Looking for some better-for-you treats this February? We’ll let you in on a little secret: making traditional baking vegan can simplify and health-ify the process. Instead of using traditional ingredients like eggs and butter, heart-healthy alternatives including beans, flax, chia and olive oil can be used.
Choosing whole grain flours, modest amounts of natural sweeteners and plenty of heart-friendly ingredients like oats, walnuts and berries is a surefire way to turn a beloved treat into something you can indulge in without guilt.
Easy Tahini Freezer Fudge
Like other nuts and seeds, sesame seeds contain phytosterols, which are known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
If you want to try something extra special, drizzle these squares with some melted dark chocolate.
3/4 cup (180 mL) tahini
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) cocoa
3 Tbsp (45 mL) coconut oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Line standard 8 1/2 in by 4 1/2 in (22 x 12 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine tahini, cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup in heatproof bowl and melt over pot of simmering water, stirring to combine. Pour into prepared pan and place in freezer for 30 minutes, or until set.
Slice into squares and garnish with pinch of sea salt. Serve from frozen.
Each serving contains: 78 calories; 2 g protein; 7 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 3 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 1 g fiber); 19 g sodium
Walnut Raspberry Jam Thumbprints
Heart-healthy ingredients like whole wheat flour, oats and olive oil easily replace the typical white flour and butter often found in this classic cookie.
1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
3/4 cup (180 mL) whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup
1/3 cup (80 mL) walnuts, ground
2 Tbsp (30 mL) raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grind oats in blender until coarse flour is formed. In medium bowl, combine oat flour with whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In separate bowl, combine vanilla, oil and maple syrup. Add wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined.
Form balls out of 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sized scoops and roll in ground walnuts. Place balls on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Gently create a divot in each ball with the tip of your finger. Spoon about 1/2 tsp (2 mL) jam into center of each cookie. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
Each serving contains: 164 calories; 4 g protein; 9 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 19 g total carbohydrates (6 g sugars, 2 g fiber); 47 g sodium
Chickpea Chocolate Chunk Blondies
Adding beans to your baking is a great way to increase the fiber and include a cholesterol-lowering element in your desserts.
1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup (60 mL) just-boiled water
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 mL) maple syrup
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp (15 mL) water
1/2 cup (125 mL) almond butter or other nut butter
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line 8 in (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper.
Soak dates in just-boiled water for at least 15 minutes.
Add dates, their soaking water and all remaining ingredients except chocolate to high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Once smooth, stir in chocolate and spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
Chill bars before slicing. Best served cold.
Each serving contains: 192 calories; 4 g protein; 11 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 19 g total carbohydrates (10 g sugars, 3 g fiber); 95 g sodium