Cake / Dessert

Uncle Howard’s Chocolate Ganache Tart: The Best Vegan (and healthiest) Dessert You Will Ever Eat


Okay, gave you Chocolate Mousse with ginger crust, a dessert with traditional ingredients.  You’ll have fun trying this whether you eat a vegan diet or not. British brother-in-law Howard (check out his music: made it for us last summer, twice in fact, because it was so popular!  Trust me, it is rich and delicious enough to become a favorite.  Last night I texted the recipe to son Nathaniel who reported it was “insanely good.” I smiled when I checked the text to write this: my iPhone had autocorrected one of the ingredients: 1 Tablespoon vanilla “extravehicular.”  And so:

Vegan Chocolate Tart

7-9” tart pan with a removable bottom, lined with a circle of parchment paper.  The width of the pan will determine the thickness of the tart.  Straight sides work better than fluted.

Click Here To Print Recipe



8 oz. pecans, walnuts or almonds

6 oz. pitted dates

1/8 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste.)


3 ripened avocados – peeled and cubed (should have bright yellow-green flesh, not over ripe.)

½ cup agave nectar

3 Tablespoons Coconut oil

1 Tablespoon GF vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt (Howard’s recipe calls for “Pink Himalayan Salt”)

1½ cup very good unsweetened cocoa powder – splurge on this.



  1. Pulse the pecans, dates, and salt in a food processor until the consistency of (rolled oats).  Press firmly into the prepared pan.  Chill whilst preparing the filling.


  1. Puree the avocados, agave nectar and coconut oil, vanilla and salt in a food processor or blender until creamy smooth.  Add a splash or two of water to help if the mixture is too thick to move.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and pulse to blend completely.
  3. Spoon the chocolate “mousse” into the prepared crust, spreading evenly.  I like to use a “Lazy Susan”: place the tart in the center, spin with one hand whilst spreading from the center with the other.
  4. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.  Serve with vegan whipped topping or if you’re not a purist, whipped cream.

P.S.  December 31, 2012, New Year’s Eve:  We’ve made 5, FIVE, vegan chocolate tarts since Christmas Eve, having fun experimenting with variations as it’s become the go to dessert for family and friends.  For one we added a tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the chocolate mixture.  For another we substituted honey for the agave syrup.  We added the zest of a whole orange to another.  Our favorite is “Mocha Chocolate Tart”, substituting 3 tablespoons of very, VERY strong coffee for the vanilla.  (If you don’t want to brew the coffee make a syrup of instant espresso.)  Next up: 1.  Substituting maple syrup for the agave with the possible addition of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon in the crust, and 2.  Substituting almonds for the walnuts in the crust and replacing the tablespoon of vanilla with a teaspoon of almond extract plus a tablespoon of water.  The only issue is that my “taste testers”, our sons, will return to California next week, leaving us to figure out how to share a lot of Vegan Chocolate Tart!  There are bigger problems in 2013!

Note: this is a perfect recipe to substitute Stevia for agave or maple syrup or honey! 

Another note: historically one has been urged to steer clear of coconut oil as an unhealthy additive.  Use the following link to read more: If you’re still curious, read what Dr. Oz has to say:

Lastly, more than one person has asked what can be used as a vegan alternative to coconut oil.  My best recommendations are to omit the coconut oil and add a little moisture (1-2 tablespoons of water, orange juice, coffee… depending on the flavor direction you’re going in.) Another option is to replace it with Earth Balance Spread. If the idea Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache appeals, try replacing the coconut oil with creamy peanut butter and making the crust from roasted peanuts and dates.

Good luck – Enjoy!


122 thoughts on “Uncle Howard’s Chocolate Ganache Tart: The Best Vegan (and healthiest) Dessert You Will Ever Eat

  1. Mmmm, this looks so good, I’ll have to try your Uncle Howard’s tart! There’s an Uncle Howard in my family too – but he was more known for his BBQ chicken, I think! I’ve made a similar avocado chocolate mousse that is divine! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following!

  2. Mmmmm! I’m going to have to try your Uncle Howard’s tart! We have an Uncle Howard in my family, too, but I think he was know more for his bbq chicken! I’ve made an avocado chocolate mousse before that was delicious!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and following my adventures!

  3. Pingback: Uncle Howard’s Chocolate Ganache Tart: The Best Vegan (and healthiest) Dessert You Will Ever Eat | Rainbow Quilts

  4. The crust sounds delicious. I’ve never made a vegan mousse with avocado – it is a bit out of my comfort zone does it keep well or do you have to eat it immediately. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog.

    • It was out of our comfort zone until a gathering last summer. “Uncle” Howard had diligently made a version of this recipe in advance of extended family rolling in on Friday from hither and yon for a weekend of before-breakfast-swims, beach volleyball, and wonderful meals. Not everyone was apprised of the ingredients, but we all loved it! The original was delicious, but I felt it needed a little tweaking, still all the credit goes to Howard (watch his youtube video to see how he walks the line!) IF it’s not eaten in one sitting, it lasts remarkably well – better than guacamole. “How” even froze a second tart for another weekend…. I encourage you to throw caution to the wind and give it a go: you’ll be amazed! The only question: whether or not to reveal the (secret) ingredient!

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  6. This tart looks absolutely mouth-watering. I never would have thought about combining avocados and chocolate — into a tart no less. I love the spiral design as a finishing touch; simple yet not boring.

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  9. Intriguing I might have to give it a go, fascinated by the idea of using avacados. Does it have to be coconut oil, or could I replace this? I think I’m asking if it’s important for the flavour?

    • Give Uncle Howard’s Ganache Tart a try and prepare to be amazed! Coconut oil imparts a little flavor, and helps with the body of the chocolate mixture. You can try substituting smooth almond or peanut butter, especially if you use the corresponding nuts in the crust. Good luck!

  10. Fabulous! I have actually been some shape or form of a vegetarian/pescetarian for (blush) almost 40 years so this falls particularly close to my heart. I LOVE my veggies and to combine them with cocoa???!! Yowza!!! Thanks for following my blog! So appreciate it!

  11. Hi, never knew you could use avocados in this way – will have to try it. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  12. Thanks for following my blog!! And seriously, this looks INCREDIBLE! I can not wait to try it. I’m so into avocados lately. MAN! Yes, I’m salivating…

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    • Maple syrup and honey are excellent substitues for Agave Nectar. You could also make a “simple syrup”, boiling (organic) sugar and water. Don’t know if you have made (or can have) the Citrus Olive Oil Cake from our blog, but the syrup that is a by-product of the recipe would make an excellent sweetener if you like orange and chocolate together. The ganache tart would be beautiful with some candied orange peel on top! Let me know what you do!

      • G’day and big thanks for that! I like the “simple” method, but would substitute Xylitol for sugar. I have bookmarked both of your recipes and follow your site, so am sure something will jump out to me to make sometimes soon too! Appreciate your time and reply too!
        Cheers! Joanne

    • I recommend you purchase some! One can find it at most well stocked grocery stores, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s (great price.) It’s useful for vegan baking (see our recipes for Vegan Banana Bread.) In lieu of coconut oil I’d try peanut or almond butter, especially if you like those flavors with chocolate. For the crust substitute the corresponding nut for the walnuts. Let me know the results.

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  16. This recipe looks very interesting! I would not have though of adding avocado to the mousse. And it would be perfect to try for a friend that is deathly allergic to dairy products.

  17. Fantastic. I’m so curious about the taste, as I haven’t used avocado in a dessert yet. It’s also really fun to slip healthy foods that stubborn people otherwise won’t eat (i.e. tofu) into desserts. Lil nefarious but for their own good 😉

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  20. This is absolutely heavenly! May I post a link to your website on my blog. I know my students and followers would love this vegan tart.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    • Absolutely! Share and link! This would make the perfect dessert for April 1st! Buy some avocados today so they’ll be ripe enough for you to surprise your students on Monday!

  21. Pingback: Thinking ahead to April 1st ;-) |

    • We don’t eat an exclusively vegan diet either, but this recipe is a revelation! Easy, delicious, healthy, a little indulgent. I think you’re really going to like it!
      ~ Gus’s Mom

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  23. I have baked many gluten-free breads, pies, candies and desserts since being diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, but this is the first one I have seen using healthy avocados. I must try this one for sure..

  24. This looks beautiful! I’m not vegan, but I’ve found many vegan desserts are a great addition to my cooking repertoire (I’ve been addicted to raw brownies lately!). The presentation of this is so gorgeous it would be a great party contribution. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Thank you for stopping by my blog HappinessHeals and liking my post Affirmation, Gratitude and Gluten, Dairy, Egg Free. Gratitude Dance. Your blog post is making me hungry! I love raw desserts! They are easy and fabulous! Thanks for making me hungry! Thank you for sharing your truth too! :~)

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  27. I just made this using macademia nuts as the base for my husband’s upcoming birthday. I can’t believe how incredibly easy this was to make! Can’t wait to share it and surprise everyone with the fact that it’s vegan, soy-free and gluten-free. AMAZING.

    • Delighted you appreciated the amazing qualities of this dessert: delicious, satisfying, healthy, and easy. It doesn’t get better than that. Oh, yes it does: chocolate! I’m glad you splurged and substituted macadamia nuts. Try the Vegan Banana Cream Pie with blueberries – if you like tropical flavors, you’ll be equally pleased.
      ~ Gus’s Mom

  28. I made this yesterday and we just ate it today for my daughter’s 20th birthday.
    I substituted the agave for maple syrup and used veg. Shortening as I find the taste of coconut oil too strong.
    I finished it off with piped fresh cream on top!
    This tart was a huge success, thank you very much.

    • I meant to add that one of my sons that has celiac also has T1D and this tart calculated out to 37 carbs per slice (I divided it into 8 slices). This is quite low for such a rich chocolate dessert. So it was a double hit!

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  31. Yuuuuummy! I have recently discovered the joy of chocolate mousse made out of avocado! I love it! And this ganache tart sounds incredible, I will definitely be adding this to my to bake list 🙂

  32. Reblogged this on quarteracrelifestyle and commented:
    I made this (very un)sinfully delicious tart yesterday. For a taste of something decadent without the horror ingredients I’d urge anyone to try this 🙂 Made with walnuts, avaocado, coconut oil, cocoa, dates and I used honey as a sweetener – topped with a wee bit of cream it’s perfect.

  33. Vegan alternative to coconut oil?!!! Am I missing something here? Is coconut oil no longer vegan?!!! If it’s just because some vegan’s don’t want to use coconut oil have they tried nut/seed butter as a sub? Love this recipe hugs to uncle Howard for the share 🙂

    • As far as we’re concerned coconut oil is the vegan alternative to coconut oil. Make this and prepare to be amazed (that goes for all your guests, vegan and/or GF, and otherwise!)
      ~ Gus’s Mom

      • Cheers Gus’s Mom, it’s amazing how convoluted we vegans can get when we are trying to eliminate EVERYTHING from our diets ;). Just thought that I had best check in to the stream before I got drummed out of the vegan confraternity…again… 😉

  34. When you posted this, I knew I wanted to try it, but just got around to making it this week. It is insanely rich and delicious. People I’ve served it to cannot believe the base is from avocado. Crazy good!

    • Thanks for trying it: a winner in more ways than one! We’re posting a recipe for conventional GF ganache tart (with a twist) next month. In taste-testing the recipe it was evident that the finished products are remarkably similar. Eat more avocado!
      ~ Gus’s Mom

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