I have a vicious sweet tooth. My favourite juices of ours are the ones that have watermelon as the key ingredient, like The Hydrator. I also know that white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other highly refined sweeteners are not ingredients that I want to consume or have my family consume. As a result, I have been searching for and testing sweet delicious recipes that do not contain refined sugar for the past ten years.
Now not only do I want my desserts to taste sweet and rich without the sugar, I want my snacks to taste like dessert too. I’m not alone in this. Grocery aisle shelves are filled with granola bars with four kinds of sugar. Chocolate covered granola bars filled with chocolate chips and marshmallows aren’t promoting anyone’s wellbeing. However, it is fantastic when snacks can be healthy AND taste delicious. Here are three dessert worthy snacks that we are currently eating in our home.
In addition to being refined-sugar free, all three recipes are also gluten free, vegan, raw, and contain no industrial oils.
Chia Seed Pudding
Chia Seed Pudding is quick and easy. It can be made ahead of time. It can be frozen and thawed later. It works for a quick breakfast, a base for seeds, nuts, and fruit for lunch, or as an awesome snack.
We highly suggest using freshly made nut mylk. You can make your own or, of course, buy it from us. Store-bought nut mylks are thinner, have less flavour, and are filled with thickeners and preservatives. Freshly made almond or walnut mylk is thick, creamy, and full of flavour. Nut free alternatives are mylks made with sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, coconut, or oats.
The chia seeds thicken into a gel or pudding texture with the mylk. We often sweeten ours with maple syrup to make it dessert-like, but would skip the maple syrup if we are adding a pile of nuts and dried fruit at breakfast or lunch. As Tim talked about in his introduction video to this challenge, the ingredient “sugar” is different from the sugar that naturally occurs in various foods. Maple syrup is very sweet and contains a lot of naturally occurring sugar without having sugar as an ingredient. Choose a sweetness level that works for your tastebuds and your health and wellness goals.
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup nut mylk- if store bought, make sure it is unsweetened.
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Step by Step:
- In a wide bowl, stir all three ingredients together with a whisk.
- Let sit 5 minutes, then stir again.
- Let sit 15 minutes or so until it thickens up.
Easy, right? You can add nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruit to the top. Quick, easy, and delicious.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls
This recipe isn’t actually ours at all. It is from one of my go-to sources for fantastic plant-based food, the Oh She Glows blog. Angela Liddon has written two cookbooks (with a third on the way), has an app, and shares a collection of hundreds of plant-based recipes on her blog. They are strenuously tested, super reliable, and always incredible.
These energy balls are full of rich, indulgent, good for you, ingredients. Smooth almonds and sweet medjool dates make up the base. Dried cherries, pecans, and dark chocolate chips with a pinch of salt finish it off. We use one specific brand of chocolate chips to keep this recipe refined sugar free- Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolaty Premium Baking Chips. They are sweetened with stevia extract.
When you price out the ingredients, your jaw may drop. These are treat-worthy snacks- indulgent ingredients, indulgent price tag.
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 2/3 cup lightly packed pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 3-4 tbsp dark chocolate chips (remember to check the ingredients!)
- 1/4 cup raw pecans
- 1 or 2 pinches fine sea salt, to taste.
Step by Step available on the Oh She Glows blog here.
Mint Chip Smoothie
This smoothie is cold, sweet, and tastes very much like mint chocolate chip ice cream. It is the plant-based, nutrient rich, sugar free version of a classic summer treat. Our Mint Chip Smoothie is inspired by the one at The Juice Truck, one of our favourite Vancouver spots.
Water and hemp seeds make the base for this smoothie, which makes it friendly for those with nut allergies. Mint and cacao nibs give it the namesake flavours, banana sweetens it up and spirulina powder brings in super nutrients and a distinct green colour. Blend the cacao nibs at the end for just a couple seconds to make them “chips” rather than fully blended into the whole smoothie.
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 and 1/2 bananas
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 1/2 tsp organic mint flavour
- 1/4 tsp spirulina powder
- 2 TBSP cacao nibs
Step by Step:
- In a high powered blender, add the hemp seeds and 200 mL water. Then add frozen banana, mint leaves, mint flavour, and spirulina powder. Blend until well mixed.
- Add the cacao nibs and blend at high speed for 6 or 7 seconds. You want the cacao nibs to become smaller “chips” without blending too finely into the whole smoothie.