Magazine Recipes

Sweet! 31 Refined Sugar Free Vegan Dessert Recipes

By Lora O’Brien

It’s well known that most of us in the developed world are full-on sugar addicts. Americans currently consume a whopping 150-170 pounds of sugar a year, more than three times the amount recommended by the USDA. And that’s just white sugar – it’s even more when you add hidden sugars corn syrup, glucose and fructose. The worst thing is: you may not even know you’re eating sugar. It’s hidden in all kinds of foods you’d never guess, including peanut butter, salad dressing, pickles, soup, and sometimes even in baby food!

Eating too sweet has some unsavoury consequences: apart from obesity and diabetes, sugar is now linked to Crohn’s disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, depression, tooth decay, hormonal disruption, elevated triglyceride levels (which can lead to heart disease), and even cancer. It’s also been noted by psychiatrists that sugar acts like an addictive drug on the brain. High fructose corn syrup is the worst offender, and it’s hidden in a lot of common foods from breads and cereals to sushi.

Some may substitute brown sugar or honey thinking it’s better than white sugar, but in terms of their glycemic index (GI), they’re really not much better, especially if eaten in large quantities. Even worse, many dieters turn to aspartame, saccharin, Splenda, Truvia or Purvia – but you should know that these have all been linked to cancer and tumors. Luckily, there are some good, healthy sugar substitutes, though, including these, below.

Brown Rice Syrup

Though it has glucose, rice syrup breaks down relatively slowly, providing more of a time-release energy flow than sugar does. Unlike sugar, this rice derivative contains magnesium, manganese, and zinc. With its distinct flavor, brown rice syrup works better in baked goods than in coffee and tea.

Maple Syrup

Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or below are considered to be low glycemic foods. Pure maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54 – that’s low! To compare, pure honey has an index of 58 and white sugar weighs in at 65. Just be sure to buy 100% pure maple syrup- this is much different than products labelled “breakfast”, “maple flavoured” or “pancake” syrup.

Stevia

Because it’s about 300 times sweeter than sugar, stevia is potent in minute quantities, but has zero calories. As an added bonus, it may even help lower blood sugar levels. Although it’s great in hot drinks and cold or raw foods, you can’t cook with it, and some claim it has a strong anais taste. Note: Truvia and Purevia are NOT the same as Stevia; they are actually believed to be potentially dangerous chemicals, much like aspartame.

Xylitol

Derived from the birch tree, this is just about the perfect sweetener. It’s great for baking, in cold foods and in hot drinks, and unlike sugar, it may even protect teeth from decay.

Lacuma powder

This trendy new sweetener comes from a Peruvian fruit that has a creamy, citrus flavour. The powder itself is rich in Vitamins B1, B2 and C and calcium and it won’t lose its caramel flavour if cooked.

Unfortunately, not many people are aware of these facts and options – and for a long time, neither was I, until I started reading up on nutrition.

Besides throwing the obvious culprits like cakes, cookies and candies out of your diet, the best thing you can do to reduce your sugar intake is probably learning cook your own food from scratch – that way you know exactly what you’re eating and avoid the hidden sugars commonly lurking in processed and packaged foods.

It can be especially difficult to create desserts that are sugar free, so to help you on your way, I’ve scoured the net for these 30 Refined Sugar Free Vegan Dessert Recipes. But if you really want to kick sugar for good, consider these to be ‘transitional’ snacks that will help you eventually kick the habit forever.

1. Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Chocoate Cups

These are incredibly decadent yet super easy to whip up when the sweet tooth strikes! The homemade chocolate melts on the tongue, whilst the raw vegan cookie dough filling is just the right amount of sweetness, whilst being both dense and fudge-like in texture. Not only are they refined sugar free, they’re also gluten-free, too!

Get the recipe here.

Sugar Free Vegan Dessert Recipes

2. Vegan Baked Donuts

These vegan donuts are actually sweetened with – surprise! – Medjool dates, and there are lots of ways to dust these bad boys. Blitz date or coconut sugar in a blender for a similar texture to icing sugar, or powdered cinnamon also works well.

Get the recipe here.

3. Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

You can imagine the volume of sugar that goes into a traditional cheesecake recipe, but this one has been stripped of sugar. The crust is made from cashews and pitted dates, whereas coconut oil and coconut butter help to bind this recipe. A small amount of maple syrup is used to add a little sweetness, but compared to the cups of sugar used in a traditional recipe – this is heaps healthier!

Get the recipe here.

4. Maple Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

You may consider muffins a treat, but they don’t have to be laden with sugar or deemed ‘naughty’ – not with recipes like this! Pumpkin puree gives these muffins their wonderful dense texture, whilst coconut sugar adds sweetness. These muffins make a great snack or even breakfast, and due to the fact there’s no refined sugar, you won’t experience a sugar high followed by a nasty slump! Try them with a dollop of apple butter, and you’re in heaven.

Get the recipe here.

5. Golden Power Bars

The base of these bars is made from bananas, flax seeds and oats. Turmeric gives them their wonderful golden hue whilst also giving a boost of antioxidants. They’re also loaded with nuts and seeds but can easily be altered if you fancy adding something else, such as raisins.

Get the recipe here.

6. Sugar Free Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake – as soon as you think about it, it’s like your trousers spontaneously go tighter, right? Well, ladies, you can now have your cake and eat it with ZERO guilt! This cake is ooey-gooey and super dense – almost like a cross between chocolate cake and a chocolate brownie.

Get the recipe here.

7. Refined Sugar Free Carrot Cake

When I saw this recipe, I just wanted to scream. I mean, is the Minimalist Baker some kind of witch? How can such deliciousness come from such healthy ingredients? To be fair, there’s 3/4c of coconut sugar in this, plus applesauce, but that’s not too bad for a whole cake, am I right?

Get the recipe here.

8. Apple & Cinnamon Scones

Fall may be over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the combination of sweet apples and cinnamon baked to absolute deliciousness in these vegan and gluten-free scones. They’re crispy on the outside whilst soft on the inside and topped with a delicate cinnamon glaze.

Get the recipe here.

9. No Bake Coconut Bars

Who doesn’t love a recipe with minimal ingredients and hardly any mess? These delicious bars have just 3 ingredients! These are just as rich as those much loved chocolatey brownies – but way, way healthier.

Get the recipe here.

10. Sugar-Free Cinnamon Rolls

There should be a love song dedicated to cinnamon rolls and a hot mug of coffee – the pairing is simply delicious! These cinnamon rolls are naturally sweetened from dates and a small amount of maple syrup is used to glaze them alongside the cinnamon.

Get the recipe here.

11. Fig Tart

How vibrant and fun does this fig tart look? It’s based on a healthified version of a custard tart, with a gluten-free crust and topped with jammy figs. This recipe uses unrefined sugar, but it’s also possible to make this entirely sugar-free if you don’t want any sweetness added.

Get the recipe here.

12. Tahini & Amaranth Energy Bars

These bars are super quick and easy to make, and yet superb for providing a boost of energy. The combination of sweet dates and nutty tahini works well (somewhat addictively so). Besides being  sugar free, they’re also really easy to make.

Get the recipe here.

13. Sugar Free Caramel Slice Bites

These provide just the perfect amount of sweetness you’d want from a dessert. They require no baking, are topped with a smooth and creamy caramel centre and then topped with silken chocolate.

Get the recipe here.

14. Strawberry Lime Cheesecake

This is pretty much a supermodel of a cheesecake! It’s insanely beautiful, no matter how you slice it, and it’s pretty much everything-free since its crust is made from crushed almonds and its base is created from strawberries, coconut oil and Macadamia nuts, as well as some agave syrup. Perfect for special occasions!

Get the recipe here.

15. Black Bean Brownies

Yep, it’s from HER again – the Minimalist Baker. I mean someone, please, give this woman a medal. Who else could make black beans look so damn tasty? (well, besides anyone good at Mexican food, that is). These have maple syrup and coconut sugar (half a cup in total) to bring the sweetness. Chocolate chips and date syrup are used for the topping, but if you really wanna quit sugar, you may want to skip those steps and just drizzle some almond butter on these instead.

Get the recipe here.

16. Rose Petal Dark Chocolate Bar

We all crave a little chocolate every now and then, and one way to control how much processed sugar goes into it is to make your own! And why not make it fancy as heck with this rose petal infused chocolate? There’s no added sugar and it’s sweetened from maca powder, which adds a subtle caramel flavour.

Get the recipe here.

17. Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bites

Who doesn’t love some ooey-gooey caramel? And it’s so easy to make using simple dates! Throw them into the blender and you’ve got yourself some caramel, courtesy of Mother Nature. Peanuts are added in and then they’re topped with chocolate to make it them even more delicious.

Get the recipe here.

18. Raw Vegan Snickers Bars

I used to live for a Snickers bar. The layers combine to work so well together. But they’re a chocolate treat that definitely feels naughty! Well, have your snickers and enjoy it with this raw vegan recipe that has just 6 ingredients in total – none of which are sugar!

Get the recipe here.

19. Orange Pecan Truffles

These ‘truffles’ are infused with orange zest and sweetened with dates, making these truffles a healthy snack or dessert. They’re then rolled in shredded coconut or chopped nuts. Or, why not go crazy and use both?

Get the recipe here.

20. Sweet Potato Brownie

The base of these brownies are sweet potatoes, but don’t think you’ll taste them. In fact, the sweet potatoes make this dessert incredibly moist, thick and gooey! This original recipe from Deliciously Ella is one of those which skyrocketed her to fame.

Get the recipe here.

21. Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

The good ol’ PB&B is a vegan toastie classic – and now you can get it in cookie form! The bananas provide enough sweetness, really, but there are options to use maple syrup and/or stevia. And if you really wanna go crazy, add some dark chocolate for a super tasting, easy-to-make treat!

Get the recipe here.

22. Almond Butter & Maca Fudge Squares

Using almond butter, coconut oil, desiccated coconut and a superfood powder, this fudge will make you forget all about the typically (painfully sweet!) butter and sugar confection. Plus, it comes with a bit of protein, and loads of antioxidants! 

Get the recipe here.

23. No Bake Fruit Tart

A sweet treat doesn’t need to be made from chocolate. Oh no, fruit can be just as delicious especially when the fruit you choose is in season and super juicy! The base of this beautiful fruit tart is made from pecan meal, and is sweetened with shredded coconut, almond butter and vanilla extract.

Get the recipe here.

24. Cherry & Tahini Energy Balls

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame, contains more protein than milk or even most nuts, while also being a good source of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron and calcium. Combined with cherry, these energy balls also pack a lot of protein! Cherries out of season? Try some freeze dried blueberries instead.

Get the recipe here.

25. Everything-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes that are healthy? What a time to be alive! These cupcakes are a dream if you’re catering for people as they’re free-from a lot of things. Example? Not only are they vegan and gluten-free, they’re also oil-free, sugar-free and nut-free and 100% delicious!

Get the recipe here.

26. No Bake Lemon Pie

Vegan and refined sugar-free are two qualities that are pretty hard to find in any lemon cream pie. So imagine my happiness when I discovered this recipe! Maple syrup adds the sweetness, as does the coconut cream used in the topping.

Get the recipe here.

27. Choc Mint Ice Cream Cakes

The filling of these cakes may look like something out of the sugariest bakery in town, but it’s actually made from a mixture of naturally sweet ingredients like cashews, coconut cream, banana and coconut butter. Fresh mint is used to give these a fresh flavour, and spinach can even be thrown in for a nutritional boost!

Get the recipe here.

28. Rainbow Fruit & Black Rice Parfait

Rice pudding is a much-loved dish, but one that can be packed with sugar! Well, this fun take on the popular dessert is super healthy and vibrant. It’s perfectly balanced with fruit and complex carbs and is a great recipe for using leftover ingredients you have hanging round the kitchen.

Get the recipe here.

29. Spicy Cherry-Poppy Seed Muffins

Perfect for breakfast, snacking or dessert, these spicy cherry-poppy seeds muffins are plant-based, gluten and oil-free and use absolutely no artificial sweeteners and are made using only whole ingredients. I can attest that they go amazingly well with some almond butter!

Get the recipe here.

30. Chocolate Mousse Recipe with Cauliflower

I can hear some of you gagging at the thought of this, but trust me! It totally works! You can’t even taste it, but the cauliflower adds a rich creaminess here. For reals! Carob and cocoa are used for the chocolatey flavour, whilst peanut butter and soy yogurt are used for added creaminess.

Get the recipe here.

31. Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake

Sooo pretty! Like little blue pearls atop cushiony clouds. That’s how I’d describe these little cheesecake pots, anyway. There’s virtually NO sugar in these, save the 1T brown sugar called for in the topping. But you know what? Sub in some lucuma powder and you’re good to go.

Get the recipe here.



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