If you have already established a larder packed with vegan-friendly substitutions (including quinoa, legumes, seeds and nuts) and a shelf full of vegan cookbooks, then you might just be looking to find some additional inspiration for healthy desserts.
If, however, you are new to Veganism or are preparing a vegan meal for a friend or loved one, you might be longing to find a straightforward recipe that uses up some basics around the kitchen, rather than requiring an expensive trip to the shops!
As you will see from my selection below of vegan baking recipes, I'm all about the idea of easy cooking and simple ingredients.
The recipes all still look and taste as delicious as the full fat versions.
What's more, you can impress guests at your summer BBQ by cooking dessert free from animal products at the barbecue itself! Scroll to the end for said recipe and more information on the method (just make sure no meat has been cooked on the same grill beforehand!). Here are some of our favourite nutritious, plant-based desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth!
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Vegan Food Essentials
First-time vegans may not be familiar with the vast range of meatless foods that can help to add protein, flavour and texture to their dishes. Moreover, some people who have attempted a diet change may have given up because they found food boring and fell out of love with eating. Here is a handy guide to some of the best food types to keep in your house to keep making delicious recipes for you, your friends and your family!
Namely lentils and chickpeas - lentils are great to add to soups and salads while chickpeas can go into pasta dishes and stews.
Grains, like brown and white rice, quinoa, and bulgar, offer nutrition, texture, flavour.
Tempeh is a great source of protein.
Tofu is essential for any vegan kitchen.
Almonds, pine nuts and cashews are good to keep handy and whole or chopped nuts can be put in salads and grain dishes.
Raisins, dried apricots, and dates are perfect for snacking and for adding flavour to cooked dishes.
Keep light and dark miso paste in the refrigerator as they can make excellent soup and dressings for salad.
Coconut oil is very versatile and can be used to sear food, to add into dishes or it can be used for baking.
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener and can be used for baking, making dressing and glazes, or for eating with vegan pancakes (see recipes below).
Ground flax seeds
Flax seeds are super nutritious and loaded with fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids. Stir them in oats, add them to muffin recipes (they are a great egg replacement) or mix them into smoothies to get their goodness.
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10 Vegan Baking Recipes For Parties (Or Just For You!)
Here are ten recipes that use straightforward ingredients, suitable for any vegetarian or vegan diet.
1. Vegan tiffin
• 75g coconut oil, plus extra for the tin
• 200g vegan dark chocolate
(at least 70%), roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp golden syrup
• 200g vegan ginger nuts
• 100g dried cranberries
• 50g pistachios, toasted and chopped
1. Lightly oil a 20cm square brownie tin with coconut oil and line the base with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and golden syrup in the microwave in 30-second bursts until smooth and glossy.
2. Break the ginger nuts into small pieces in a bowl, then add the dried cranberries and pistachios. Scrape in the chocolate mixture and give everything a good mix to combine, then spoon the tiffin into the tin. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the top and press it down, then chill in the fridge for 2 hrs or until set hard. Once set, cut into 25 mini squares. Will keep for a week in the fridge.
Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food.
2. Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding
Quite possibly the most iconic British pudding around, up there with Jam Roly Poly, Bread and Butter Pudding and Spotted Dick, Sticky Toffee Pudding is a very moist sponge cake traditionally made with dates and toffee.
This lighter version of sticky toffee pudding contains all the main ingredients, such as dates and spices, yet it additionally offers the juicy texture of poached pears. A crowd-pleaser at any dinner party, your guests will be shocked to find out that this is a fully vegan-friendly recipe!
As well as being dairy and egg free, this delicious dessert has just 27g fat and 2g saturates. Sugars come in at 75g meanwhile salt is low with 0.9g per serving.
Though it may sound disgustingly healthy for a rich pudding, don't be fooled. This sweet dish still comes in at over 600kcal per serving!
You can find the full recipe for this on BBC Good Food.
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3. Avocado strawberry ices
Avocado and strawberry? Together?? Indeed.
These super yummy frozen dishes are easy to make and are completely free of dairy or egg. The avocado, which is often referred to as a superfood, replaces the dairy element usually found in ice-creams and frozen yoghurts meanwhile the natural sweetness of the strawberries is brought out by pairing them with balsamic vinegar.
With avocados being packed full of good fat, this summer's dessert has 7g of fat per portion. Meanwhile, there is less than 5g of saturates, carbs, sugars, fibre, protein and salt in each serving, with the number of calories totalling 94.
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit BBC Good Food.
4. Banana bread
• 8 very ripe bananas
• 3/4 cup (252g) maple syrup
• 1/3 cup (76g) coconut oil (melt if it’s cold and hard)
• 1 cup (250ml) unsweetened plain almond milk
• 1/4 cup (43g) chia seeds
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup (126g) millet flour (buy, or make your own by grinding 1 cup whole millet in blender until fine flour forms)
• 1 cup (169g) rice flour (buy, or make your own as per millet directions above)
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 2 cups (186g) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 140-160 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, mash 6 bananas until smooth. Stir in remaining wet ingredients; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except coconut. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; stir until fully combined. Stir in coconut.
4. Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf tins, smoothing out tops. Top each loaf with slices of remaining 2 bananas. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Store loaves well-covered in the fridge.
Recipe courtesy of Vegan Society
• 110g plain flour (
20g cocoa powder (0.7oz - 1⁄4 cup)
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• 10g desiccated coconut (0.3oz - 2 tbsp)
• 80g brown sugar (6.3oz - 1 cup)
• 50g golden syrup (1.7oz - 2 tbsp)
• 120g soy milk (4.2oz - 1⁄2 cup)
• 15 drops vanilla extract
1. To begin with, preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
2. Sift the flour, the cocoa powder, and the baking powder into a bowl.
3. Add the coconut, the sugar, the syrup, the milk and the vanilla into the bowl, and whisk the ingredients to combine them, and complete the batter.
4. Pour the batter into a greased 20 centimetres (8 inches) round pan, and bake the brownies for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, remembering to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time.
5. Before removing the brownies from the oven, pierce them with a toothpick to ensure that they are cooked. If they are, the pick will come out dry and with no mixture on it.
Recipe courtesy of Vegan Society.
6. Enchanted vanilla pancakes
Pancakes don't have to be simply for Shrove Tuesday. They are also so versatile - you can have sweet or savoury pancakes for breakfast, topped pancakes for lunch, or you can have pancakes with fruit as an easy pudding. Instead of the usual egg and flour recipe, though, these enchanted pancakes are packed with the power of beans and whole-grain. But what to have with them? Try them with fresh fruit (as part of your 5 a day) or a chai-spiced peach compote.
Why are beans such a superfood?
According to WebMD, "Beans are comparable to meat when it comes to calories, [...] But they really shine in terms of fiber and water content, two ingredients that make you feel fuller, faster. Adding beans to your diet helps cut calories without feeling deprived."
Real vanilla beans are very aromatic and can be prepared by finely chopping the beans and infusing them using alcohol. Alternatively, the beans are bruised and infused in milk or cream for sweet puddings.
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit the Vegan Society website here. You'll also find lots of other delicious vegan cooking ideas.
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7. Lemon cake
The freshness of a lemon cake is perfect any time of year. Enjoyed in the summer with a gin and tonic or gobbled up in the winter with a cup of tea. One of the best things about this vegan recipe is the smell given off by the grated lemon zest - it all adds to the flavour!
BrainFacts.org explains how taste and smell are intertwined:
"Taste and smell are separate senses with their own receptor organs, yet they are intimately entwined. Tastants, chemicals in foods, are detected by taste buds, which consist of special sensory cells. When stimulated, these cells send signals to specific areas of the brain, which make us conscious of the perception of taste."
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit The Vegan Society.
8. Deep dish vegan apple pie
• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
• 2 Tbsp vegan granulated sugar
• 2 Tbsp white vinegar
• Fine salt
• 1 cup unrefined virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil
• 8 - 10 ice water
• 4 lb(s) mixed apples (8 or 9), such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and McIntosh
• ⅔ cup vegan granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 4 Tbsp unrefined virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil
• 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon or apple-pie spice
• ¼ tsp fine salt
• 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond or soy
1. Put the flour, sugar, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the coconut oil in small spoonfuls, and pulse until the largest pieces are pea-size. Add 8 tablespoons ice water, and pulse until evenly combined. Squeeze a handful of the dough together; it should just hold its shape. If the mixture is very powdery, pulse in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water. Divide the dough between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap, pat each into a 1/2-inch thick discs and chill for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
1. Meanwhile, peel and core the apples; cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss with the sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the firmer apples soften but hold their shape, about 12 minutes. Add the flour, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely. (The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
2. To assemble: To make rolling easier, let the dough soften a bitit should be slightly soft when pressedat room temperature (this may take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen). Roll 1 disc of dough out into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of floured parchment or wax paper. If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate it to firm it up. Ease the crust into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan. Add the cooled filling, mounding it slightly in the center.
3. Roll out the remaining dough disc into a 12-inch round; place it over the filling, and press the 2 crusts together around the edges. Fold the overhanging dough under itself, and crimp as desired. Brush the top and edges with the almond milk, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Pierce the top with a knife (or make decorative cutouts) a few times to let steam escape. Chill for at least 1 hour.
4. Position an oven rack in the lowest position in the oven, place a baking sheet on the rack and preheat to 425ºF; preheat for at least 30 minutes. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet, and lower the oven to 375ºF. Bake until the pie is golden and the filling is bubbly, 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, rotating as needed. (Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.) Transfer to a rack, and cool until set, about 3 hours.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network.
9. Healthy blueberry mini muffins
Muffins are a great pick-me-up when you're feeling slobbish, but they don't have to be a naughty treat. You can indulge in some fruity blueberry muffins when you're in need of an energy boost, without the guilt! Being smaller in size and packed with the goodness of this super-fruit, you can help yourself to as many of these mini muffins as you wish!
For the full list of ingredients and cooking method, visit Food Network.
10. Barbecued pineapple
• 1 fresh pineapple
• 4 tablespoons rum
• 4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Peel the pineapple and, leaving it whole, cut out the centre core. Slice into 8 rings, and place them in a shallow glass dish or resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, mix together rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Pour over the pineapple, cover, chill for 1 hour, or overnight.
2. Preheat barbecue for high heat.
3. Cook pineapple rings on cooking grate over hot coals hot for 15 minutes, turning once, or until outside is dry and chargrilled. Serve with remaining marinade.
Recipe courtesy of All Recipes.
Going Vegan For Lent
Now that you have taken the time to look into vegan baking dishes, why not think about switching to a vegan diet for Lent? As you have probably gathered by now, it's actually quite a sweet deal!
Going vegan for Lent doubles up as a great excuse to have a healthier lifestyle while still being allowed a piece of chocolate (vegan, of course!) or an irresistible pudding, instead of simply eliminating sweet things from your diet like many people choose to do in the run up to Easter.
Having seen these mouth-wateringly delicious recipes, you'll no doubt agree that going vegan seems a bit of a cheat's way to give up something for Lent, but why not eat healthy yet still enjoy your food this holiday?
What Are The Benefits Of Veganism?
Adopting a vegan diet offers a range of health benefits, and one bonus is that those turning to veganism find that it helps them to get into shape and lose weight.
The need to avoid meat and animal products means that, as a result, you are taking more of some nutrients.
To replace these animal-derived products, vegans must rely on other foods to fill that hole which may include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, seeds and nuts.
This diet can, in turn, improve kidney function and lower blood sugar levels to put a stop to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Another significant health benefit is the protection that experts say veganism can give you against certain cancers. According to the World Health Organisation, as many as one third of cancers could be prevented by factors in your control such as your diet and lifestyle. Take, for example, colorectal cancer, which could be reduced by eating legumes on a regular basis.
However, nutritionists advise eating seven portions of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish per day to lower your risk of contracting and dying from any cancer. As you can expect, a vegan is more likely to consume this higher proportion of plant-based food and so it could be argued that veganism could help you live longer.
Aside from illnesses like cancer, heart disease is a health issue that nobody wants to be faced with. Eating fresh fruits, legumes, vegetables and fibre are linked to maintaining a healthy heart and so could lower your risk of getting heart disease. Some food experts have revealed that vegans could be as much as 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
A Vegan diet can, as we see, really put your health on a better track but it can also make you happier and more comfortable in the process. For instance, this diet choice can have positive effects on people suffering from arthritis.
What's more, plant-based diets can help to shed a few extra pounds! Studies show that many vegans have a lower body mass index than meat-eaters.
More Vegan Food Ideas To Whet Your Appetite
If the above recipes don't inspire and you want some more challenging baking ideas to recreate, then why not try searching for show-stopping homemade vegan dessert recipes. Just some examples of dishes that will wow your loved ones or visitors are;
- zesty lime cheesecake,
- tangy lemon cupcakes,
- dairy free cream with granola,
- vegan choc chip cookies,
- hazelnut brownies, fruit salad,
- vegan chocolate cake,
- banana topped with caramel and pecan nuts
- or a heartwarming fruit pie with vegan cream.
For easy vegan recipes to suit any type of dinner or party, take a look at these 10 Vegan Recipes That Will Turn Heads.
Savoury vegan meal and sides ideas include:
- curried stews,
- one pot Mexican casserole,
- pecan bread, bean soup,
- sundried tomato bruschetta,
- pumpkin pie,
- black bean burritos,
- vegan mac and cheese,
- bean burgers,
- chickpea curry, noodle salad,
- portobello mushroom wellington,
- crispy tofu with peanut sauce and garlicky dried tomato with spaghetti.
You see, there are so many options out there. Following a plant based diet doesn't mean you miss out on sweet treats!