Food – Veganized Desserts

Like any other diet, a vegan diet can be complete and balanced or incomplete and unbalanced. Unfortunately, vegan eating is not a guarantee of good health. We still need to pay attention to our choices, watch our portion sizes, limit junk and processed foods, and ensure adequate intake of a few nutrients not easily available from vegan foods. How might desserts fit in a complete and balanced vegan diet?

It wasn’t so long ago that vegan desserts were viewed at best as an amusing oxymoron and at worst as some sort of gastronomic punishment. Perhaps you have not felt well after eating sweet, sugary desserts and even suffered from stomachaches or became moody and exhausted. It makes so much sense that food and your health would be related. Without dairy, eggs, and processed sugar in your diet, you can feel really good. By giving all the desserts you have loved a plant-based makeover, you can veganize desserts!

Perhaps you remember the dark days, when vegan sweets were dry and brown and tasteless. A few years ago, I would have recoiled at the thought of a vegan dessert—no butter, milk, or eggs? But sometime in the last few years, that began to change. The reasons include everything from a growing awareness of organic, healthy eating to the rising number of people diagnosed with food allergies every year (the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network estimates that some 12 million Americans have food allergies) to advances in vegan baking techniques and aesthetics.

Now everyone with a real sweet tooth, including those who are lactose or gluten intolerant, reducing cholesterol, or simply prefer healthy, natural ingredients without sacrificing taste, truly can have their cake and eat it, too. One thing remains constant—if you want to sell someone on vegan dessert, it has to be delicious.

Not only do vegan desserts taste good and, yes, sometimes even better than their dairy-filled counterparts, but you probably won’t even know that what you’re eating is vegan unless someone tells you. You simply need to create the vegan desserts by translating conventional, non-vegan recipes and shun popular dairy-free substitutes like egg replacers in favor of ingredients like bananas and sweet potatoes (both of which replicate the thick moisture of eggs).

Baking Without Eggs

Applesauce: Add 1/4 cup in place of one egg. Holds things together and adds moisture. But to help things rise, might need to add more baking powder (about 1/2 teaspoon).

Banana: Use 1/2 banana, mashed, for one egg in sweet baked goods. Also add about 1/2 teaspoon extra baking soda.

Tofu: Use about 1/4 cup mashed silken tofu for one egg. Also add 1/4–1/2 teaspoon extra baking powder.

Prune Puree: Puree your own, purchase pureed prunes, or even use baby food prunes. Use 1/4 cup prunes plus 1/2 teaspoon extra baking powder for one egg.

Baking Powder: Add an extra 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 2 Tablespoons extra liquid to replace one egg.

Flaxseed: Grind 3 Tablespoons flaxseed to a very fine powder. Add 1/2 cup water and blend until mixture becomes thick. Use to replace two or three eggs.

Powdered Egg Replacer: A boxed powder mix available in natural foods stores. Just blend with water to replace eggs in a recipe.