If you follow a raw foods diet (or you’re just totally averse to cooking), you may rely on salads, shakes, blended soups and easy-to-grab fruits—all of which are naturally tasty and nourishing. But when the cravings for sweets kick in, an apple doesn’t always cut it.
If you keep your pantry stocked with the right ingredients, you can satisfy your hunger for sweets with nutritious, yet decadent-tasting treats. These items are also great to have on hand when it comes to preparing quick bites for unexpected house guests or an impromptu party.
The following five ingredients will amaze you as they’re extremely versatile. Whip up fresh, no-bake batches of raw-vegan fudge, brownies, “cheese” cakes, pies and more.
1. Raw cacao
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! With a few additional ingredients, this superfood can be used to make chocolate milk, pudding, brownies, smoothies, cookies, ice cream and more. Plus, stocking up on raw cacao (a.k.a. chocolate in its purest form) will ensure your desserts are loaded with antioxidants. It’s a win-win!
Make this: 3-Ingredient Raw Chocolate Brownies
2. Nuts & seeds
Nuts and seeds play a central role in many raw vegan treats (they’re also nutritional powerhouses). Cashews are especially versatile. When soaked and blended, they become a rich, creamy base for frosting, raw cheesecakes and other confections. Walnuts and/or pecans—typically blended with dates (see No. 3)—star in no-bake pie crusts, which come together quickly with a food processor. The same goes for raw nut butter.
Make this: 4-Ingredient Raw Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
3. Fresh & dried fruit
Dried and fresh fruit alike steal the show in most raw desserts. Medjool dates, are super sweet and can replace sugar in many recipes. But while dehydrated fruits can be used to make raw pie crusts, granola and cookies, fresh fruit is great for frozen treats. Keeping a bowl full of bananas in your kitchen guarantees at least a week’s worth of “nice cream” (dairy-free ice cream). Once ripened, peel and place them into the freezer and then blend for a creamy, soft-serve snack!
Make this: Raw Vegan Key Lime Pie
Although there’s been some recent controversy regarding the health profile of coconut oil, Dr. Josh Axe’s website refers to more than 1,500 studies showing the benefits of this tropical oil. This is partly due to beneficial fats called medium-chain fatty acids. That’s good news since coconut oil is integral to many raw vegan desserts such as dairy-free cheesecake.
While traditional cheesecake is typically loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol and refined sugar, raw plant-based versions—created mainly from fresh fruit, dates, nuts and coconut oil—offer a deliciously creamy, better-for-you alternative.
Make this: Raw Cherry “Cheesecake” with Almond Crust
While there are ongoing debates about which sweeteners are best for us, many raw desserts call for raw agave nectar, as well as maple syrup—which isn’t considered raw, but still a great alternative to refined white sugar.
And don’t forget stevia, an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener. If aren’t familiar with it, try liquid stevia which dissolves instantly in beverages, blends with anything, and tastes sweet without a yucky aftertaste.
As your taste buds tune into the amazing natural flavors these ingredients offer, you can happily bid farewell to commercial sweets made from refined flour and sugar, gluten, processed oils and other additives. You will also be happy to know that you can savor these beautiful, nourishing desserts in moderation guilt-free, as they fill you up without filling you out.
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