In the foodie world, dessert is like the Naomi Campbell of a meal – beautiful, decadent and a bit of a show stopper. From the glorified creations of current ‘it’ patissier Dominique Ansel to the uncanny realism of the ‘Fruits’ collection from Cedric Grolet, the concept of dessert has been further compounded not solely by taste but via visual gratification with the core aim of being ‘Insta-worthy’.
The Vegetarian/Vegan lifestyle and desserts are usually seen as mutually exclusive. The plant-based lifestyle is stereotypically seen as healthy but taste is sacrificed as a tradeoff. How can one make dessert decadent and delicious without the traditional ingredients like butter, eggs and dairy without having it taste like a cardboard box? Figuring out this equation originally seemed like an impossibility but, like the Kardashians, this can be solved with a good PR strategy and proper branding. Plant-based cuisine is making a creative comeback with products such as green juice gummy bears from the collaboration between Los Angeles based cold-pressed juice vendor ‘Pressed Juicery’ and upscale candy boutique ‘Sugafina’. Other items such as Açaí Bowls, Matcha Lattes and Chia Puddings have become popular in the social media landscape and by diffusion, into the mainstream. Every day hashtags #glutenfree, #meatlessmonday, #healthiswealth and #summerbody abound on the Instagram timeline or in Snapchat stories with a curated selfie spotted alongside these trendsetting goodies.
Nowadays, there are healthy alternatives to traditional dessert ingredients which are beneficial and sometimes from the most unexpected source. One such example is ‘aquafaba’, which is derived from canned chickpea liquid which can be used in recipes to substitute for egg whites. Aquafaba can bring volume, texture and a light, airy texture to desserts such as meringues and mousses. Another common plant-based item is the coconut. This multi-faceted, wonder fruit can be used as a substitute for many ingredients such as milk, bacon and even yogurt.
The coconut milk can be used in place of milk and yogurt dishes and makes an amazing dairy-free caramel that is so decadent you wouldn’t know the difference between it and one made with heavy cream. It can be substituted for bacon (using coconut meat, spices, maple syrup and hickory liquid smoke) and even sugar (for your information, coconut sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm). Avocado is another popular ingredient that is very underrated.
Avocados are nutritionally dense and can be used as a substitute for eggs, providing a gooey texture to desserts such as cakes and brownies. It is easily adaptable to any dish prepared as it takes on the flavor of the other ingredients. Avocado can also be used to make a deliciously healthy chocolate pudding, which requires no cooking and will impress even the pickiest individuals. No need to worry about these desserts affecting your waistline, which is an added bonus.
The myth that plant-sourced healthy desserts cannot be synonymous to being sinfully delicious has now been completely debunked. By the way, who doesn’t want a healthy energy boost like a mushroom power-up in Super Mario Bros without the guilt? These recipes are simple, easy to follow and most importantly, deliciously sweet & yummy without the added calories and guilt!
Omnivore meets gourmet, Craig Fleming is a Le Cordon Bleu Internationally trained Chef and Corporate Logistics Specialist living life one delicious meal at a time. Millennial moonlighting as a restaurant hopper & discovering new cuisines through his culinary adventures. Always searching for new and unique cosmopolitan ingredients and believes that one can travel the world for new cuisines not only by plane, but also through the kitchen.