“Healthy desserts” is something of an oxymoron, we know. But right now, it’s the best term we have to describe desserts that are made of whole, nourishing foods. We’re all for splurging on standard desserts on occasion, but we’ll admit — sometimes a meal needs a sweet ending and we’re all out of our splurge quota for the week. So most often, we try to tailor the desserts we eat so that they contain nourishing whole foods. They’re better on the stomach and leave us feeling energized instead of sluggish.
We’ve devised the term “healthy + whole” to describe this type of dessert. What we look for in a healthy + whole dessert recipe is that it contains mostly real foods (like nuts, fruit, cocoa powder, milk, even chocolate on occasion), if possible contains natural sugars (like honey, maple syrup, or dates), and is relatively light on the refined sugar, refined flour, and butter (within reason).
What we don’t call a healthy + whole dessert are those not-too-healthy recipes with “healthy” ingredients added (like adding simply black beans to brownies or zucchini to chocolate chip cookies), or desserts that are categorized as healthy based entirely on calorie count and/or unreasonably tiny servings.
One of our first ventures into healthy desserts was the raw brownie, inspired by My New Roots. The thought that you could make a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth made only of dates and nuts changed our whole paradigm. We decided the photograph from our original post on the raw brownie needed a bit of updating, so we’ve re-photographed it here, updated the recipe, and added a list of the top 10 healthy + whole desserts from our site, as well as 30 extras from around the web.
Do you have a favorite wholesome dessert recipe? Let us know!
Our top 10 favorite healthy + whole desserts from A Couple Cooks
1. Raw Brownies (pictured above; recipe below)
5. Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint (not quite in season right now, but one of our favorites ever
20 More from Around the Web
- 1 cup walnuts (unsalted)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 12 Medjool dates
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- Remove the pits from the dates.
- In the bowl of a food processor, place 1 cup walnuts. Process on high until the nuts are finely ground. Add ½ cup cocoa powder and ⅛ teaspoon kosher or sea salt. Pulse to combine.
- Turn on the food processor. As the processor is running, add the dates one at a time. Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable. Add the almonds and pulse several times to combine.
- In a small, square dish, press the dough into the desired thickness (press it into the desired shape, even if it does not fill the entire pan). If desired, place in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Store refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for several months.