Healthy Desserts Worthy Of Seconds (& Thirds)

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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We’ll give up a lot in the name of a healthy diet: gluten, dairy, the whole brunch menu. But there’s one thing that’s absolutely non-negotiable — dessert. That, you’ll have to pry from our cold, chocolate-covered hands. Fortunately, it won’t come to that. Because we dreamed up recipes for three fantasticallyhealthy desserts. Before you roll your eyes, thinking this is another put-grapes-in-the-freezer piece, hear us out. Chocolate mousse. Ice cream. A fresh-baked crumbly crisp. Do we have your attention? Grab a spoon, and dig in.

Note: You asked and we heard you! You can find printer-friendly versions of all these recipes at the end of the piece.

Peanut-Butter Banana Ice Cream
This is it, you guys. All scientists everywhere can officially retire. We figured out a truly healthy ice cream that you’ll actually want to eat. The glorious secret? Bananas. That’s pretty much it — sorry, scientists. This amazing confection is packed with nothing but good-for-you nutrients, and satisfies both hunger and your sweet tooth. It’s smooth, crunchy, sweet, salty, and requires all the effort of pushing a button. Where’s our Nobel?

5 ripe (or slightly brown) bananas
2 heaping tbsp chunky peanut butter
2 heaping tbsp raw honey

Peel bananas and slice into half-inch pieces. Line them up on a plate and freeze for an hour.

Once firmly frozen solid, put bananas into a food processor or blender and add peanut butter and honey.

Blend until smooth!

We like eating this right away, when it’s soft-serve consistency. If you prefer a hard, scoop-able ice cream, just pop it back into the freezer for an hour.

We dare you to wait that long.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Yes, you read that right. Lower those eyebrows, people. This combo is a huge favorite amongst health-fiends and gourmands alike. Supplementing the cream-and-egg combo of traditional mousse, this variation is (seriously) just as rich and indulgent — sans cream, eggs, and refined sugar. While we realize avocados do contain fat, you’re still getting a much healthier (not to mention vegan and sugar-free) treat. Note: The key is using a high-quality cocoa powder. We tried this with regular Hershey’s and testers enjoyed it, but the avocado taste was evident. When swapped with Ghirardelli (with a higher cacao content), no one had any idea they weren’t eating traditional mousse. Success!

2 ripe avocados
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably 60% cacao or more)
4 tbsp agave syrup

Halve and peel avocados, placing them into a large mixing bowl.

Add agave, distributing evenly.

Sprinkle cocoa powder over the whole mixture…

…and start smashing, stirring, and smushing it all together with a whisk.

You may need to switch to a spoon or spatula at some point, but just keep working away until all the lumps are worked out.

This recipe makes four-six servings. Trust, a little goes a long way toward satisfying your chocolate craving.

Mixed Berry Crisp Cups

Whenever we’re trying to be “good” at a restaurant, we order the fruity dessert…with a side of vanilla ice cream (two scoops, please). As nice as they are, we always want a little something more with our berries to make it feel more indulgent. These mini-crisps deliver. While super low on sugar and butter, they make up the difference with a nutty, crumbly crust that adds both richness and a little crunch. Plus, baking in a cupcake pan takes the guesswork out of portion control — so, you go for the ice cream, too.

10 oz mixed berries
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp wheat flour
3 tbsp quick cook oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 tbsp butter, chilled

Preheat the oven to 350. Put berries into a large mixing bowl. Fresh or frozen will both do, but frozen berries actually work a bit better in this recipe, since they’ll crush and combine more easily. Zest lemon over the berries (make sure you wash it first!).

Add two tablespoons of the brown sugar and mix into the berries. Using a wooden spoon, try and smush them a bit as you go. This will give you more of a compote base, helping the crisp hold its shape.

Set berry mixture aside, and get another mixing bowl. Add all the dry ingredients, including remaining sugar, and mix together.

Chop butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Using a crumbling gesture with your fingers, mix the butter mixture into the dry ingredients. You’ll get a sort of wet sand texture at the end. (We dare you not to lick your fingers right now.)

Spoon berries into a lined cupcake pan, filling the cups about halfway — err on the side of slightly less rather than slightly more, or your cups might bubble over.

Sprinkle crumble topping evenly over each cup.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and berries begin to bubble up underneath.

Go nuts over this berry good crisp. (Sorry.)

Photographed by by Amelia Alpaugh

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