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When Michael Abramson opened YamChops, a plant-based butcher shop in Toronto in 2014, vegans across Canada rejoiced. They could visit the brick-and-mortar location in Little Italy or order pre-packaged meat substitutes like seitan beef or “chick*n” to be shipped to their homes. But the rest of North America has had to wait for Abramson’s creations… until now. His new cookbook, From the Kitchens of YamChops ($22), gives readers the opportunity to try plant-based substitutes in any and every culinary setting possible.

Abramson’s clever substitutions and flair for presentation means that even the greenest vegan will feel like she’s enjoying classic protein-based dishes without compromising her diet. This includes cookout favorites like carrot dogs and beet burgers and take-out imitators like hunan dumplings and tofu fries. We couldn’t help but share Abramson’s vegan chocolate pudding recipe with you, even though it’s not a meat substitute. The secret to the rich texture is cauliflower (we know that sounds way too crazy to pull off). Check out the recipe below to see the full details.

Cauliflower Chocolate pudding

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (385 grams) cauliflower florets
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 milliliters) unsweetened almond milk or other plant-based milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) cocoa powder
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Wash the cauliflower and break it into small florets. Set up a steamer by bringing 2 inches (50 millimeters) of water to a simmer in a pot. Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket, place the basket in a pot, cover the pot, and steam the cauliflower for approximately 15 minutes, until it is very tender and easily pierced with a toothpick.
  2. Add the steamed cauliflower to a high-speed blender along with 1 cup (240 milliliters) of the almond milk, the cocoa powder, dates, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy, adding the additional ¼ cup (60 milliliters) of almond milk, if necessary, to reach your desired consistency.
  3. Refrigerated, this pudding will last for 5 days.

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(Recipe via Michael Abramson and photo via Vincenzo Pistritto / Page Street Publishing Co)