Skip the box of chocolates and indulge in these decadent treats without guilt

By Tiffany Tse
February 11, 2013

Want to impress your valentine this year? We've got eight delectable recipes to whip up, including a rich chocolate cake and a creamy cookie dough dip that will make your mouth water. But no matter how indulgent these sweet treats sound, they go easy on your waistline, thanks to secret healthy ingredients. Shh… your sweetheart never needs to know! Try these low-calorie desserts for the holiday.

Chocolate Ginger Mousse


175 calories, 4.5 grams fat

No Valentine's Day is complete without some chocolate! Indulge your sweetheart with this creamy mousse recipe from Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. Healthy ingredients like tofu and ginger juice are masked by a rich chocolate flavor. Your valentine will never guess this dessert is sugar-free with zero grams of trans fat!


4 oz. Hershey unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. hot water

12 oz. extra-firm silken tofu

1/4 c. Splenda

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. fresh ginger juice (grate the ginger root and squeeze to extract juice)


Combine cocoa powder and hot water in a stainless steel bowl. Cook slowly over a hot water bath for 5 minutes until the mixture is like fudge. In a food processor blend tofu for 1 minute, add fudge, Splenda, vanilla extract, and ginger juice and blend until smooth. Place mixture in parfait glass. Garnish with raspberries or as desire and serve cold.

Makes 4 servings.

"Be My Valentine" Apple Rice Krispie Treats


113 calories, 10 grams sugar

Instead of making sticky Rice Krispie treats glued together with calorie-loaded melted marshmallow, try this diet-friendly version. Honey, peanut butter, and believe it or not, organic baby food all combine to keep these sweet morsels under 150 calories!


3 c. brown rice crisps cereal

3/4 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips (optional)


In a large bowl, mix brown rice cereal with peanut butter. In another bowl, add 3-5 tbsp. of water to crisp apple pouch. Stir honey and vanilla into the puree. Pour into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Press into one large or two small glass trays. Shape into mini Valentine's Day hearts! Optional: Decorate with frosting, powdered sugar, red sprinkles. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Makes 15-20 hearts.

Udi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding


Approximately 350 calories

Stumped about what to whip up for your gluten-free girl or guy? We've got just the solution! Even those who follow a gluten-free diet can enjoy this rich bread pudding. A creation of Chef Stuart O'Keeffe, the dessert oozes delicious raisins and apples, which lends the pudding its smooth, custard-like consistency.


Non-stick spray

8 slices Udi's Cinnamon Raisin Bread

6 apples, cored and sliced

6 egg yolks

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. cream

2 c. whole milk

1/2 c. soft light brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a (12 in. x 9 in. x 2.5 in.) glass baking dish, and set on a baking sheet. Tear bread roughly and arrange a single layer in the baking dish. Spread apple slices over bread layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar and repeat layers of bread, apples, and brown sugar until full. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, cream, and milk together in a large bowl until well combined. Carefully pour mixture over the layers in the baking dish. Sprinkle with more brown sugar. Gently press down on the layers with a spatula so the mixture makes its way to the bottom. Set aside to soak for about 10 minutes. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until it is slightly firm to the touch but still moist.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Black Bean Brownies


147 calories, 4.6 grams sugar, 3.9 grams fat

It's true: You can make delicious brownies without any flour whatsoever! Replace flour with blended black beans in this recipe. Not only are the protein-rich legumes healthier for you, they infuse each dense, luscious square with moist texture.


1 (15 1/2 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 eggs

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 pinch salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. applesauce

1 tsp. instant coffee

1/2 c. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 in. square baking dish. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, applesauce, and instant coffee in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until edges start to peel away from the sides of the pan.

Makes about 16 brownies.

Chocolate Beet Cake


315 calories, 27.7 grams sugar, 14.6 grams fat

This delectable chocolate cake by chef and entertaining expert Heather Christo contains one majorly surprisingly ingredient-beets! These earthy, healthy veggies only serve to enhance the chocolate-y flavor, in addition to infusing the batter with a melt-in-your-mouth moist texture.


3/4 c. butter, room temperature

1 1/2 c. white sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/4 c. beet puree (comes from 2-3 large beets)

1 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. milk


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium pot filled with simmering water, boil the beets. When the beets are fork tender drain them and let them sit until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off and trim the top off of them. Chop the beets into large pieces and throw them in the food processor. Pulse the beets until they are a smooth puree. Set the puree aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs and beat to combine. Add the beets and combine well. It will look like the batter has curdled, but it is fine. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices and sift them all together. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, and then half of the milk. Combine completely and then add the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Mix the batter until it is completely combined. Prepare two 9 in. round cake pans with baking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake the cake rounds for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the heat and let them cool on a rack completely.

Makes 12 servings.

Cookie Dough Dip


226 calories, 15.9 grams sugar, 9.8 grams fat

Nothing's sexier than a heaping bowl of creamy cookie dough dip as a Valentine's Day treat! But this chocolate-studded creation gets a wholesome twist since it's made with fiber and protein-rich chickpeas. This recipe by Chocolate-Covered Katie is guaranteed to have your beau eating out of the palm of your hand. Slather pieces of fruit in the dip, or eat it plain by the spoonful!


1 1/2 c. chickpeas (1 can, drained)

1/8 tsp. + 1/16 tsp. salt

Tiny bit over 1/8 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. nut butter (You can get away with using only 3 tbsp. If you use peanut butter, it'll have a very slight PB taste, so if you don't want this, you can sub oil.)

Up to 1/4 c. milk of choice (start with 1 tbsp., and add more as needed)

2/3 c. brown sugar (or liquid sweeteners such as agave, maple, or evaporated cane juice)

2-3 tbsp. oats (or flaxmeal)


Add all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) to a good food processor (not blender), and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

Makes about 12 servings.

Strawberry Swirl Bars


240 calories, 15.4 grams sugar, 13.4 grams fat

If your significant other's got a serious sweet tooth, they'll love these smooth cheesecake bars with a swirl of strawberry flavor. But the secret ingredient-non-fat Greek yogurt-concealed in these delectable bites keeps the calorie count from getting too high!


1 c. low-fat graham cracker crumbs

3 tbsp. butter, melted

1 c. non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

1 8 oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 c. Splenda

3 eggs

3 tbsp. flour

4 tbsp. sugar-free strawberry jelly


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter together and press into an 8 x 8 in. baking plan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Blend the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and flour in a food processor until smooth. Swirl the 4 tbsp. of jelly into the mixture. Pour over the baked crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is solidified. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for several hours prior to serving.

Makes 9 squares.

Vanilla Cupcakes


139 calories, 8 grams sugar, 6.7 grams fat

One bite of these vanilla cupcakes will have your valentine wondering what makes them so light and fluffy! The surprising answer lies in navy beans, which are pureed with honey and vanilla extract to make these tasty, low-cal morsels.


1 15 oz. can unsalted navy beans, rinsed and drained

5 large eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. honey

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/3 c. coconut flour

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend the first four ingredients together. Then add the last four, pureeing well. Pour into a lined cupcake tin. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite low-fat frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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