Do you have a nagging sweet tooth that just won’t stop telling you to grab something sweet? If so, chances are you are in search of healthier options, without having to sacrifice sweetness. Well, you are in luck. Here we’ve put together ideas for healthy vegan treats that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.
Keep reading to find out about healthy vegan treats that you and your family will love.
Are Vegan Treats Healthier?
First, let’s clarify that vegan desserts aren’t always inherently healthier than regular desserts. A vegan dessert can still be highly processed and filled with unhealthy ingredients like refined flour, high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. Our goal is to provide you with healthy dessert ideas that are free of these ingredients.
Tips for Making Healthy, Vegan Desserts
To make tasty desserts, you’re still going to need fat, sugar, and a binder. However, the fat and sugar should come from sources other than dairy, refined sugar, and eggs. Here are a few substitutions to keep in mind when you are preparing vegan treats.
- Fat: Coconut cream, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts like cashews and almonds can provide plenty of fat to make your desserts creamy and decadent. The fat in coconut, nuts, and avocado can substitute for items like cream cheese, cream, and butter. Keep in mind that coconut products contain saturated fat, though the form of saturated fat present in coconut differs in structure from the saturated fat present in dairy and meat. However, if you struggle with high cholesterol, talk to your doctor and a registered dietitian about the best fat substitutes for your needs.
- Sugar: When possible, try to use the natural sugar present in fruits like dates and bananas. If you need extra sweetness, use unrefined agave nectar or maple syrup sparingly.
- Binder: Eggs are usually used in desserts to bind together the ingredients in baked items. Flaxseeds can be used as a healthy substitute! As a bonus, flaxseeds are packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
Healthy Dessert Ideas
We’ve compiled a list of flavorful vegan desserts that satisfy your cravings while incorporating a variety of health-promoting ingredients.
1. Banana Ice Cream
Banana ice cream is a dairy-free alternative to regular ice cream that still offers a creamy texture and sweetness. Freeze several ripened bananas. If the bananas are a little brown, don’t worry – this won’t be evident in the final product. In fact, brown speckled bananas will taste even sweeter in this vegan ice cream dessert. Peel and place the bananas in a freezer bag. You can put them in whole, or make the bananas freeze faster by simply slicing them into rounds. Smaller rounds are also easier to blend. When the bananas are frozen, place in the blender along with pitted dates and a scoop of plant-based vanilla protein powder, if desired. Blend until smooth. You now have healthy soft-serve vegan ice cream!
Want to vary the flavor? Try implementing these simple variations.
- Blueberry: Add frozen blueberries to the blender, and top with fresh blueberries when serving. You can do this with any berry flavor, including raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry.
- Vanilla: Add a few drops of vanilla extract and a scoop of vanilla plant-based protein powder to the blender for a rich vanilla flavor.
- Chocolate: Add cocoa powder and chocolate plant-based protein powder to the banana mixture. Blend thoroughly and drizzle with melted dark chocolate for a decadent finish.
- Coconut: For a tropical twist, add coconut extract to the frozen banana mixture and top with shaved coconut.
2. Mango Sorbet
Mango sorbet is one of the most refreshing treats on a hot summer’s day! Plus, it’s dairy-free and tasty. First, peel several ripe mangos and place them in a plastic freezer bag. Leave in the freezer until the mango is solidly frozen.
Though store-bought frozen mangos can be used for this dessert. However, the mangos chosen for freezing aren’t always the ripest, meaning they also won’t be the sweetest. To make sure your mango sorbet has the flavor you want, purchase whole mangos and allow them to ripen before peeling and freezing.
3. Citrus Popsicles
There’s no better way to cool off and get some vitamin C than by enjoying homemade vegan popsicles. Combine fresh-squeezed orange juice with a little apple juice and squeeze of lemon. To add an extra punch of nutrition, try incorporating orange-flavored essential amino acids into your juice bars before pouring them into the molds. Looking for a creamier version? Try combining orange juice with coconut milk and a little agave nectar, to make an orange creamsicle.
4. Watermelon Ice
Watermelon ice is one of the most refreshing desserts you can have, and it offers nutrients like potassium and antioxidants like lycopene. First, carve out the flesh of ripe watermelon and place it in a blender. Add a squeeze of lime juice and fresh mint leaves. Blend until smooth and pour into ice cube molds. Freeze until hardened, and place the cubes into the blender to create shaved ice.
Want to increase the nutritional value of your watermelon ice? Add watermelon-flavored essential amino acid powder to the mixture before freezing.
5. Key Lime Cooler
This vegan slushy is packed with vitamin C and tastes just like key lime pie. Throw a whole lime in the blender along with coconut cream, and agave nectar. Blend until smooth, and serve over ice shavings.
6. Ice Cream Sundae
Ice cream sundaes aren’t traditionally vegan, but you can make them vegan and healthier. First, choose low-sugar, dairy-free ice cream. Some brands even offer sugar-free vegan ice cream made with coconut milk. First, soften the ice cream slightly by allowing it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Then, sprinkle with walnuts or pistachios, chopped bananas, and pitted cherries. Drizzle with dark chocolate or caramel, and you have yourself a delicious, healthy snack or dessert!
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit
This classic dessert can easily be turned into a vegan version! Choose dark chocolate that contains no added dairy. Dark chocolate also tends to be healthier than milk chocolate, since it contains less sugar and more antioxidants. First, wash and cut all of the fruit that you want to coat in chocolate, such as strawberries, raspberries, and bananas. Prepare your chocolate mixture by melting dark chocolate with coconut oil in a small pot. Then dip your fruit in the chocolate sauce, and allow to harden on a tray in the refrigerator or freezer. Alternatively, enjoy the fruit immediately after dipping it in ooey-gooey chocolate!
8. No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bites
These tasty dairy-free, egg-free, no-bake snacks are perfect for an after-dinner dessert, post-workout fuel, or snack on-the-go. In a large bowl, mix rolled oats, ground flaxseeds, coconut oil, plant-based chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips. With the peanut butter and chocolate, these bites remind us of peanut butter cups! Feel free to adapt these as you wish. If you don’t enjoy chocolate, substitute the chocolate with extra peanut butter or crushed peanuts to make a peanut butter bomb. Alternatively, if you aren’t a fan of peanut butter, replace it with extra chocolate to make double chocolate bites.
Roll the ingredients into bite-size balls, wrap individually, and place them in the freezer. Store in the freezer and grab one when you feel like a delicious, protein-packed treat.
9. Fruit Salad
Dessert doesn’t always need to be fancy! A fresh bowl of ripe, seasonal fruit is a great way to enjoy something sweet and refreshing while also getting tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries make a delicious combination. Alternatively, try a tropical mix like papaya, pineapple, mango, and kiwi. Papaya and kiwi are known to be helpful with protein breakdown into individual amino acids, so try enjoying this salad before a protein-rich meal.
10. Blueberry Crumble
A homemade blueberry crumble is a delicious way to end a meal. To prepare a blueberry crumble, mix fresh or frozen blueberries with melted coconut oil and a sprinkle of unrefined sugar. Prepare your crumble by combining oats, ground chia seeds, crumbled walnuts, crumbled pecans, and crumbled almonds. Coat the crumble mixture with coconut oil and unrefined brown sugar. By using a lot of nuts in your crumble, you’ll make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Spread the blueberries on a baking sheet and top with the crumble. Bake until the crumble is crispy, and serve with a dollop of coconut cream.
11. Vegan S’mores
Vegan s’mores are one of the best vegan treats you can make. Plus, they are fun to make and a fun project for kids and adults alike. All you need are a box of vegan, whole-grain graham crackers, a couple of bars of dairy-free dark chocolate, and some vegan marshmallows. To make an event out of dessert-preparation, roast the marshmallows over a small bonfire or even over the stovetop. Sandwich the dark chocolate and marshmallows between the graham crackers.
More Easy Vegan Desserts
Looking for more healthy desserts? The Minimalist Baker offers tons of vegan dessert recipes and gluten-free recipes for your favorite traditional desserts, like brownies, cheesecake, cookie dough, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, funfetti cupcakes, cannolis, whoopie pies, sticky buns, chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake, doughnuts, oatmeal-raisin bars, cinnamon rolls, chocolate fudge, chocolate mousse, key lime pie, and more! All of the recipes include as few ingredients as possible.
Vegan Treats: Conclusion
You don’t need to sacrifice flavor with vegan treats. Vegan desserts can be something that non-vegans enjoy too! You can enjoy vegan versions of your favorite classics, from refreshing fruit-based desserts to decadent sweet treats like s’mores. Vegan desserts can also contain lots of healthy-promoting ingredients like fiber, antioxidants, and protein.