Nourish Yourself: Part 3 with SuperFoodRunner (Crowded Kitchen)

Plant-based desserts

Since drastically changing our diets about 6 years ago (cutting out processed foods, dairy and gluten), our tastes have completely evolved. Though we’ve always eaten relatively healthy (home-prepared meals, lots of fruits and veggies, etc.), we most definitely used to consume much larger quantities of processed snacks, like chips, cookies, and sugar-laden energy bars. Once we made the switch and cut most of these things out completely, we actually stopped craving them! The first time I ate a Reese’s PB Cup about 2 years after cutting out processed sweets, I could barely finish it. Of course, it tastes delicious, but the sugar was just a bit too much compared to what I was used to. Don’t get me wrong – we’re far from sugar free (I have a HUGE sweet tooth) – but healthy, homemade, plant-based treats far outweigh Tollhouse cookies any day in our house.

Aside from the fact that homemade treats aren’t processed, they also allow you to incorporate nutritious ingredients that you may not typically associate with dessert, like beets, bananas, dates, maca powder, nut butters & more. We’re huge proponents of the idea that sweets, when done right, should be a healthy part of any diet. Even if you follow a very limited diet (think paleo or raw vegan), there are endless recipe options out there!

Banana ‘nice cream’, specifically, is a go-to in our house. It’s filling and absolutely delicious, but doesn’t leave you with that heavy feeling typically associated with processed foods. It’s also incredibly easy to customize – simply blend a few frozen bananas and add-in ingredients like cacao powder, peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, or other berries. Pro tip: If you have a food processor, use that instead of a blender. Although we love our blender, it can be a pain to make a thick smoothie bowl or nice cream. Here’s one of our favorite recipes:

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream

(Serves two)

4 frozen bananas, thawed for 15 minutes

2 tbsp cacao powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-5 tbsp almond milk

Pinch of sea salt

In a food processor, pulse frozen bananas until they resemble a crumb-like texture. Add cacao powder, vanilla, sea salt and 1 tbsp of milk. Pulse for 30 seconds. Add more liquid if necessary to reach a smooth, creamy consistency.

Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or transfer to small loaf pan and freeze for 2-4 hours for ice cream.

icecream-3 2.jpg

 

Vegan Cheesecake

Vegan cheesecakes are another favorite in our house. If you’re suspicious of “vegan” and “cheesecake” in the same sentence, don’t abandon ship quite yet. Cashews make a perfectly creamy filling, and a small squeeze of lemon juice gives it that tangy component that’s quintessential for cheesecake. Here’s one of our favorite recipes!

Ingredients:

  • Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raw pecans or cashews
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 5 dates, soaked 10 mins in water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Filling Ingredients:
  • 4 cups soaked raw cashews (soak for 2 hours)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • Nut milk (almond, coconut, etc) for consistency
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 tsp acai powder
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • Chocolate Ganache Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 7 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp acai powder
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. For Crust:
  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans/cashews, almonds, coconut flakes, and salt until a crumbly mixture forms.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until dough is well-blended and sticks together when pressed with fingers.
  4. Line 9×9 or 8×8 pan with parchment paper and firmly press filling in.
  5. Chill in freezer while preparing filling.
  6. For Filling:
  7. Blend cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, vanilla bean, and sea salt in blender until well combined. Do not worry if the mix looks lumpy, it will smooth out when you add the coconut oil and milk.
  8. Slowly add in coconut oil and blend, adding nut milk until the consistency is thick, smooth and without lumps.
  9. Divide batter in half.
  10. In one half, add acai powder, blueberries, and lavender extract, and blend until well incorporated.
  11. Pour vanilla layer (the original half of your batter) on top of chilled crust, smooth out with a spatula, and let chill for 1-3 hours, or until firm.
  12. Once firm, pour the blueberry lavender layer, smooth with spatula, and let chill for additional 1-3 hours.
  13. For Chocolate Ganache:
  14. Whisk all ingredients until smooth. If mixture hardens and becomes too thick to pour, reheat in microwave for 15 second intervals until melted.
  15. Pour on top of cheesecake layers and let harden for 2-4 hours, or overnight.
  16. Slice into bars and store in freezer (or eat them all right away!).

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Chocolate Mousse

If you’re looking for a super easy, decadent, single serving dessert, look no further than this vegan chocolate mousse. Don’t be turned off by the fact that the recipe uses avocado – we PROMISE it tastes good! In fact, we made our entire family (& a few friends) do a blind taste test before telling them what’s in it, and there was only positive feedback!

Serves One

Ingredients

1/2 ripe avocado

2 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup

2 tbsp full fat coconut milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

Fresh berries for topping

Directions

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy.

Be sure to use a very ripe avocado (and don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste it!)

Serve in a small jar or ramekin and top with strawberries. Enjoy immediately!

mousse1 2.jpg

For more plant-based dessert inspiration, check out these recipes on our blog!

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