7 Dessert Recipes Displaying the Sweetest Side of Vegetables

Many of us struggle to get in two to three vegetable servings each day, which is the amount recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. Luckily, there is a delicious and fairly nutritious way to increase your daily veggie intake. The trick is to start indulging in decadent desserts that are filled with vegetables. It may sound like a strange combination, but produce is amazingly adaptable and tastes wonderful when paired with sweet ingredients. You’ll see for yourself after using these 7 vegetable-filled recipes to create divine desserts.

Source: iStock

1. Butternut Squash Pudding

Butternut squash gives TreeHugger’s baked pudding a sweet, buttery flavor. You’ll love the rich and creamy texture in this dessert, which calls for squash, brown sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and candied pepitas. This healthy and easy-to-make dish will quickly become a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pureed butternut squash
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (or Sucanat)
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger (optional)
  • ¼ cup candied pepitas (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix squash, brown sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Pour into a lightly oiled 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove, cool, and serve with whipped cream, Greek yogurt, or a mix of candied ginger and pepitas.

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2. Triple Layer Cauliflower and Raspberry Cheesecake

Cauliflower and cheesecake might seem like they don’t go together, but the healthy veggie pairs perfectly with the raspberries and ricotta cheese. While you’re indulging in this decadent Eat A Beet dessert, you’re also consuming cancer-fighting nutrients, a hearty dose of vitamin C, and plenty of potassium, according to Livestrong. This recipe requires the raspberries be refrigerated overnight, so be sure to plan ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ¼ 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 crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs separated
  • Freshly grated rind of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Almond Crust

  • 2 ounces almonds
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, ice cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions: To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast the almonds and let them cool. Place the almonds and flour in the food processor and pulse until the almonds are fine. Add the butter and pulse about 15 seconds, just until incorporated. Add the egg yolk and pulse another 15-20 seconds, until the dough balls up. Gather up the dough and press into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is set and golden brown. Let cool.

To prepare the cheesecake, macerate the raspberries in a bowl and add the champagne vinegar. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the purple and white cauliflower into florets. Place in a baking dish and toss with the oil. Roast for 30 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant. Let cool. In a food processor, mix the ricotta, flour, crème fraîche egg yolks, fresh herbs, and lemon rind until well-blended and creamy.

Split this mixture between 3 bowls. Add shallots and horseradish to 2 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 the vinegar. Add additional lemon peel. Add salt and pepper to taste to each of the three bowls. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Distribute between the 3 bowls and fold in to lighten. Layer the purple, then the white, then the raspberry layer into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: iStock

3. Zucchini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Zucchini combined with coconut and chocolate creates a heavenly cookie that’s packed with nutrients. Two Peas and Their Pod’s recipe yields 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and sugars, mix until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract. Next, add the shredded zucchini. Mix until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in oats, coconut, and chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or cookies are slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Eggplant Tarte Tatin With Black Pepper Caramel

Eggplant is packed with iron, calcium, and fiber, making it a veggie you should try to eat often. Gourmet makes this task easy by creating a dessert that’s filled with rich, indulgent flavors. If you’re looking for a perfect pairing, prepare Taste of Home’s recipe for healthy, low-fat vanilla ice cream, which tastes wonderful with the tarte tatin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (14 ounce package), thawed
  • ¾ stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pound (5- to 6-inch long) bambino eggplants (about 4), peeled, halved crosswise, and then quartered lengthwise

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle. Roll out pastry sheet into a 12-inch square on a floured work surface with a rolling pin. Brush off excess flour. Cut out a 10-inch round with a sharp knife, using a plate as a guide. Transfer pastry round to a baking sheet and chill. Spread butter thickly on bottom and sides of a 12-inch heavy skillet. Sprinkle sugar, salt, and pepper evenly over bottom. Arrange as many pieces of eggplant as will fit vertically in skillet, packing them tightly in concentric circles.

Cook eggplant over medium heat, undisturbed, until sugar melts and caramel is deep golden, about 20 minutes. Place skillet in oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lay pastry round over eggplant inside skillet. Bake until pastry is browned and puffed, about 25 minutes. Transfer skillet to a rack and cool 5 to 10 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert tart onto plate. Replace any pieces of eggplant that stick to skillet and brush any excess caramel from skillet over eggplant.

Source: iStock

5. Chocolate Beet Cupcakes With Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting

Naturally Ella’s cupcakes are moist, rich, and simply scrumptious. The beets and chocolate are a match made in heaven, while the whole wheat flour ensures this dessert is as nutritious as it is delicious. The recipe yields 18 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large beets
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 ½ cup muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 recipe for cocoa mascarpone frosting

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel beets and cut into cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water, 1 inch over the tops. Bring to a boil and cook until beets are soft. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the beet water. Combine the ½ cup water with the beets in a blender and purée until smooth. Measure out 2 cups, set side and let cool. In a double boiler, melt ¼ cup of butter with the semi-sweet chocolate. Let cool slightly.

In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides. Stir the melted chocolate and beet mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until everything is thoroughly mixed. In a separate bowl, combine pastry flower, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixer and beat until the batter is thick and most lumps are gone.

Divide batter into 18 cupcake liners. Bake for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish. Once cupcakes are cooled, make mascarpone frosting and frost cupcakes. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Source: iStock

6. Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Tired of preparing pumpkin pie? If so, The Kitchn’s recipe for crumb cake is a great alternative that allows you to take advantage of pumpkin’s many nutritional benefits. The Huffington Post writes that one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily vitamin A intake, which plays a key role in vision health. This perfect pumpkin dessert dish yields one 13 x 9-inch cake or 18 individual cakelets.

Ingredients:

Dry Mix

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

Cake Dough

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ dry mix

Pumpkin Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin or sweet potato purée (1 ¾ cups)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ dry mixture
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ⅔ cup crushed pecans or roasted hazelnuts (optional)

Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking dish by greasing lightly with butter or baking spray. You can also make 18 individual crumb cakelets. To do this, line 18 muffin pan wells with paper liners, or set out 4-ounce paper soufflé cups on a baking sheet and spray lightly with baking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder for the dry mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until whipped and creamy and then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Beat in about half (1 ¾ cup) of the dry mix of flour and sugar.

The cake dough will be thick, yet sticky. Scrape the bowl out thoroughly and pat the dough out in the prepared pan. If making individual cakelets, divide the dough into 18 balls and press each ball into one muffin well so that it covers the bottom. Put the eggs, pumpkin, or sweet potato purée, milk, brown sugar, and spices for the pumpkin filling in the scraped-out bowl of the stand mixer. Whip until combined; it will be very liquid. Pour this evenly over the cake dough in the pan or muffin tin. Add the additional ½ cup flour to the remaining dry mixture, and whisk in the spices.

Drop the soft butter into the bowl in chunks or spoonfuls and use your fingers to rub it through until soft, even crumbs form. Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix with fingers until loose and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake or cakelets. If desired, sprinkle also with crushed pecans or hazelnuts. If baking a 9 x 13-inch pan, bake for about 45 minutes or until the filling is just set inside. If baking cakelets, they will only need to bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least half an hour before slicing.

Source: iStock

7. Parsnip, Oatmeal, and Raisin Cookies

Prevention’s recipe creates a cookie that has a satisfyingly sweet and nutty flavor to it. The best part? No one will be able to tell that their dessert is packed with nutrient-rich parsnip. It yields 24 servings, with each containing 158 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups peeled and shredded parsnips
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter, sugar, and syrup in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Beat in reserved dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in oats, parsnips, and raisins. Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheets and flatten slightly. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

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