If you’ve made the decision to eliminate gluten from your diet (or been required to for health reasons), then you may have discovered that dessert options for the non-gluten-inclined seem few and far between. Grocery stores and bakeries are rife with baked goods, but often light on gluten-free varieties. Dear readers, take heart! Going gluten-free does not mean going dessert-free for the rest of your life.
In fact, there are loads of gluten-free desserts options out there. And the best news? Gluten-free folk can have our dessert and eat it too — all without compromising on our health. Check out our list of 62 healthy recipes for gluten-free desserts, and tell your taste buds “you’re welcome”.
Cakes and PiesPhoto: Caroline Edwards / Chocolate & Carrots
1. Chocolate Cupcakes
Who says sugar is the only way to satisfy a sweet tooth? This recipe is free of added sugars. Instead, stevia and coconut oil bring the sweet, while cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peanut butter, and espresso powder contribute a range of flavors to these bites of gluten-free goodness.
2. Lemon Polenta Cake
Almond flour and polenta form the base for this melt-in-your-mouth confection. The recipe calls for a substantial amount of butter and sugar, so it may not be the healthiest recipe out there — but the whole ingredients help establish this cake as a healthier option. If you’re interested in cutting back on the butter and sugar, it’s easy to try some simple, healthier substitutions.
3. Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake
We know garbanzo beans (the common source of the culinary delight known as hummus) might not be the first thing you reach for when dreaming of chocolate cake. But hear this recipe out: It’s high in protein, relatively low in sugar, and (perhaps unexpectedly) delicious.
4. Angel Food Cake
If it’s good enough for the angels, it’s good enough for us. The list of (almost exclusively) dry ingredients, which includes cream of tartar, rice flour, and potato starch, seems to magically transform into moist, fat-free, melt-in-your mouth cake that’s fit for the heavens (or at least a summer potluck). Top it with fresh fruit for extra vitamins and nutrients.
5. Bananas Foster Loaf Cake
Now a person can be dairy-free and gluten free and have a cake and eat it too (whoa). Several large bananas contribute vitamins C and B6 as well as carotenoids. Mix ‘em up with some gluten-free flour (the recipe calls for a specific brand, but feel free to use any mix) and a few other pantry staples to make a moist, banana-bread-esque cake in under an hour.
6. Blueberry Pudding Cake
It’s a pudding! It’s a cake! It’s both at the same time — and it’s probably best to have a napkin handy when it comes time to eat. Almond meal, soy milk, egg whites, and blueberries (a superfood rich in vitamin C and antioxidants) combine with some gluten-free pantry staples to make a deliciously weird concoction.
7. Chocolate Panna Cotta
Even if you never make this recipe, follow this link to drool over the photo. Do it; do it now! This gorgeous panna cotta is made with nothing but almond milk, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, coconut oil, agave nectar, and just a bit of agar agar (a vegan thickening agent). It’s low in fat and sugar and high in deliciousness.
8. Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pie
This beautiful pie looks like a burst of sunshine cradled in a gluten-free crust. Work up an appetite whisking together eggs, cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Add in a lemon mixture and some cream and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous, light, gluten-free pie.
9. Key Lime Avocado Pie
Bravo to the avocado! Shredded coconut, dates, and macadamia nuts lend sweetness and crunch to balance out the smooth superfood, which is a great source of carotenoids, vitamins E and B6, and healthy fats. The result is one of the greenest — and cheeriest — pies we’ve ever seen.
10. Raw Berry Blueberry Pie & Pudding
Here’s another interesting take on pudding. Strawberries, blueberries, and chia seeds pack this dessert with super nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamin C (from the berries) and more antioxidants and healthy fats (from the chia seeds). Bonus: This six-ingredient confection is free of not only gluten, but also soy, dairy, grains, eggs, granulated sugar, and yeast. It’s a dessert virtually anyone can eat!
11. Chocolate Hazelnut Blender Pie
This one’s for all the lazy chefs out there. Simply toss all the ingredients (yes, all of ‘em) in a blender, pour the mixture into a greased pie plate, and bake for 40-60 minutes before enjoying this coconutty, chocolately vegan delight. It’s low in fat and sugar (thanks to the use of vegan margarine and agave nectar), relatively high in protein (thanks to several organic eggs), and packs some healthy fats thanks to a heaping cup of hazelnuts.
12. Yogurt Tartlets
Even though the recipe calls for maple syrup, eggs, yogurt, and oats, this ain’t no breakfast buffet. Instead, it’s the makings for incredibly adorable, smooth and creamy tartlets jam-packed with health foods and with a cherry on top (or strawberry — your choice).
13. Crepes: No longer will gluten-free folk be excluded from enjoying a classic brunch. These dairy-free, gluten-free crepes are made from surprisingly few ingredients, including eggs, soy milk, corn starch, and a few other pantry staples — all of which add up to a low-sugar, low-fat meal. Have the friends over on Sunday and see if they can tell the difference.
14. Flourless Honey-Almond Cake
Honey and almonds lend wholesome sweetness and flavor to this simple cake. Although honey is undeniably sugary, it boasts numerous health benefits, such as antibacterial properties. Almonds are considered a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and other minerals and nutrients. Take this cake for a spin with afternoon tea or serve it as a lighter, warm-weather dessert.
15. Spicy Cherry-Chocolate Soufflés
Speaking of cherries: The superfood (which is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects) takes on a starring role in these flavorful little soufflés. Coconut sugar (and coconut rum!) add sweetness to balance out the cherry’s tartness and enhance the soufflés’ chocolately flavor.