgourmet said

      Hi Cath, Chocolate and Pasta Sauce may not make perfect sense to everyone, but it totally works. Let me know how you like it. Zel

  2. Sounds interesting, definitely not too weird to me! I rather like the Ligurian walnut pasta sauce I’ve had before.

    • Zel Allen's nutgourmet said

      Hi Maija, The thought of combining unsweetened chocolate with a homemade tomato sauce intrigued me, especially after reading about the healthy antioxidants in chocolate. I’m familiar with mole, the Mexican dish that combines beans or meat with sweetened chocolate.I’ve made that as well as a savory version minus the sugar, so I thought, why not try this chocolate and tomato sauce combo and see what happens. The result was delicious. On the downside is that the hefty quantity of chocolate turns the sauce a deep reddish brown, but the flavor makes up for its appearance. To add appeal to the appearance, add a garnish of chopped nuts, or finely diced green onions or herbs. Give it a go and enjoy. If you do make it, I would love to have your feedback. –Zel

  3. […] Chocolate Pasta Sauce (Zel’s Vegan NutGourmet) […]

  4. fanny said

    nice.. good recipe..


    • Zel Allen's nutgourmet said

      Hi Fanny,

      So glad you like this unique pasta sauce. Chocolate that’s not loaded up with fats and sugars contains great antioxidants, so I thought I would put those antioxidants to work. Everyone I’ve served this dish to says they would never know it contained chocolate! It hides quite well, yet adds a pleasant depth to the sauce. Enjoy!

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