We all know holiday dinners are all about the desserts, aren’t they? Sure, a lot of work goes into the main course and all the tasty appetizers and side dishes, but dessert is where the magic happens. It’s probably one of the few times during the year you let yourself indulge in something that might not exactly fit in with your healthy lifestyle. And there’s always that little bit of guilt. So this year, why not make something scrumptious and new that’s filled with healthy ingredients you won’t feel guilty about eating?
The following five decadent but sensible desserts are slightly different from the typical pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies, but they’re just as easy (or easier) to make. Whether you’re hosting a holiday meal at your house or going to someone else’s, these unique festive desserts are sure to make a giant splash.
Plus, they’re all vegan (except for one, but you can modify it to be vegan), a few don’t even require baking, and they can all be made gluten-free too. And only one recipe calls for real sugar, though you can substitute with coconut sugar or another sweetener if you prefer. As far as healthy desserts go, these really take the (guilt-free) cake!
Get creative this year and try one of these beautiful, healthy dessert ideas, and leave the guilt far behind.
When I saw the picture of this stunning raw cake, I was already in love. Besides being amazingly beautiful, it requires no cooking, and it’s vegan. It’s incredibly creamy, thanks to the cashews and full-fat coconut milk. And it’s got an impressive array of traditional holiday spices. Flavors of coconut, pecans, berries and chocolate mingle marvelously to make this your new fave.
The slightly tart pomegranate is the perfect complement to sweet pears and maple in this messy-looking but magnificent holiday crumble. This one’s vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly. Plus, the only sweetener is maple syrup, so there's no sugar needed. This vegan dessert is best served warm, so when you add the coconut whipped cream on top, it easily melts right in. You’ll definitely be back for seconds.
Call this decadent vegan dessert healthy, but do not call it pumpkin pie. I fear it will be offended. The fabulous flavors in this individually portioned treat might resemble the taste of pumpkin pie, but this dessert is on a whole other level. Gooey almond butter, crushed cookies, pureed pumpkin and chopped pecans are just a handful of the fantastic ingredients in this layered delish dish. We’re sorry, pumpkin pie, but we may have officially moved on.
Blueberries and chocolate are a match made in healthy dessert heaven in this nutritious post-meal morsel. The blueberries are loaded with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, which pair well with the powerful phytonutrients of the rich cocoa. A simple and subtly sweet blueberry sauce is the finishing touch. The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, but you can always substitute it with gluten-free flour if necessary. (This one’s not vegan, but you can modify that too.)
This vegan no-bake cake is made from only six wholesome ingredients and finished in only a few simple steps. You make the crust, then make the filling and pour it in, and voila! You still have to melt the vegan white chocolate, of course, but we aren’t complaining. Cashews make it creamy, cinnamon makes it spicy, and Medjool dates make it sweet. Just try not to eat the whole thing before dinner even starts.
These healthy holiday desserts are a dream come true for anyone who might normally hesitate to eat dessert after a big festive meal. They’re a new take on the usual suspects you see at holiday time, but they come with less guilt and more nourishment. Naturally delicious ingredients come together to make these healthy holiday desserts treats you won’t quickly forget, and you’ll probably want to remember them for next year too!
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