Healthy-ish Dessert Recipes
January 14, 2013 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any dessert recipes that are sugar-free? Bonus points for also being flour free.

I need inspiration for healthy dessert recipes that do not contain granulated sugar, powdered sugar, or sugar substitutes. The only sweeteners I would be okay using are honey, maple syrup, or molasses.

Right now I'm getting my chocolate fix by making raw cookies consisting of oats, coconut oil, honey, ground almonds, and cocoa powder, but I'd like a little variety.

I'm planning on trying black bean brownies sweetened, but I can't find recipes that don't use Splenda or Stevia. I also keep forgetting to soak the beans before going to bed.

To make it even more complicated, I'm trying to limit the amount of flour I eat, so if your recipes don't contain flour either, even better. I've found websites that offer low-carb recipes and websites that offer "sugar-free" recipes but none that offer both, and most sugar-free recipes use sugar substitutes.
posted by fruitopia to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Pears or figs poached in red wine. You can sweeten the wine as desired.
posted by OmieWise at 5:59 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

One-ingredient banana "ice cream" is a popular solution for no-sugar-added dessert.
posted by neushoorn at 6:07 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

My father's go-to nobody-made-dessert late-night dessert fix is a bowl of dry oatmeal flakes (rolled, not steel-cut) moistened with enough maple syrup to bind them, and nuts of some kind.

Cocoa nibs may be more versatile than cocoa powder. Add anywhere you add nuts.

Fruits and berries are insanely delicious. Whipped cream can be made with vanilla, no sugar, and added on top, if you want to be fancy.
posted by pie ninja at 6:13 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: Cranachan..

.. is awesome. You can make it with Greek yoghurt to make it healthier, which you obviously don't whip.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:20 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Chia seed pudding is a tapioca-like pudding that is usually sweetened with honey, or not at all.
posted by xo at 6:20 AM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

Fruit (of your choice) with plain yoghurt and honey or maple syrup.

Roasted banana (sweet enough for me on its own, or add honey or maple syrup). Wrap the whole banana in foil and cook in a hot oven for 20 minutes or so. This also works in the microwave, although not nearly as well, if you are feeling extra lazy, but you probably need to peel the banana first for that one.

Roast pineapple, similarly.

Dried fruit, poached in Earl Grey tea, with yoghurt.
posted by emilyw at 6:20 AM on January 14, 2013

Frozen blueberries with toasted flaked almonds, plain Greek yoghurt, a few drops of vanilla essence and a drizzle of honey. Mix around until swirly and blueberries semi-defrosted.

Also awesome with walnuts. Maple syrup instead of honey would be divine, but I don't trust myself to have that liquid crack in the house. ;-)
posted by Salamander at 6:23 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: I like baked apples and baked bananas, served with sweetened yogurt cheese (mix the sweetener into the yogurt before you drain it). Sometimes I add almond extract to the yogurt cheese.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:28 AM on January 14, 2013

Seconding cranachan. There are a lot of similar fruit-with-whipped-cream dessert recipes out there - check out recipes for fruit "fools", which are all that same principle of soft raw fruit or cooked firm fruit mushed up and stirred into whipped cream or yogurt. You can use whatever sweetener you like, or none at all if the fruit is good enough. The toasted oatmeal in cranachan is a nice touch, as is chopped toasted nuts; you can mix it all into a big lump or layer it in each glass like a parfait.

Eton Mess is another good one - nothing but whipped cream, fresh chopped strawberries and crushed-up meringue cookies.

You say no granulated sugar; but I wonder if raw demera sugar is okay? If so, try sprinkling a little of that on half a grapefruit and then broiling it until the sugar melts.

I also just made a citrus fruit salad this way:
1. Get one each of as many different kinds of citrus fruits you can find (except for lemons and limes).

2. Peel and section each one (meaning that fiddly thing where you cut each wedge out of it's membrane rather than just pulling the sections apart with your hands) and dump into a bowl.

3. Sprinkle/drizzle over a little sweetener if you like and mix it up.

4. Get a little lump of fresh ginger, mince that up good and stir that in as well.

5. Let sit a few hours before eating.
That one can also be considered a breakfast food. Proportions are going to be approximate depending on what kind of citrus fruit you can get your hands on (if you're lucky and live near a funky supermarket you may be able to get pomelos and blood oranges and such, this will be bigger, whereas if all you can get is oranges, tangerines and grapefruit, it'll still be nice but not quite so plentiful).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: Oh, and duh, I forgot one last dessert idea: sliced peaches, topped with a little yogurt-and-honey-whipped together. Or, sliced peaches topped with whipped marscapone cheese.

In fact, just get some marscapone cheese and whip it up a little before you use it; that can be a good whipped cream replacement as you probably won't need to add any sugar. A roommate who used to be on Atkins would often stir cocoa powder into marscapone and eat that when she was having a chocolate pudding craving.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 AM on January 14, 2013

Baklava, of course.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:57 AM on January 14, 2013

Cheesecakes, if you're doing dairy. You can do a crust of almond flour, or crushed pecans.

Carrot cakes made with rice flour or quinoa flour as they're very forgiving.

Cobblers made with oat crusts.

Ice cream.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:04 AM on January 14, 2013

Baked egg custards are simple desserts which are really flexible in terms of how sweet you make them (i.e., you can't just leave the sugar out of cookies because the texture goes all to crap, but you can put really any amount of sweetener in a custard an only affect the sweetness, not the overall outcome).
This maple custard, for example, calls for 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, and half a cup of maple syrup. Other recipes call for only 1/4 cup syrup.
posted by aimedwander at 7:06 AM on January 14, 2013

Do you have a food processor? Just blend plain yoghurt with the frozen fruit(s) of your choice. Drizzle with maple syrup for extra sweetness.
posted by Cuke at 7:08 AM on January 14, 2013

Stewed fruit can be extremely sweet and delicious without adding any additional sweetener. Blueberries in particular are awesome. A pot full of frozen blueberries cooked on low-medium heat until they are thick purple sludge is delcious. A little dash of nutmeg brings that sludge up to a deliciousness level of 11. A splash of dark spiced rum never hurts either. Put that on top of naturally sweetened (honey or maple syrup) greek yoghurt... Nirvana!

(holy crap, I am dying for this now... I'm going to have to make a stop at the grocery store on the way home from work.)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:11 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: A simple cornstarch pudding (you can find a blancmange recipe to get a sense of the proportions):
-maple syrup
-coconut milk
-maybe a little salt?
Whisk over heat until thickened.

Bonus: it's also vegan!
posted by the_blizz at 8:13 AM on January 14, 2013

"Paleo" centered websites like and "low carb" sites like will have a lot of what you are looking for!
posted by Acer_saccharum at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might find some useful recipes at Chocolate Covered Katie. She calls for stevia fairly frequently, but often includes amounts to substitute agave or other liquid sweeteners, and also does a lot of gluten free recipes with rice flour instead of wheat flour.
posted by periscope at 9:51 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: Coconut panna cotta. So good, especially with crushed raspberries on top.

Here's a sugar and dairy-free recipe I just Googled, haven't tried this one myself:
posted by stompadour at 9:57 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: Healthful Pursuit has some wonderful sugar and flour (and gluten, dairy, yeast, grain...) free desserts (among other things).
posted by chaiwawa at 10:51 AM on January 14, 2013

These dark chocolate coconut treats are dead easy, delicious, and if you use unsweetened chocolate, you have quite a bit of control over the amount of sweetener in them.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:49 AM on January 14, 2013

OH OH OH OH! Try this for a milkshake - a scoop of chocolate sorbet and about 8 ounces of coconut milk. Yes, there is some sugar in the sorbet, I'm sure, but WHO CARES BECAUSE HOLY SHIT I'M DRINKING AN ALMOND JOY
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

This has recently blown my mind by its rich deliciousness.
posted by Kitteh at 1:08 PM on January 14, 2013

The best dessert I ever had was a yoghurt pafait made in France by my roommate's mother as dessert for her whole family, and was as simple as could be. It has:

Creamy, thickish French yoghurt (Greek would suffice)
toasted hazelnuts

Toast the hazelnuts in a pan over the stove, then layer all 3 in a glass as you would a trifle (or just throw it in a bowl and drizzle that honey ALL OVER the yoghurt and pile on the toasted hazelnuts, but you know, presentation).

For a garnish she dropped in some kind of French ginger--molasses-sugar square (LU cinnamon cookie maybe?), but the parfait stands fine on its own.

(Pro-tip: add rosewater or orange blossom water for a classy Eastern vibe!)
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2013

Also, I used to make a "soup" of bananas, cream and maple syrup for myself as an afterschool snack when I was a kid (but I also had a phase where I drank Strawberry Quik and ate sweet pickles as a "treat" while watching cartoons, so YMMV).

But in actual, vetted good-things-to-eat, this Avocado Chocolate mousse is cousin to kitteh's Avocado chocolate pudding.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 3:22 PM on January 14, 2013

That avocado chocolate pudding is seriously amazing, especially when you've got a chocolate craving going on. You can use it to make pie by smashing walnuts & dates up in a food processor to make a paste. You line a pie pan with that, and fill it with avocado chocolate pudding. Someone I used to know would make beautiful designs on the top of the pies with satsuma wedges, kiwi slices and pomegranate seeds.
posted by linettasky at 7:36 PM on January 14, 2013

3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut water
1 tbsp coconut cream (or enough to be to your taste)
2 tsp cacao powder (or enough to be to your taste)
2 tbsp coconut flakes/shreds

Mix chia, water and cream and stir occasionally so it doesn't clump. After about 20 minutes stir in coconut and cacao, eat or store in the fridge.
posted by latch24 at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2013

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