8 Easy Valentine’s Dessert Recipes That Use Exactly Zero Refined Sugar
We love that sweetness is associated with Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily want to eat a whole lot of refined sugar-packed desserts and throw off our blood sugar levels. We’ve found a bunch of desserts that are thoroughly romantic and sweet, but contain no added sugar whatsoever. That’s not to say these desserts are exactly sugar-free — just that their sugar comes from natural sources like vegetables, fruits, and honey.
It’s not always so easy to find a brownie that’s moist and rich if you’re looking to stick to gluten-free options and also avoid refined sugar. But these sweet potato brownies make use of sweet potatoes’ natural sugar content and creamy texture for a final brownie that is absolutely delicious. Once blended with that cocoa, the batter is actually very rich and chocolatey.
This honey almond cake recipe is phenomenally simple, so it’s a great fit for someone who may not think of themselves as a star baker. It’s also delicious on its own and needs no frosting — a handful of blackberries and raspberries on top would be just as good. And as the recipe author notes, if you want to toss some lemon and orange zest into the cake batter, that will really elevate the recipe, too.
Poached pears are seriously elegant-looking but aren’t a lot of trouble, so they’re a perfect fit for Valentine’s Day. This recipe calls for ⅓ cup of sugar, but if you’re ok with a dessert that isn’t super sweet, you can honestly leave it out entirely, or substitute two tablespoons of honey or coconut sugar. Serve on their own, with a little coconut whipped cream, or a splash of coconut milk.
There’s nothing like a decadent slice of chocolate layer cake at the end of a celebration or romantic dinner. However, cake is often loaded with refined sugar, which may not be in your diet plan. This vegan dark chocolate quinoa cake calls for coconut sugar rather than refined sugar, which has a lower glycemic index, and replaces the butter you may normally find in a cake like this with coconut oil, and the milk with coconut milk. Thanks to quinoa, this cake has a surprising, delightful texture while still remaining moist and rich.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about chocolate and berries — there are other flavors and textures that can leave us with sweetness and romance, even if they aren’t red. This avocado lime tart is a sweet, delicious example. It’s a plant-based dessert that’s loaded with rich-tasting but nutrient-packed ingredients, such as avocados and coconut milk. If you are craving something a bit more citrusy for dessert on Valentine’s Day, this is a winner.
If you’re Paleo, this ice cream is the ticket for you — assuming you’re also into that iconic combination of coconut, almonds, and chocolate that make up an Almond Joy. We love this recipe because it’s based in banana “nice cream” (a treat that’s way more than the sum of its parts — it’s basically ice cream magic) and uses coconut cream for added richness. Of course, feel free to personalize — pretzel bites, peanuts, pineapple bites, frozen strawberries… these are all totally legit mix-ins here, too.
Chocolate mousse is a pretty classic Valentine’s Day treat, but this version isn’t just rich and creamy, it’s also really good for you. And the best part — it takes just 15 minutes of prep. The author suggests adding chia seeds, and while they do add extra fiber and nutrients, we’d honestly recommend leaving them out just because they’ll detract from the texture (who wants a chunky mousse?). Otherwise, this is an excellent recipe for a velvety Paleo treat.
This dessert is so unbelievably simple: It requires just four ingredients (although you’re welcome to toss in a handful of raisins or other dried fruit!), and it’s unbelievably smooth and rich. Custard is one of those dishes that can feel intimidating to make, but the truth is, it just takes a long time to cook in the oven and then cool (45 minutes and three hours, respectively). But if you like to prep dessert in advance — even a day ahead — it’s a great option.
Read next: 5 Creamy & Luscious Avocado Desserts
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