A little piece of heaven...


If I had to pick a turning point in my opinion of vegan food, it would be shortly after I turned 27, when I was living in LA. Through a series of events that only make sense when you’re a struggling actress who really should have gone home months ago, I found myself meeting a friend of an acupuncturist I had been to back in Dublin.

Stella had lived in LA for over 20 years and is a raw vegan. At the time it was like another world I had no clue about. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what her day-to-day diet might have looked like. She suggested we meet in Café Gratitude, which is a famous west coast vegan restaurant. The excellent documentary May I Be Frank centres on one of their eateries.

I perused the menu, not really sure what to order, when a raw chocolate smoothie caught my eye. When it arrived, I took one sip and something very strange and unexpected happened. It tasted rich, creamy, thick, chocolatey and like a total indulgence. Were we not in a place so virtuous, I would have assumed it was ‘bad’ for me. It tasted like heaven and I returned for it several times afterwards.

This smoothie piqued my interest in vegan cuisine and I’ve never turned back. This was the moment when I felt that food could be delicious as well as healthy – it essentially started the domino effect that led me to where I am now. I make my own version of it at home and I think you’ll agree that it’s gorgeous!
Serves 2

  • 1 banana
  • ½ ripe avocado, peeled and stoned 
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 350ml plant milk
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma powder (optional, but it makes it taste like caramel)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 4 ice cubes (omit if using frozen avocado or banana) 
  • maple or agave syrup, to sweeten (optional)
  • fresh mint, to garnish (optional)


  1. Put all the ingredients except the mint in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth. 
  2. I have come to really like the bitterness of raw cacao, so I usually add a dusting of it to the top of a smoothie. If you prefer a sweeter flavour, a little drizzle of maple or agave syrup over the top looks and tastes gorgeous. Top with fresh mint (if using).
Raw chocolate heaven .Berry power vegan protein smoothie (almond & berry). Holly White Vegan-ish
Holly's vegan smoothies


  • If you’re using frozen avocado or banana, take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw for a few minutes while you prep your other ingredients, as they can be hard on the blades of your blender.