Healthifying Desserts & Beans in Desserts

After I posted the Vanilla Banana Avocado Ice Cream recipe

…I got to thinking about “healthifying” desserts.  You know, calling something “ice cream” when really it’s blended bananas and avocado.  

Did I just healthify something by making “ice cream” out of bananas and avocado?

If so, I take no great pleasure in that.

Why not?

Most people love it when they find out a dessert is healthy.  I do to, but I don’t care if it isn’t healthy, either.

I believe that desserts are desserts; they don’t need to be healthy: they’re dessert.  Which is inherently not really “healthy” and that’s okay with me.

I posted recently that I believe one can eat desserts (daily) and still live a “healthy” lifestyle and be healthy and balanced.

I know that’s it’s common among many food bloggers to put bananas into a food processor and call that “ice cream”.  I’ve done it.  Gena’s to blame. In the best possible way, of course. She called frozen bananas banana softserve way back when.

And I’ve done a whole series of softserve variations (all in my dessert recipes)

Vegan Peanut Butter Softserve anyone?

It’s sure thick like ice cream

And it does taste wonderful! Not sure it’s “ice cream” but it’s a frozen treat.  I like treats.

And then there’s the other trend of beans in desserts.

Some people put garbanzo beans into chickpeas and call them “blondies”.

I like my White Chocolate Blondies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting a whole lot. 

Full fat, fully decadent, fully amazing.  No beans in sight.

Katie has a recipe for Chocolate Chip Blondies They look awesome, but I’m scared they’ll taste bean-ey!

Some bloggers put black beans into brownies and call them “black bean brownies”.

I like my Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

No beans.  Just pure, unadulterated dense, sweet, fudgey-ness.  The best and richest brownies I’ve ever eaten.

Lately I’ve seen hummus or chickpeas in cookie dough all over the place.

Christin has a recipe for Baked Dessert Hummus Balls in case you’re curious.

And Spabettie made Christin’s recipe

And Evan has Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dessert Hummus

All that sounds great…


…I’ll stick with my Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Still “healthy” and vegan and gluten free, but no beans.

Why haven’t I tried these “healthy” or “healthified” desserts?

Frankly I am scared!

I’m scared to waste good cocoa powder, sugar, agave, or other ingredients if the recipe doesn’t live up to my expectations.  And they’re high.

Not to mention, time and energy are precious commodities and I haven’t those to waste, either.

I hate throwing away food from recipes that I am not pleased with and I hate wasting cooking time, energy, and money on ingredients only to wind up with a meh result.

So, I’m on the fence about the adding beans to desserts.  Like I mentioned, I believe one can eat desserts and be healthy and balanced.

But everyone’s recipes who I linked look so good! So when I get back to San Diego, maybe some beans in desserts will happen.  You never know.

I also believe that healthy desserts can and do taste amazing and can be totally decadent!  My raw vegan chocolate mousse comes to mind.   Healthy doesn’t have to “taste healthy”.

I have the utmost respect for everyone’s recipes, creations, and food choices; whether they’re “healthy” or not, bean-ey or not, and where he or she falls on the spectrum of what he or she chooses to eat.  We all have our own path and preferences in life and food and I have respect for everyone’s ability to choose what’s best for her.

From my last post, it was interesting hearing what wild animals are in your area.  But it was a whole lot more fun reading about if you consider yourself a wild child or not.


1. What are your thoughts on beans in desserts?  Have you tried any bean-ey desserts?

As I said, I’m scared to waste time, money, and energy because I don’t want to “taste the beans”.

Twist my arm.  Tell me you’ve made something with beans in it that’s dessert-ey and you love it!

2. What are your thoughts on “healthifying” desserts?  Do you try?  Do you care?

No, I don’t try or care.

I actually almost go over the top the other direction to make things as sinfully rich and decadent as possible.

Desserts are treats, extras, and should be treated as such.  It’s just not worth my chew to have something less than 100% decadent.  I’d rather not have it at all and don’t care if it’s not considered healthy.  Life is short, enjoy dessert is my motto.

Anyone want a piece of fudge?

It’s vegan & GF, though!

3. Yay or nay:  “Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot?”


With that happy thought, I hope to enjoy the beach for one more day!

I’m savoring the last bits of Aruba before we head home.


114 Responses to “Healthifying Desserts & Beans in Desserts”

  1. Michaela — June 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm (#

    I actually made Katie´s recipe (Blondie Batter Dip) including chickpeas (shocker! :D) and it turned out sooooooooooooooooooooo delicious!! Sure, it helps when you like hummus, because the texture of the dip is kinda alike, but you would not taste them! Even my mum with super strong taste buds couldn´t figure out the ingredients.
    I totally understand your fears, though, I absolutely hate wasting food, too, but you could always make just a quarter of the recipe or so, then it wouldn´t be too bad.
    Just go for it :) You will not regret it!

  2. dragonmamma/naomi — June 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm (#

    Yeah, I tried bean fudge last year. Or was it bean brownies? I can’t remember which because it didn’t really taste like either one. It wasn’t gag-me-with-a-spoon terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. It was one of those blog recipes where dozens of people swore up and down about how wonderful it was. Eh. I guess I’m picky.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) — June 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm (#

      i vaguely remember your flop or flop-like occurrence.

      we can be picky together. and go out for brownies and coffee and wine next time youre in SD!

  3. Heather — June 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm (#

    I’m all about healthifying desserts. I have such a sweet tooth and if it has fruit in it people always think it’s healthier. I want my chocolate so if that means I have to add avocado sign me up!

  4. Kristen @ The Red Velvet Life — June 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm (#

    Love this post, Averie! I think there’s room for healthified recipes and regular recipes…I would never try to replace the “real deal” cupcakes (generally my dessert of choice) with bean garbanzo cupcakes or anything, but I also think it’s really fun to experiment in the kitchen and see what I can come up with. And funny that you posted this today, because I made Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookie dough blondie batter today! But here’s the deal — I like dessert-type-stuff for breakfast, and this is where these more healthified recipes come in handy for me. I topped my baked oatmeal with this chickpea-containing cookie dough batter, and I had the most amazing breakfast! No added sugar (just a banana for sweetness), protein, chocolate…I’m not arguing with that. I feel energized after my breakfast, and I feel like I treated myself, so I think it’s cool to experiment!

  5. Colleen — June 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm (#

    Lately I’ve been caring more about the healthiness of desserts, such as Ben & Jerry’s and Hagen Daas. I just don’t think it’s worth 230 calories at so much fat for a 1/2 cup of ice cream; I’d rather just go with a different brand. Beans in a dessert? Never heard of that before… interesting

  6. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run — June 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm (#

    Your banana-avocado ice cream recipe just made my day. I’m trying it at my earliest convenience!

  7. Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons — June 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm (#

    Haha I’m uber scared to add beans into desserts too! My neighbor used to used lots of substitutions in her desserts and they tasted like poo. her spinach brownies made me sick to my stomach and it scarred me! eep! Christin’s bean balls look awesome and so do Kristina’s black bean brownies but i’m not a huge dessert girl…so i’m still eating my beans regular. though if there was any beany-business going down i’d holler at them for tips! <3

  8. Ann Claire — June 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm (#

    I totally agree with you about healthifying desserts. I get my healthy stuff in the rest of the time so I can enjoy the real thing when it comes to desserts. It’s not that I’m against making treats a little more nutritious, I’m just not willing to sacrifice flavor. I’ve tried recipes where people swear it taste like the real thing and well it doesn’t. People will say how all their friends loved and no one knew it was healthy….umm maybe there friends are just more polite than mine because I have yet to have that experience! I really want to try one of Katie’s bean recipes, but I’m afraid I’ll be able to tell!

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) — June 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm (#

      “People will say how all their friends loved and no one knew it was healthy….umm maybe there friends are just more polite than mine because I have yet to have that experience! ”

      I totally understand! I use my mother as my judge and jury and if I can imagine her liking it, then it’s fine. And she’s a very tough critic!

  9. Colleen — June 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm (#

    100% agree on the fear of wasting valuable baking products! I can appreciate some beany desserts (I tried some black bean brownies that were tasty), but usually, when I want a dessert, I want a dessert. I heard a great quote a few years ago that has really stuck with me: “We gain weight by eating what we want after eating what we think we should.” Give me the real deal for dessert!

  10. Bria @ West of Persia — June 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm (#

    I’m mixed on this topic. Sometimes I health-ify; sometimes not. It honestly depends on what else I’ve been eating recently. If I’ve been eating lots of decadent stuff and want dessert, I might health-ify a bit. But if it has to taste good. That’s my rule.

    Beans in dessert hold no interest for me, because I get pretty good amounts of protein and fiber as it stands. And I like beans as beans, so no need to “sneak” them into something. Though I can appreciate how this might be a useful and desirable thing for some people to do.

  11. Get Skinny, Go Vegan. — June 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm (#

    So guilty of eating desserts for “meals”. Frozen Bananas, plain bananas, dried cherries & Brazil nuts.
    In the past it used to be tofu cheezecakes & puddings. It is my unintentional mission to eat whatever the f**k I want and pretend it’s healthy. :)
    The cat & I are “stress” eaters. :)

  12. Ragnhild — June 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm (#

    I havent tried beans in desserts either. Im sceptical.. However, I think Katies Chocolate Chip Cookes Pie looks amazing!! And your avocado ice cream too!
    Im all for healthifying desserts. But for me this doesnt mean putting beans in them. For me, this means using high quality ingredients like maple sugar and sirup, nuts seeds, coconut oil, cacao ect.. I dont use white sugar or whote flour, but i feel like the stuff I do use, just makes the desserts even better!
    And I agree, desserts are desserts! Healthy or not, they are best served in dessert-portions. And i believe I get way more satisfied by eating a real dessert instead of a healthy/low cal/low carb or whatever dessert. But I want it to be REAL food, anyway :)

  13. Christine (The Raw Project) — June 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm (#

    True on desserts, I don’t mind a splurge occasionally. But if it can be healthier and still great tasting, sweet! I’m not scared to try healthy desserts, I’ll try a black bean brownie recipe because if it doesn’t come out good, I’ll make it good instead of wasting the ingredients.

    1. I haven’t yet, but I will and have no problems with it.
    2. I think it’s a good thing overall as long as it tastes good. That’s what I appreciate about raw desserts so much is simple, non-processed ingredients can make a great desserts. Maybe a cake of solid nuts and dates isn’t lower calorie than a traditional flour cake, but it’s in a form the body can use more efficiently and that’s important for any recipe.
    3. Not so much anymore, think I’m building a tolerance. :-)

  14. Heather — June 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm (#

    I just want to say that I’ve made Katie’s blondies weekly since she posted the recipe! I love it, and beans aren’t that expensive…so def don’t hesitate to try it :)

  15. Hi Averie,
    As promised, I made your cheesy taco casserole tonight and it is delicious! To make it a little bigger/taller, I doubled the rice (used brown short grain and basmati from bulk bins – good money-saver). I also subbed “We Can’t Say It’s Cheese” Cheddar Sauce ( in place of sour cream, which I HIGHLY recommend! Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, Trader Joe’s taco seasoning packet is suuuper spicy, so it’s a little hot, but it is still absolutely dee-licious and a major treat for someone who avoids cheese. My family will love it tomorrow night (of course, I sampled it ahead of time). Love those one-dish casseroles/meals. THANK YOU! :)

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) — June 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm (#

      thanks for lmk you made it and that it’s a winner…and yay for pre-cooked dinners, and/or planned leftovers. the best!

  16. McKella — June 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm (#

    Personally, I hate beans in desserts. I tried making black bean brownies once and I ended up tossing the whole batch, and I made chocolate chip cookie dough “hummus” this week, and again chucked the whole thing out. I can taste the beans, and I can’t stand the beany texture in my desserts. Yuck.
    I like real desserts, but I have a massive sweet tooth. I don’t know if I should rein in my sugar habits or try to healthify desserts, but then I probably won’t be as satisfied, then I’ll eat more…it’s a dilemma. I’ve been having decent luck swapping xylitol for sugar lately, or using whole wheat flour in cookies though, but I still tend to overdo it.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) — June 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm (#

      thanks for the honest reviews and TWO flops (sorry!!) about the beans…that is very good to know. Not just about the rave reviews, but the flops. Taste AND texture both. Sorry girl that you werent a fan.

  17. Cait's a Runnerchick — June 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm (#

    wow, you’re outlook on desserts and philosophy is really refreshing to read. especially coming from a) a woman b) one who does stay so fit and look amazing and c) you live in the good old US or A…haha. no, but really, i completely agree with you, though not gonna lie i wish i could fully walk the walk. i’d more than happily tell people that this is the healthiest kind of relationship with food, want them to follow suit, though i only wish i could do the same! those are my own mental hang-ups and so when i see a person who REALLY embraces this attitude i think it’s admirable. honestly though, i think what the best thing is that you are setting this kind of example for your daughter.

    as a person who didn’t have such a healthy role model to look to growing up, i know how big of an impact that can make. now i’m at a point where i love food, love to eat, but if i see a knock-off that has less calories or such i’ll take the offer because: 1) my taste buds really suck, aren’t all too sensitive, and probably won’t taste a difference and 2) i’m a volume person, so if there are less cal’s then i can eat more of it. :P

    so in truth i’ll probably jump on the bean wagon and toot myself up some desserts, but i really enjoyed reading this post! keep on rocking those full fat desserts!

  18. Jolene ( — June 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm (#

    I have never had beans in dessert before, and I don’t care to healthify desserts … but I am not opposed to eating them!

  19. Katie M. — June 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm (#

    I think the healthified desserts are awesome. My daughter really just prefers pigging out on fresh fruit most of the time but this week we had special events (my husband adopted her!) so she requested your Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese and I also made the Avocado Banana Ice Cream too for a surprise! Both are delish!

  20. Maria @ Scandifoodie — June 2, 2011 at 1:27 am (#

    Black bean brownies were delicious! I’ll have to try chickpeas next :-) Delicious dessert round-up!

  21. Tif — June 2, 2011 at 9:37 am (#

    I never thought I’d try Katie’s chickpea Blondie recipe but the pictures keep coming up on sites I read and they look delicious… plus it’s that time of the month and canned goods were on sale at the grocery store. I went home last night and made a batch. O M G delicious. I’ve tried a bunch of your dessert recipes and have loved them all so I’m assuming we may have similar taste buds :) You will NOT be disappointed with her chocolate chip blondie recipe.

  22. Miranda — June 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm (#

    I agree with this post!! I just tried a recipe with beans and it was terrible! Everyone has their own style of cooking and different taste buds. Unfortunately, this did not appeal to mine!

  23. being domUnique — June 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm (#

    I just made Katie’s Deep Dish Cookie Pie tonight (blog post coming soon lol) and although I was very TENTATIVE, it was DELICIOUS! SO decadent and you really would have never thought that it was “healthy”. I was nervous to waste time and money as well, so I wanted to first make a mini batch just to see how it would turn out, but then my boyfriend decided we should just go for it and make the whole pie, and I’m glad we did!
    I can’t wait to trick my dad into eating it ;)

  24. Crista — June 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm (#

    Just found your blog and have fallen in love with it :) Adding you to the blogroll now! I don’t really healthify recipes as much as take out excess. I have been vegan and when I am baking vegan or making vegan dessert I always feel like taking animal products out IS healthifying. I don’t think fat is unhealthy nor do I think dessert is. But I also don’t want to eat an entire cake (most of the time) so a slice of cake or some cookie dough doesn’t = unhealthy in my book. It’s my call when I’m cooking to take out what I find unneccessary and I regularly find myself putting in half as much oil, half the sugar called for and omitting the salt. But I don’t know how much that affects the “healthy-ness” of it except that there is less of that stuff, and so I’m less likely to consume too much of it. funny, never thought about it before reading your post! can’t wait to try out your recipe for vegan cookie dough balls!!!

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