For Healthier Desserts, Bring Out the Veggies
I think we've all had that childhood (or adult) desire to have ice cream for dinner. But veggies for dessert? It's something I had nightmares about as a kid.
That being said, the truth is that when properly prepared, veggies can easily star in desserts as the main ingredient. Especially when they're naturally sweet, like many members of the root vegetable family. Root vegetables actually developed a higher sugar content than their leafy green counterparts in order to help their odds of survival.
By storing energy (in the form of sugar) in the vessel of the root, it was possible to stockpile resources to be used for a later emergency. It's kind of like how I keep a tub of peanut butter in the garage just in case there's ever a zombie apocalypse. In both cases, whether you're a carrot staving off starvation, or a lone warrior struggling for mankind's survival, it helps to have a few extra meals set aside.
Thanks to their resourcefulness, carrots (and their high sugar content) make quite a scrumptious dessert, as you can see below.
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of chocolate sauce (optional)
- Heat butter in a sauce pan, and then add in maple syrup.
- Stir, adding in carrots.
- Cover and leave on low heat for 15 minutes, or until carrots are soft to the touch.
- Serve, with a drizzle of chocolate (optional).
It's no wonder that beets can be used to make sugar, given how naturally sweet they are. Their natural flavor and vibrant color make them a natural addition to the dessert world. These particular tarts use a very easy recipe, with many of the ingredients brought to you from the pre-made section of the grocery store aisle.
- 1 pre-made pie crust
- ½ can of sliced beets
- 1 container of vanilla pudding or custard
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut the pie crust so that it can be fit to a muffin tin (using a drinking class as a cookie cutter on the pie crust should get you the right size).
- If available, place weights in the crusts so that the bottoms don't become concave as they bake. (If you don't have weights, it's not the end of the world, but it will make it a little more challenging to follow the remaining directions.)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is crispy. Remove from oven.
- Allow to cool (20 minutes).
- Place about ½ to 1 teaspoon of the custard in the crust.
- Arrange the beets on top of the custard, adding any leftover custard on top, if you so desire.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour, and serve cold.
There is no denying the versatility of eggplant. These crispy eggplant stars have the texture of a something half sugar cookie and half pancake. The flavor makes me think of baklava. They're easy to make too!
- One medium eggplant
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup flour
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips.
- Next, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the eggplant strips.
- Place the cutouts into a bowl and pour in milk until about half the cutouts are covered.
- Stir, coating all cutouts.
- Flour the cutouts and place onto a cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with honey.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges brown.
- Remove from oven, and if desired, add a second layer of honey.
- Enjoy these tasty and crispy eggplant bites!