Love Your Heart Chocolate Pudding

February 18, 2011

I am so excited to be participating in the Love Your Heart Recipe Rally! In honor National Heart Health Month and the new USDA recommendations to reduce the amount of sodium in our diets, the amazing and talented Sodium Girl has challenged a bunch of different bloggers to create delicious low sodium adaptations of favorite recipes. We are all posting them today, so check out her blog to see all the creativity and deliciousness in one place.

As someone who blogs dairy-free (and often also gluten-free) I love the challenge of removing ingredients that do not fit within specific dietary restrictions and coming up with adaptations that are so delicious no one would miss the offending ingredient. Obviously the challenge to remove sodium is right up my alley. Since it turns out that milk is not low-sodium, I decided that a low-sodium (and non-dairy) adaptation of classic chocolate pudding would be my contribution to this rally. I often use eggs in custard and pudding recipes to add back some of the richness lost by removing the dairy, but since eggs are not low sodium either I went with a standard cornstarch pudding instead.

I absolutely love pudding. It is a simple unpretentious dessert that satisfies without being overly filling. When I am sick pudding is one of the foods I crave. It is the ultimate comfort food. I substituted a mixture of Thai coconut milk and water for the milk and I am quite happy with both the flavor and texture. The coconut flavor is subtle and pairs well with the chocolate. Most chocolate pudding uses cocoa powder, but I wanted to highlight the chocolate flavor so I went with semi-sweet chocolate instead. Since salt is a flavor enhancer, and I was leaving it out, I added a bit of espresso powder to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. The coffee flavor is not noticeable, but the chocolate flavor just tastes fuller. I have to say I am quite happy with this recipe. I am sure it will be making an appearance in our household again before too long.

The recipe calls for two cups of cocount milk. Since most standard cans are around 14 oz that means opening two cans and then only using a little bit of the second can. Which I admit is a bit annoying. If you use just one can and make up the difference with water the pudding will be just a bit less rich, but tasty nonetheless. However, I prefer the pudding with the slightly larger amount of coconut milk so I just use the rest of the can for other recipes like these chai truffles. The unused coconut milk can also be frozen.



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Ingredients & Quantities

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups Thai coconut milk
  • 6 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* If making for Passover substitute potato starch for the cornstarch and use this recipe for making the coconut milk.  

Preparation Instructions

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and espresso powder in a medium bowl. Whisk in the water, continuing to whisk until smooth. Set aside. Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes back to a simmer and thickens. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.

Strain pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes. Cover pudding with plastic wrap. If you do not want pudding skin make sure the plastic is completely touching the surface of the pudding. To make pudding skin, simply pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

Recipe very loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Recipe Times







Recipe Yield

6 Servings

Recipe Categories


  1. I use cornstarch in my puddings too and no one ever knows the difference! The addition of coconut milk sounds delicious! I too love making the dairy free alternatives that are just as delicious (if not more so) and surprising people with it. Your pudding sounds perfect!

  2. I LOVE the addition of the espresso! You are totally brilliant and this looks beyond silky and luscious.

    I am so grateful and honored that you joined the rally and thank you for this amazing dessert to add to all of our arsenals of delicious low sodium food. Can’t wait to do this again.

    Lots of hugs and happy long weekend,


    • Let us know if you make the substitution, I’m sure others would appreciate it too! I would recommend using soy milk for the entire amoiunt of liquid and omitting the water because soymilk is much lower in fat than coconut milk.

  3. I know I’m commenting on this a little late, and I’m not trying to be a party pooper here, but I really don’t see how a pudding with the fat of 2 cups of coconut milk and the six ounces of actual chocolate can possibly be better for your heart than the chocolate pudding recipe I use which uses cocoa and soymilk. Taste I’m not arguing, but the two cups of coconut milk alone is 114 grams of fat; the chocolate adds another 50 grams. That’s 164 grams of fat divided among the six servings, for approximately 27 grams per serving. At nine calories per gram of fat, the calories from the fat alone in this dessert are 243. Good fats, bad fats, whatever . . . that’s quite a bit of fat for just the dessert portion of a meal. And that doesn’t take into account the sugar, which would add another 65 calories to each serving. I love chocolate pudding; in fact I made some for this past shabbos, which is why I was thinking about this post again, but for 300+ calories, I’ll have to pass on this recipe
    I understand that the challenge was to cut down on the sodium, but my pudding recipe uses 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt for 4 servings . . . can 1/32 of a teaspoon of salt really be THAT bad? I’m not trying to be overly critical; I just wonder if the elimination of salt entirely justifies the addition of so much fat.

    • Hi Lisa,
      I agree with you that the pudding does have quite a bit of fat. That is why it has such a rich, creamy taste. It isn’t an everyday pudding for sure, but meant to be a treat. In terms of the salt, I think that determining if it is really “THAT bad” depends on the individual needs of the person trying to make that assessment. For someone whose body can’t process sodium at all, even the amount inherent in the soymilk can be too much without even the added pinch. For others the fat might be the bigger concern. The challenge I was responding to with this recipe was to remove the sodium, and that is what I did, but it is up to each person to figure out what makes the most sense for them. I know that personally I prefer to eat a smaller portion of a richer dessert than a larger portion of something I find less satisfying, but everyone has different approaches when it comes to nutrition. There is no one-size fits all recipe that is going to work for everyone’s dietary needs.

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