Today marks the final installment of our series on how to include more vegetables into your diet. So far we’ve looked at breakfast dishes, we’ve covered at main meals, and today we will be focusing on sweets and snacks. Vegetables are arguably a little easier to sneak into main meals than what they are into sweets dishes, but there are a bunch of great recipes out there that have managed to include vegetables where you would least expect them, with fantastic (and delicious!) results.
By using a combination of whole grain flours (or subbing the grains completely for coconut flour or almond meal), healthy fats and vegetables, as well as some cleverly incorporated vegetables, you can easily have a sweet that’s actually quite healthy. There are plenty of simple, quick, and cheap options out there to suit all diets and please even the pickiest eaters. For example, my Chocolate Zucchini Pudding – healthy enough to eat for breakfast but also a great dessert to serve when you want to impress your dinner guests – contains ingredients most people would normally stock in their fridge or pantry and comes together in minutes, quicker in fact than what it takes to make traditional chocolate pudding. And to “sweeten” the deal – it’s actually good for you!
Since starting this series I have had received such a positive response from readers, including a bunch of creative, veggie-inspired dishes popping up in my Instagram feed over the last few weeks. As further incentive to inspire you all to get into the kitchen and try out some of these new recipes and to really start incorporating more vegetables into your diet, I thought it would be a fun idea to run a competition at the end of it all, so stay tuned for more details over the next few days :)
In the meantime though, lets get to today’s post!
Gone are the days whereby cake consisted of refined white flour, sugar, butter and eggs. These days, it’s definitely possible to have your cake and eat it too. A healthier base can be gained by using whole grain flours, almond meal, natural sugars and healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado. Vegetables can then easily be incorporated – try a small amount of raw grated vegetables, or cooked and pureed vegetables stirred through the cake mix, or even better, up the amount of veggies and make it the focus of the cake – think carrot, zucchini, beet or even parsnip cake.
Parsnip cake with candied kumquat (pictured) (gf, df) – Golubka Kitchen
Raw carrot cake with cashew cream (pictured) (vg, df) – Fit Foodie
Sweet potato cupcakes – Making Thyme for Health
Red Velvet cupcakes (p, gf, df) – The Healthy Chef
As with cakes, vegetables which have been grated or blended can easily be incorporated into cookies (or biscuits, as we call them here in Australia) as well.
Coconut sweet potato cookies (pictured) (df) – The Roasted Root
Carrot Cake scokies (pictured) (vg, df) – Dishing Up the Dirt
Eat your spinach choc chip cookies – Superfood Mama
Dark chocolate parsnip cookies – Love Food
Pumpkin choc chip cookies (gf) – My Wholefood Life
Brownies, bars and slices
My all time favorite chocolate treat – the humble brownie – makes the perfect base for incorporating vegetables into. Cooked sweet potato and pumpkin both go wonderfully in a brownie, as do zuccchini and beets. Or blend up a little baby spinach or kale and mix through the batter. The rich chocolate flavour and colour of brownies easily masks the vegetables so that any fussy little eaters won’t even realise that their chocolatey treat has some hidden vegetable goodness in there!
Sweet potato chocolate brownies (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Secret Squirrel Food
Carrot cashew coconut slice (pictured) (vg, df) – Bonnie Delicious
Gingery pumpkin bars (pictured) (vg, df) – To her core
Dark chocolate and zucchini brownies – Cookie & Kate
Raw beauty beetroot brownie (vg, p, gf, df) – Crave Living
Dessert is often a time for indulgence, but once again, it doesn’t mean you can’t sneak a few veggies in for a little nutrient hit. As with the cookies and cakes, thinly grated or blended/pureed is a great way to go to sneak some veggies into your favorite dessert. Zucchini is a great one to use here, as once blended and mixed with something delicious like chocolate you can’t taste it, so it’s perfect for when you want to incorporate some veggies without it affecting the taste.
Chocolate zucchini pudding (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – To her core
Raw chocolate cheesecake (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Planning With Kids
Chocolate Beetroot Pudding Cake – Cook Republic
Pumpkin parfait – A Couple Cooks
Dip with crackers
Homemade dip is perfect to incorporate veggies into. When starting out, try something simple like hummus and incorporate one or two vegetables into the mix. For a great work snack, try putting a little homemade veggie dip in a jar with some veggie sticks stored in the dip – a delicious, healthy snack that’s great to take with you on-the-go.
Grilled red capsicum dip (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Homegrown Kitchen
Roasted tomato sandwich spread (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Craving Thirty
Beetroot hummus (vg, p, gf, df) – Merrymaker Sisters
Creamy carrot top pesto (vg, p, gf, df) – Wholy Goodness
Easy kale hummus (vg, gf, df) – Running on Real Food
And to have with your dip, why not make some veggie crackers? This is a great way to use up vegetable scraps, particularly left over vegetable juice pulp!
Paleo veggie crackers (pictured)(vg, p, gf, df) – To her core
Raw juice pulp crackers (vg, p, gf, df) – Choosing Raw
Zucchini carrot kale savory cookies (vg, df) – Tales of a Kitchen
Carrot sesame crackers (vg, p, gf, df) – Daily Bites Blog
A great little savoury snack to enjoy is thinly sliced vegetable chips. Root vegetables work really well here, and crisp-en up nicely to make a welcome change to the standard potato chip.
Perfect crunchy sweet potato chips (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – the Merry Maker sisters
Baked root chips (pictured)(vg, p, gf, df) – Herb Diaries
Beet chips (vg, p, gf, df) – Ascension Kitchen
Zucchini chips – Dishing Up the Dirt
Totally addictive kale chips (vg, p, gf, df) – My New Roots
Miscellaneous veggie snacks
And lastly a bit of a miscellaneous list here of some other sweet and savoury snacks that I have come across that use vegetables in creative ways that you may not have through of before – think savoury “cupcakes” using vegetables instead of fruit with a nut spread or dip as the “icing”, popcorn made out of cauliflower and grated vegetables incorporated into tasty bite-sized balls and slices.
Cucumber cakes with nut frosting (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df)- Earthen Foodie
Cauliflower and carrot “wings” (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Eye Candy Popper
(Sweet) Healthy cauliflower popcorn (pictured) (vg, p, gf, df) – Eating Bird Food
(Savoury) Cauliflower popcorn bites (vg, p, gf, df) – Onehanded Cooks
Beetroot, sweet potato and feta muffins – The Divine Family Tree
Carrot and feta slice – Veggie Num Num
Carrot bites (vg, p, gf, df) – Lola Cooks
Savoury goodie balls (vg, gf, df) – Jessica Cox
Broccoli and cheddar quinoa bites (gf) – Closet Cooking
For further ideas on how to easily include more vegetables in your diet, be sure to check out the other posts in this series-
And stay tuned for the upcoming competition where you could win a stack of prizes simply by showing us how you’re incorporating veggies into your meals. EDIT: The competition details are here
Got any other great tips on great ways to get more veggies into your daily diet? I’d love you to share them in the comments below :)
All recipes are vegetarian. Additional dietary requirements outlined in brackets above are –
Vegan (vg); Paleo (p); Gluten Free (gf); Dairy Free (df)
Note that some recipes may not strictly adhere to these requirements, but will list alternatives to substitute/omit within the recipe.