6 Ingredients to Have On-Hand for Easy and Nutritious Desserts

Alexa Peduzzi

Published on November 3rd, 2016

Let's face it: sweet treats are a necessity to life. Whether it's at a party or after dinner, desserts are there to tempt your tastebuds with sweet, sugary goodness.

While some desserts are filled with saturated fats, refined sugar, and white flour, healthier versions of your favorite treats are only a few ingredient swaps away. Try keeping these healthier ingredients on hand for whenever you start craving something sweet:

  1. Nuts
    From creamy filling to crunchy crusts, nuts are one of the most popular additions to nutritious desserts. Creamy nuts like cashews, walnuts, and macadamia nuts can be blended in a high-powered blender to create smooth and luscious fillings in dairy-free cheesecakes and tarts. Nuts can come in the form of flours that can take the place of refined all-purpose flour in baked goods, and they can be ground up to create a nutty crust for pies. Try the nutty crust recipe in this Healthy Snickers Pie from Sprouted Routes!

  2. Greek Yogurt
    Everybody's favorite protein-packed breakfast, lunch, or snack can even be used in dessert! Due to it's tangy flavor, it can be used to tenderize and moisten baked goods, like in this Zucchini Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Greek yogurt can also create a thick and creamy filling to fruit tarts or cakes! Try this Greek Yogurt Fruit Tart, also from Sally's Baking Addiction, for a quick no-bake breakfast or dessert!

  3. Avocado
    Would you believe this fruit can be used in desserts?! Due to its creaminess and high fat content, avocados can be blended to create creamy desserts like puddings, mousses, frostings, and ice cream or they can be used in the place of fat in some baked goods. Because avocados aren't very sweet, it's important to add enough sugar to your dessert. Opt for natural varieties like coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey instead of the refined stuff for a slightly more healthy sweet treat. Try this Dark Chocolate Avocado Frosting from Veggie Primer to frost a cake, some brownies, or eat by the spoonful!

  4. Coconut oil
    Fats are essential for decadent, mouthwatering desserts. Try swapping out the butter or shortening for coconut oil for a dose of heart-healthy goodness in baked goods. Due to its ability to harden when chilled, coconut oil is also a great alternative to fat in no-bake desserts like fudge or no-bake cookies. Try this beautiful Dark Chocolate Coconut Oil Fudge from Back to Her Roots to taste coconut oil in action!

  5. Dates
    Desserts have to be sweet. Luckily, nature has you covered. Dates are a naturally sweet fruit that can be blended to sweeten your favorite dessert. They're also naturally sticky, so if you mix them with chopped nuts, you can make a delicious no-bake crust that's perfect for tarts or pies. Check out Minimalist Baker's Date Caramel; you're going to want to put it on everything.

  6. Coconut cream
    Coconut cream might just be a healthy dessert's best kept secret. If you've ever put a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge, you'll notice that the can's contents separate into a solid white cream and a thin coconut water. If you scoop the cream out and whip it with a stand or hand mixer, you can make a thick and creamy dairy-free whipped cream. Check out Leelalicious' tutorial to show you how she makes Whipped Coconut Cream.