5 Desserts You Won’t Believe Are Sugar-Free
These treats use fruit for a satisfying, flavorful ending to your dinner. Talk about sweet!
While there's nothing wrong with a sweet ending to a great meal, most recipes and packaged treats use sweeteners that have empty calories and zero nutritional benefit. But swap the table sugar, agave, and high fructose corn syrup for fruit, and you'll satisfy a craving and give your body vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that it needs. Plus the fruit's fiber slows the absorption of the sugars in your bloodstream, meaning no sugar high followed by a crash, no hunger cravings an hour after dinner, and no urge to nap post-meal.
All of these recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, and extremely flexible: Pair seasonal fruit with the fudge dip; top the crepes with your favorite fruit or dip and a scoop of banana cream; turn the excess coconut milk from soaking dates into popsicles; and add whatever kind of nuts you like to the truffles. You'll be so infatuated, you may toss the granulated white stuff for good.
"Are you sure this is just bananas?" is the most common response this dessert yields. Using a hand blender will result in smoother consistency, but you can also use a stand blender for a treat that clocks in at about 35 fewer calories (before adding toppings) than vanilla ice cream-and let's face it, who eats plain vanilla ice cream?
Directions: Cut bananas into 1/2-inch slices, place in a freezer bag or airtight container, and put in the freezer for 3 hours or until frozen. Blend bananas until they have the consistency of ice cream. Scoop mixture into an airtight container, cover, and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. To serve, scoop into bowls and add toppings of choice.
Nutrition score per serving (without toppings): 105 calories, 0g fat, 27g carbs, 1g protein, 3g fiber
Seasonal Fruit Skewers with Chocolate Fudge
Take a page from raw cooking and use dates as a natural sweetener. Even though this recipe doesn't have any processed or added sugar, it still has very high sugar content so, as with all treats, moderation is key. Think of the dip as a cold fondue for fruit-or use it to frost cupcakes, spread on fruit tarts, swirl into banana cream, freeze for a chocolaty popsicle, or alone as a very decadent pudding.
16 dried pitted dates
Unsweetened coconut or almond milk
2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
8 skewers fruit (such as strawberries, blackberries, pitted cherries, and chunked banana)
Place dates in a bowl, add enough milk to cover, and refrigerate overnight. Add dates, 2/3 cup soaking milk, and cacao powder to a blender and blend for at least 5 minutes until dates are fully blended and mixture is completely smooth, adding more milk if needed. For extra smooth dip, push through a sieve. Serve fruit with dip on the side.
Nutrition score per serving: 184 calories, 4.5g fat (3g saturated), 38g carbs, 3g protein, 9g fiber
Crispy Quinoa Crepes with Hot Apples and Cinnamon
Quinoa flour is a fantastic, gluten-free substitute for all-purpose flour. It's chock-full of protein and has a nutty flavor that lends well to sweets. Cooking the apples allows the natural sugars caramelize so you don't need a pinch of any other sweetener.
3/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
For apple topping:
2 apples, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Basil or mint, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil. To make crust, mix flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, almond milk, and egg, stirring until well combined. Place batter on cookie sheet 3/4 tablespoon at a time to create mini pancakes, leaving at least 1 inch between each scoop of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until edges of crusts have turned brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2. While crusts are baking, add apples and cinnamon to a pot and just barely cover with water. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Cook 10 minutes until apples are soft.
3. To assemble, top each crust with hot apples, garnish with mint or basil, and serve immediately.
Nutrition score per serving: 186 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated), 27g carbs, 5g protein, 5g fiber
Mango Chili Lime Pops
Mangos with lime and chili are a classic South American snack that makes for colorful and fun popsicles. Cool down with about 45 percent of your recommended vitamin C and none of the artificial colors or added thickening agents found in packaged pops.
1 mango, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup plain rice milk or water
1/4 teaspoon chili powder, plus more to serve
1 pinch sea salt
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. If desired, sprinkle with more chili powder before serving.
Nutrition score per serving: 69 calories, 0.5g fat, 17g carbs, 1g protein, 1g fiber
Almond Joy Truffles
These truffles can be inspired by any candy bar. Almond Joys were one of my favorites growing up, and this grown-up version combines all the flavors without any of the corn syrup, oils, or preservatives.
Makes: 20 to 25 truffles
10 pitted dried dates
Unsweetened coconut milk
20 to 25 raw almonds
1/2 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for coating)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus more for coating)
1. Place dates in a bowl, add enough milk to cover, and let soak at least 2 hours or up to overnight (the longer they soak, the more pliable dates will be). Remove dates from liquid. Put almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toast a few minutes until you smell them. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Add dates, cacao powder, and coconut to a food processor and process on high until smooth. (Mixture should be sticky but solid enough to roll into balls.) Place extra cacao and coconut on separate plates for rolling. Taking a heaping 1/2 tablespoon at a time, roll mixture into a ball, then roll in coconut or cacao (or both) to coat well. Place an almond in the top. Repeat until all mixture is used. Freeze least 2 hours before serving. Store leftovers in the freezer.
Nutrition score per truffle: 74 calories, 6g fat (4g saturated), 6 carbs, 1g protein, 2g fiber