Are you looking for ways to eat more vegetables? We all know that we should eat multiple servings of veggies every day but for some people, that can be a challenge. Well, what if I told you that the solution might be to eat more desserts? Yes, you read that right. Vegetables are highly versatile and they are good for more than salads and side dishes. You can make sweet, decadent desserts using veggies. Used in desserts, veggies can add natural sweetness, help with binding, add moistness, replace eggs and fat, and boost nutrition. Once you see how to use vegetables to make sweet desserts, you won’t feel guilty about indulging and you’ll have a great excuse if you want to eat dessert first.
Carrots are one vegetable most people are happy to eat. They are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. The antioxidants and phytochemicals can help reduce cancer and cardiovascular risks, help regulate blood sugar and improve immune function. Carrot cake is my favorite dessert and the more fresh carrots you put in it, the more I like it. Try making my Gluten-Free and Vegan Carrot Cake with Walnuts and Cream Cheese Frosting. Want to keep it raw? Make this Divine Carrot Cake, Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting and this Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting which all use dates instead of sugar. This Raw Mandarin Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream has a subtle citrus sweetness from the oranges. Go even smaller with these Carrot Cake Bites which have all the flavor of carrot cake without the flour.
Kids and adults alike will hop with joy for these Cute Vegan Carrot Cupcakes, Raw Carrot-Orange Cupcakes, Carrot Collective Cupcakes, and Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. If you would rather munch on cookies, these Carrot Cake Cookies with Lemon Cream Frosting are chewy, sweet but not too sweet and filled with carrots, oats and raisins. For a dessert that’s out of the ordinary, try this extraordinary Indian dessert of Super Healthy Carrot Halwa.
Beets are super-healthy with vitamin C, folic acid and potassium, and they’re beautiful to look at in a wide range of colors, from deep red to bright gold to candy cane red and white stripes. Beets have a sweet and earthy flavor and are like nature’s candy. Since beets are sweet, they work well in desserts. Not only do they add sweetness, but they add color, so they are a natural food coloring to make pink, red and red velvet desserts. Check out Here’s 3 Easy Ways to Make Vegan Ice Cream and use beets to make a beautiful batch of beet ice cream. Try these Chocolate Beet Cupcakes and these Beetroot Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes for a dessert that’s not only yummy but good for you. In this Fudgy Beetroot Chocolate Cake with Pink Frosting, the beets are used in both the cake and the frosting. For an amazing dessert that will have your guests amazed, make this Raw Layered Banana Ice Cream Cake. It has a chocolate layer, vanilla layer, mint layer and a beet layer with a coconut maple drizzle on top. This Beetroot Cake is so good, you’ll eat it for dinner instead of dessert. Yum!
3. Summer Squash
Zucchini and yellow squash have extremely high water contents, and so adding them shredded into batters adds moisture. That means you can use less or even no oil to make cakes and muffins. I love making muffins with zucchini and summer squash. You really don’t taste them since they are so mild, but they add moisture and nutrients so you can feel better about indulging in sweet treats.
To make my Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Squash Muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil 1 ½ muffin tins. Mix 1 Tbs. flax with 3 Tbs. warm water in a mug or small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until it forms a gel. Grate 2 or 3 yellow squash (unpeeled) and squeeze it dry. Let it drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Mix 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar into 1 cup non-dairy milk to make buttermilk. It will curdle. Let it sit for 5 minutes. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk (milk/vinegar) mixture, flax gel, 3 Tbs. maple syrup, 1 tsp. vanilla and 3 Tbs. peanut butter. Mix until smooth. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups gluten-free flour blend, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup cane sugar, 1 Tbs. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. guar gum and 1 tsp. salt. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the squash. Spoon the batter into the oiled muffin tins. Fill them ¾ of the way full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes. Then transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack until completely cool. For more recipes, try these Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins, Zucchini Blueberry Muffins and then wow everyone when you tell them there is zucchini in these Individual Chocolate Espresso Cakes.
4. Beans and Legumes
It’s not a fairy tale that beans are magical. Beans and legumes are economical, easy to cook with and healthy. In addition to all that, you can also make decadent desserts with them. Beans and legumes can be processed into a thick paste that not only add flavor and moistness but can replace flour and eggs in recipes. I love making my Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies. No one believes they have beans in them. Try them or these Black Bean Chili Chocolate Brownies. Learn how to make similar brownies using sweet red lentils here. Use white beans to make these Pumpkin Bean Bars. Chickpea flour can be used to make sweet crepes and this is Indian-Style Soft Steamed Chickpea Flour Cake called Khaman Dhokla.
You may think of rhubarb as a fruit but it’s really a vegetable. It gets used in desserts a lot and is sometimes called “the pie plant.” Rhubarb is tart so it works well in sweet dishes and is often paired with strawberries and other sweet fruits. This Rhubarb, Rosewater and Lime Sorbet is easy to make and only has 5 ingredients. The most common desserts made with rhubarb are pies and tarts. Try this Swedish Rhubarb Crumble sweetened with brown sugar, Classic Rhubarb Crisp – A Summer Tradition,Seasonal Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, and this beautiful Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie. See more Tips for Using Rhubarb in Desserts.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes can function in several ways when making desserts. One-quarter cup of mashed sweet potatoes can replace 1 egg or ½ cup of oil or butter in baking. The sweetness also allows you to use less sugar as in this Passionfruit Matcha Coconut Layered Cake. Try using sweet potatoes in your desserts or try making these: Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake, S’mores Sweet Potato Brownies, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate “Buttercream” Icing, Sweet Potato Maple Mousse Pie, Pancake Cake with Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting, Moist and Decadent Sweet Potato Blondies and Mint Carob Walnut Brownies. Sweet potatoes are not just for baking. They can be used in other desserts such as this Nearly Fat-Free Vegan Chocolate Pudding, these Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles, and this Sweet Potato Apple Pie Ice Cream.
7. Pumpkin and Winter Squash
Pumpkin and winter squash come in very handy for baking, as just ¼ cup of puree can replace one egg for binding as in these Caramel Fudge Brownies. They also add moistness and a nutritional boost. Of course, there are delicious pumpkin pies; let me suggest a few. Try this Simple and Healthy Pecan Pumpkin Pie, The World’s Healthiest Pumpkin Pie, and this amazing Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. If you prefer to not bake, go for this No-Bake Coconut Pumpkin Pie, this Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie and this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust. If you want a dessert that’s just big enough for you and someone special, learn How to Make a Gluten-Free, No Bake, Low Sugar Mini Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Pies aren’t the only pumpkin desserts. How about Clean-Eating Pumpkin and Pecan Fudge, Chocolate-Frosted Pumpkin Cookies, Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Coconut Frosting, Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cookies, Pumpkin Truffles and Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes. I would be remiss to not point out this Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Cashew Cream Cake with Chocolate Sauce, Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Vegan Brownies and Pumpkin Ice Cream with Brownie Parfait.
Wow! With all these incredible veggie-filled desserts, you’ll never have to say “no dessert if you don’t finish your vegetables” again. These sweet treats will have people asking for seconds of dessert…and veggies.
Lead Image Source: Beetroot Cake That’s So Good, You Can Eat it for Dinner