Deceptively Delicious: Veggie Desserts
January 28th, 2014
Looking for a sweet treat that boosts your vegetable intake? Try chocolate bread with a “secret” ingredient: zucchini. Photo by Grabill Creative

Looking for a sweet treat that boosts your vegetable intake? Try chocolate bread with a “secret” ingredient: zucchini.
Photo by Grabill Creative

Nutritionists recommend children eat three cups of vegetables a day. That can be hard to achieve when children turn up their nose at broccoli and peas at dinnertime.

Fortunately, it is possible to sneak vegetables and legumes into something sweet for healthier dessert alternatives that will satisfy everyone’s appetite—and their conscience.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix almond flour with baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until foamy. Beat in yogurt, butter, vanilla, honey and vinegar. Combine well and stir in grated zucchini, pecans and chocolate chips. Fold in flour mixture and stir until combined.

Spoon the batter into an 8½-inch by 4½-inch medium loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Bread can be stored up to 10 days in an airtight container.

Adapted from Adriana Harlan at

Triple Layer Cauliflower Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes


  • 2 ounces almonds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of muffin tins with parchment paper circles. Toast the almonds and let cool.

Place the almonds and flour in a food processor and pulse until almonds are fine. Add the butter and pulse about 15 seconds, just until incorporated. Add the egg yolk and pulse another 15 to 20 seconds, until the dough balls up. Gather the dough and press into the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is set and golden brown. Let cool.


  • 2 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 small head purple cauliflower
  • 1 small head white cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • Rind of one lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Macerate the raspberries in a bowl and add the champagne vinegar. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375. Chop the purple and white cauliflower into florets. Place in a baking dish and toss with oil. Roast for 30 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350.

In a food processor, mix the ricotta, flour, creme fraiche, egg yolks, herbs and lemon rind until well blended and creamy. Split this mixture among three bowls. Add shallots and horseradish to two of the bowls.

Put about 1 cup of white cauliflower into the food processor and chop finely. Pour into one of the bowls with shallots in it. Repeat with the purple cauliflower.

In the third bowl, add the macerated raspberries with about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add additional lemon peel. Add salt and pepper to taste to each of the three bowls.

Whip the egg whites until stiff. Distribute among the three bowls and fold in to lighten. Layer the purple cauliflower, the white cauliflower, then the raspberry layer into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until set and golden on top.

Makes 12

Courtesy of Carolyn at

Strawberry White Bean Blondies

  • 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup instant oats
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except oats in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into a greased 8×8 pan.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.
Note: If you find these brownies are too soft or too fudgey, add another 1/4 cup oats or flour.

Courtesy of Aylin Erman at

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats—which can lower bad cholesterol—and
contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. Reap the health benefits of this versatile fruit while treating yourself to chocolate mousse.
Photo by Patrick T. Power
  • 3 medium ripe avocados
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional for thinner consistency)

Halve avocados. Remove pits and scoop pulp into a food processor. Add cocoa powder, honey, vanilla and salt.
Blend until fully incorporated. Add milk to desired consistency. Chill and serve.

Makes 4 to 8 servings

Courtesy of Alexandra Sechler at