Carob is a plant I discovered quite recently. It is a tree, that grows in the Mediterranean, in Northern Africa and in the middle East. The most interesting part of the tree is its pod, that tastes like chocolate and resembles beans. After the harvest, it is necessary to dry the beans and grind them into a fine, almost black powder.
The powder is commonly used as a substitute for chocolate, since it does not contain any caffeine. Especially for persons, who can not consume caffeine and as well for animals carob is a great alternative to chocolate and cocoa.
During the last years I have been experimenting a lot with carob. The thing, that really fascinates me is not the resemblance to cocoa. It is — on the contrary — the difference and the slightly odd taste, that I love so much about carob. Its flavors are rich and contain some notes of chocolate, licorice and even some fruity and acidic flavors. Especially in combination with dates, oranges and nuts I really love carob and eat is as often, as I get an opportunity.
At least here in Portugal carob powder is quite cheap, since the trees grow literally anywhere. I normally buy the powder in a supermarket and pay around two euros for 500 grams.
For this particular recipe I decided to create a vegan carob spread, that resembles sweets spreads like nutella, nutoka and others from my childhood. Since I have been trying to avoid sugar for the past months, I used raisins as my sweet alternative. You can use dates as well, but since raisins are cheap and local in the South of Europe, I prefer not to take a product, which needs to be shipped. I soaked the raisins for about two hours, since our food processor is quite weak. I also used almond butter, that I bought from the store. If you have a good food processor feel free, to make your own almond butter. Since my food processor usually starts to get really hot, I exclusively use it for fruits and veggies.
I also added a splash of sunflower oil, which provides a neutral taste and makes the whole spread easier to handle with a knife or a spoon once it is done. You can use other oils such as olive oil, canola or a nut oil. I did not use coconut oil on purpose, because I am trying to consume more local food at the moment.
I ate the vegan carob spread with whole grain bread. Also, I really like to snack it with bananas as well. Another thing I would use the carob spread for, are cakes and brownies, that turned out too dry. Simply cut your cake in a bottom and a top layer, cover it with carob spread, fig jam, cherry jam or strawberry jam and close the cake again. If necessary, decorate the top layer with carob spread and roasted almonds. In case you need cake inspiration, checkt this one out!
Start with soaking the raisins for around two hours, until they softened up. Drain them and mix them with the other ingredients. Blend everything with a food processor, until the carob spread is soft and does not contain any pieces of raisins anymore. Keep your carob cream chilled until serving! Enjoy!
I am Julia, vegan by heart, traveler and minimalist based in beautiful Portugal. I love simple but delicious food, ashtanga, skating, surfing and having a nice conversation over snacks and a glass of wine. I am blogging about vegan food, my minimalist journey, life hacks and my experiences as a traveler.