We all like to treat ourselves to some junk food every now and again. Even though those foods are usually high in fats, sugar, salt, calories, and sometimes questionable ingredients, we love it anyway because it tastes delicious. But sometimes, we wish that we could have all that yummy taste with only a fraction of the guilt.
The good news is, you can! Not only can you make vegan versions of your favorite junk foods, but you can also make it healthier. Of course, vegan junk food also exists because we don’t always have time to spend in the kitchen when we’re struck with a sudden craving for something sweet. If you’re looking to break up with most junk food, we can help with that.
None of that means, however, that we can’t enjoy our favorite foods — we can just make them healthier. Creating a healthier version of something that’s usually lacking in nutrition can be as easy as a few ingredient swaps. We say “yes, please” to that. So, let’s celebrate junk food that’s less junk and more food with these 15 recipes that are healthier versions of your favorite junk foods.
These salty-sweet, super easy No-Bake Salted Almond Joy Bars taste just like frozen Almond Joys! What better way to beat the heat with a frozen, chocolatey, coconutty dessert bar? Plus, you don’t even need to turn on your oven in order to make them. Candy bars with a healthier twist? Oh, yeah.
This banana-based Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream is so healthy, you can comfortably eat it for breakfast without a second thought! Made with just five ingredients – dates, cashews, bananas, coconut cream, and chocolate chips — you can whip up this refreshing and sweet dish in a jiff. Then, if you’d like, you can up the yumminess level by adding some vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon.
Super easy. Kid Friendly. Delicious. These Cheesy Sweet Potato Tots are a great snack — they taste sweet, cheesy, and “unhealthy,” but are simply a combination of sweet potato, nutritional yeast, and spices. This is a snack you can feel really good about giving your kids … and yourself.
Pepperoni pizza is a comfort food with flavors that hold a permanent spot in our hearts. But what can you do when you want it meatless and dairy-free? This Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza recreates that hot, spicy pepperoni flavor with crispy, thinly sliced zucchini marinated in a spicy and flavorful sauce. Top that with melty vegan cheese and you’re ready for pizza night.
This White Chocolate Cashew Cream Cake is swirled with peanut butter and set atop a crust made from walnuts, dates, and cacao powder. The vanilla flavor from the coconut milk-based cake balances perfectly with the rich chocolate. And don’t worry, this dessert looks fancy but can be made using simply a processor, blender, and a freezer. Easy!
These Raw Chocolate-Covered Pineapple Coconut Cookies are sweet, coconutty, and chewy — essentially, they’re the perfect summer cookie. Dried pineapple is combined with coconut, oats, pecans, and soft dates with no extra sweetener added. Since everything is better with chocolate, they’re dipped in smooth dark chocolate and then chilled. Make a batch of these on hot days when you want something sweet, but don’t feel like baking.
These Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cupcakes bring together several favorite snack foods in one amazing treat. They are also made so much healthier. If you’re worried that the absence of white flour, refined sugar, and dairy will mean the absence of decadence, just take a look at these. Yes. You’re welcome.
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Jicama, also known as a Mexican yam bean, is a root vegetable — and we all know how great root vegetables are, especially in chip form. These Jicama Chips are a super healthy snack, low in calories and with a lot of fiber. You may never go back to potato chips again!
Three cheers for Three Musketeers! These Raw Mini Three Musketeers Bars are the homemade version of the beloved candy bar. These are not only vegan but totally raw and gluten-free! So go ahead, indulge in all the chocolatey, nougat-y bliss you want!
Homemade vegan mozzarella rolled in soft and fluffy quinoa. No, this is not a dream. With a savory tomato sauce dipping sauce on the side, these little Mozzarella-Stuffed Quinoa Pizza Bites will cure the fiercest of pizza cravings. Make these as a fun appetizer or make a big batch and gobble them up yourself.
This Raw Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cake is rich, chocolatey, and tremendous. On a crust of raisins and blended gluten-free flours sits the densest and most intense cake you’ll ever have. The macadamia nuts in the batter create a slightly crunchy texture to contrast the smoothness of the rest of the cake. Serve this your next party or make it for yourself because it’s just that easy to make.
A golden brown shortbread crust, caramel, and rich chocolate coating … simply stated, these Six-Ingredient Paleo Twix Bars are going to bring joy and smiles and general good vibes to your life. These three flavors work in perfect harmony together to bring you one fantastic candy bar experience.
Forget the bag chips. These Chili-Coated Plantain Crisps with Lime Ketchup are great for parties or an afternoon snack and are perfect for when you have a potato chip craving. They’re easy to make and the lime ketchup is the perfect condiment to go with them.
Throw away all of your preconceived notions about doughnuts and get ready to see them in a whole new light! These Raw Chocolate Lemon Doughnuts prove that healthy doughnuts not only exist, but that they are delicious. These are made with buckwheat and oat flour, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped with a raw, creamy, and lemony frosting. There are even a few hidden ingredients thrown in! Yum.
Let’s paint the town peppermint with these amazing Homemade Peppermint Patties! They’re made with only seven wholesome and healthy ingredients and couldn’t be easier to put together. You’ll be living in cool minty and chocolatey bliss in no time!
It’s okay to eat a bit of junk food every once in a while but when you make the recipes healthier, you can enjoy your favorites more often. These recipes prove that “junk food” doesn’t have to be filled with junk to be delicious.
Lead image source: No-Bake Salted Almond Joy Bars