In stressful times (particularly, ahem, all of 2020), there are few things more soothing than a homemade dessert. Whether you’re partial to chocolate chip cookies, mochi, or sweet potato pie, just a bite can feel like a hug on a tense day.
Sometimes, a moment of calm (or joy) is all you’re looking for in a dessert, and that’s 100 percent okay. But if you’re personally looking to get anti-inflammatory benefits in every meal, you might have assumed that a traditional dessert might not be for you. But it’s a total misconception that in order for a dessert to taste good, it has to be made with ingredients that aren’t exactly beneficial for long-term health. (Nor does an anti-inflammatory dessert begin and end with fruit.)
As proof, we combed the internet to share 10 anti-inflammatory desserts that are made without refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, or refined flour. (They are also all dairy-free, as dairy can cause inflammation in some people.) Ready to get baking?
10 anti-inflammatory desserts to make at home
Chocolate and peanut butter are the John Legend and Chrissy Teigen of dessert pairings: sweet and beloved by all. This recipe for chocolate peanut butter bonbons doesn’t have any sugar or additives whatsoever. (Honey is used to add additional sweetness.) Puffed rice adds a nice little crunch, too.
Get the recipe: Chocolate peanut butter bonbons
This dessert is made with ingredients that actively work to keep inflammation away. The starring ingredient is turmeric, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices in the pantry. It’s combined with coconut flour, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, and chocolate chips to make a batch of no-bake bars.
Get the recipe: No-bake turmeric bars
These apricot lemon bars are yet another anti-inflammatory dessert that makes the most out of turmeric. They’re more tangy than sweet, making them the perfect dessert for those who don’t like anything overly saccharine. Made with oats and chia seeds, they have the added benefit of being high in fiber, too.
Get the recipe: No-bake apricot turmeric lemon bars
It just wouldn’t be right to go through fall without enjoying at least one slice of warm apple pie. (We need all the simple pleasures life has to offer this year, right?) This recipe gives an easy way to make good use of your apple-picking haul without using sugar, butter, or white flour. The crust is made with walnuts and rolled oats, adding fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
Get the recipe: Vegan apple tart with walnut crust
Black bean brownies may sound like a dinner dish gone wrong, but this recipe will make a believer out of you. The secret to sweetening them up without refined sugar is using coconut milk, coconut sugar, and cacao powder. The fiber and protein in the beans work to help keep blood sugar levels steady, too.
Get the recipe: Black bean brownies
PSA: You can absolutely make a thick, decadent cheesecake without using any dairy whatsoever. In this recipe, soaked cashew nuts and coconut milk are used to give the bars a rich, creamy texture. Blueberry jam, maple syrup, and vanilla extract provide just enough sweetness without making the dessert taste too tart.
Get the recipe: No-bake lemon blueberry cheesecake bars
This dessert looks fancy, but it’s a cinch to make. One layer is made of blended baked sweet potatoes while the other alternating layers are a blend of coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Top with shredded coconut, grab a spoon, and dig in!
Get the recipe: Sweet potato and coconut chia pudding
Ginger is another common pantry spice that’s a powerful inflammation-fighter and is the starring ingredient in this cookie recipe. (There’s turmeric in there too, which ups the anti-inflammatory factor even more.) Pair them with a mug of hot herbal tea for the perfect pre-bedtime snack.
Get the recipe: Ginger spice cookies
The brownies don’t taste like hummus—promise! The secret is blending them with almond butter and a few key pantry staples (vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, and maple syrup). The end result is a high-protein blondie that’s smooth, creamy, and just sweet enough.
Get the recipe: Chickpea brownies
10. Birthday cake
The ultimate anti-inflammatory dessert challenge has to be birthday cake. After all, the stakes are high. But this recipe nails it. It’s low-sugar, grain-free, but still delivers on that classic birthday cake taste. The “cake” is a mixture of oat flour, almond flour, and eggs, which are blended together for a moist-yet-fluffy texture. The frosting is a mixture of coconut milk and vanilla extract; it’s truly all you need to sweeten it up. Even without the candles, this dessert is on fire.
Get the recipe: Birthday cake
See recipes for more anti-inflammatory desserts in Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group.
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