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 comments on “Healthifying Desserts & Beans in Desserts”

  1. “The more you toot the better you feel so let’s eat beans with every meal!!!!”

    And honestly, I couldn’t care less about healthifying desserts. I believe that you can eat dessert or cake in moderation and still live a healthy lifestyle. Life it too short to worry about cake!!!

  2. Well, there may be people that can eat decadent desserts daily and be healthy and happy, but I’m not one of them. Maybe I just need to run some more? ;)
    1. Surprisingly I love red/azuki beans in sweets, like ice cream, cakes, other baked goods. It’s quite common in Asia, think of Chinese mooncakes, Japanese mochi and anpan, and many more! You can find canned sweet red bean paste in most Asian grocery stores.
    2. I often “healthify” my desserts, by adding fruit, reducing fat and sugar. I do that to soothe my conscience, and to please my taste buds. I just can’t handle too much sugar. Plus, I do firmly believe that desserts can be both healthy AND delicious.
    3. Oh yes! But I eat them anyway. ;)

  3. Love this post! You know I love dessert. I must admit I’m not one for healthifying it. I do like things like banana soft serve or pb frozen as “fudge” or other such things as a more special, treaty feeling snack – but it would never take place of dessert. When I have something for dessert I want something that will really satisfy me and its never anything doctored up. I’ve done beans in desserts before and hated them.

    • “pb frozen as “fudge””—ok ive never even tried that. I assumed it would just turn into a rock. Guess not! Need to experiment with that one not b/c it’s “healthy” but b/c i love frozen things like grapes. And I bet pb!

  4. I never tried using beans for desserts but I like the idea, I really want to try to make the brownie made with black beans.
    healthifying desserts? mmmm….. if I make at home I might, but I rarely make desserts at home. And if I’m eating out, I don’t really care, the taste is the #1 priority for me because a good dessert made with real ingredients satisfy me more! ;)
    All your desserts creations look amazing!!!

  5. I, too, was quite skeptical of beans in desserts, but I used a recipe for black bean brownies that called for instant coffee (I think this had a part in masking the bean flavor, plus, who doesn’t love coffee?) and they were one of the most decadent batches of brownies I have ever eaten…and I’ve eaten lots of brownies! I will say though, do not taste the batter until all ingredients are in! ie, blended beans and unsweetened chocolate, before the sugar and other stuff go in, are not my idea of delicious batter. The final product? fudge-a-licious.

  6. Okay, I have been seeing all these beans in desserts and have been hesitant to try, too! I mean, I can’t imagine they’re terrible since they’re all the rage – but I just can’t bring myself to do it! As for healthifying…while I used to intentionally try to “healthify” things, you might remember how I feel about that word now and don’t really think of it like that anymore :P That and back then I’d completely leave out oil, make everything 100% whole wheat, use Splenda, etc.
    Now, if I’m making something for myself and my family, I always cut back on sugar due to taste and my mom’s bf being diabetic. If I’m making something for myself that I want to be a sweet treat after a meal but also a sweet “anytime” treat (with breakfast, late night snack, etc) I’ll usually cut back quite a bit on sugar and maybe sub some oil, too. I just hate things that are too sweet :(
    As for whether I’ll try the beans and “the more you toot” sentiment…well…I eat enough beans and fiber in my meals, not sure if my family would keep me around if they were in dessert, too ;)

  7. I like lighter desserts and things that aren’t that heavy, especially now that we are going into the summer months. I do like red adzuki beans in my Asian desserts as well, and I think that banana avocado ice cream looks amazing!!!

  8. I made CCK’s chickpea blondies as soon as I’d finished reading the post, and they tasted amazing: I gave some to my dad, who has no dietary restrictions and lives off red meat, refined sugars and dairy up the wazoo, and he had no idea there was either peanut butter or chickpeas in there, he just thought they were “lovely, and very chocolate-y.” I’ve also just made CCK’s ‘World’s Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies’, and I made them because it’s a nice simple, easy recipe and I thought they looked truly delicious – and they are! They remind me of Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookies, only much nicer :)

    I don’t know about healthifying, I just make stuff I think I’ll like … for example, I’m about to make your toffee and choc chip cookie dough balls: is it inappropriate that I’m excited about stuffing some balls in my mouth? :D Sorry, seriously though, I guess I am more attracted to so-called “healthy” recipes because I’m trying to shift the last few pounds of flab around my hips, bum and thighs (the most stubborn ones, naturally :-/), but when it comes to it, as I said, I’ll choose what I’ll enjoy, which is one of the reasons I love your blog so much :)

    • Sorry for the multiple comments, but I forgot to mention that I bloody LOVED your smoothie version of this so I can’t wait to try the “ice cream” version too – thanks!

  9. I’m so with you on this! I tried a chickpea (garbanzo) blondie recipe a while ago and it didn’t turn out great, so (thinking I was at fault) I made it again but with white beans as the recipe suggested – um, yep, bean-y. I mean, it was edible (that is… I totally ate it), and it was sort of good? Sort of? But… I’d totally take a “real” blondie over it any day. Dessert should be dessert!

    • thanks for the VERY honest review. I have heard from a few ppl like you who have told me similar stories. Which is why Ive hesitated so long on it all….

      • Yeah, I generally tend to be open minded when it comes to putting weird things in my food (!) but it wasn’t for me. I feel like such a bitch when it comes to reviewing a recipe critically, but I suppose honest feedback is the most helpful for others…

  10. Soak up that sun on your last day girl!!!!

    I have never made a dessert with beans in them! I want to try the chickpea blondies I see all over the blog world, maybe one day!

    love u!

  11. I haven’t tried it (yet). I’m kinda scared. It’s like you say, it takes precious time and ingredients and if it’s not good.. but on the other hand, you can have that with the ‘normal’ ingredients too. Maybe we have to be a little wild child to make this work ;)
    I like to live healthy but desserts are desserts. They don’t have to be loaded with sugar or fat to be good, but it has to taste good and be dessertlike sweet. As you said, just because you eat a sweet fatty dessert, doesn’t mean you don’t live healthy. (You can think of it as a reward for living healthy ;))

  12. My husband loooooooooved Katie’s recipe for chickpea blondies. I mean love, love, love :) If they meet a man’s approval, they’re probably pretty good ;) I say give them a go!

  13. yes – make every second count today, averie – beach time as long as possible!!!
    i’ve tried healthifying desserts over the years, but i agree: i dislike wasting my time and good ingredients on so-so results (one i remember is brownies with pureed prunes in them). i’ve concluded dessert is dessert, and if you make a dessert with 100% “real” ingredients, i am cool with that.
    here was our family version: “beans, beans are good for your heart; the more you eat, the more you fart; the more you fart, the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal.” :)
    have a great day!

  14. I not a huge fan of black bean brownies but I love Katie’s garbanzo bean blondies! And the dough!

  15. I agree with you on one point: that life is short, and we should never put anything less than 100% decadent in our mouths. But healthy desserts CAN be 100% decadent. My raw chocolate-fudge cake or my deep-dish cookie pie are delicious desserts not just for healthy desserts, but for desserts, PERIOD. In fact, that’s my blog’s whole idea– healthy SHOULD taste naughty. If it tastes like a healthy dessert, I feel like my recipe is a failure. I like to have my chocolate cake and eat it too!

    • P.S. Thanks to all the commenters who said they tried my blondies… that made me smile so much!! And thank YOU, Averie, for mentioning them :).

    • “If it tastes like a healthy dessert, I feel like my recipe is a failure”–

      That is such a profound statement…and I 100% trust that your bean-ey desserts ARE decadent! It’s just MY little hangup, MY own fear. The things you make, and everyone else I linked, look AMAZING! Everyone has their little hangups, I just blogged about mine :)

      And yes, a zillion ppl have said how great your things are…I have to make them when I get home :)

  16. Okay, I’ve had enough. I NEED to make the vegan chocolate chip cookie dough! :)

  17. I’m with you–somewhat. I definitely eat a little dessert everyday. Bad habit, maybe but it’s all part of my moderation policy. I don’t add black beans to brownies or any of those other weird things. Kinda scared it will mess things up and I hate to waste it, like you.

    However, I don’t go for REALLY rich, over-the-top desserts either. Makes me feel kinda sick when I eat too much. Guess I’m back to moderation. Give me real banana pudding with real vanilla wafers (maybe even homemade shortbread cookies) but I like the pudding part made with skim or 1% just as much as whole milk. As long as it’s from scratch, it’s all better than a commercial mix.

  18. Hrmm, I enjoy both healthy and not so healthy desserts – depending on my mood really. Regarding CCK snickerdoodle bean-blondie, I made it using stevia and the raw dough taste so “oh my freaking god” good, but I don’t like the baked version much, it tasted “bean-y” when baked, whilst the middle bit is moist and dense, it doesn’t taste the same as the fudgy and buttery centre of a ‘real’ blondie, if you get what I mean. :)

    Oh a side story, tried a certain fat free black bean brownie a while back, I chucked the whole batch away, it tasted like a bean slab, it makes me wonder if that person has ever tried a real brownie before. haha!

  19. I’ve done black bean bronwnies before, and I can’t lie – they weren’t that good. I think chickpeas in baked goods would be great. I know there’s blondies recipes floating out there right now with chickkpeas in them!

  20. I totally agree with you on this post…sometimes I get so annoyed with my friends who freak out over eating a bite of brownie I just wanted to eat a whole cake in front of them just to spite them.

    On the other hand, one of my favorite ice cream is actually red bean ice cream! I had this a lot when I was growing up in Hong Kong. You don’t taste the beans because red beans are tiny and mild in flavor. You might be able to find them in Asian (particularly Japanese) food stores.

    Let me know if you decide to try it!!

  21. Yeah, some of those bean brownies do look darn good in the photos!
    But I have never gotten around to trying to make them.

    If I want chocolate, I want chocolate!

  22. I’m with ya on the beans debate. No beans near my dessert! I’m going to have to be truly convinced (even bribed) to try a beany dessert!!

  23. I think beans in desserts are stupid. Yes, stupid. People are trying to add fiber and protein to a brownie. Just eat a stinkin’ brownie and save the beans for another meal. A real brownie won’t do any harm.

  24. i don’t really care to healthify {sp?} desserts. but at the same time, if it happens to be healthy, then wonderful!!, i won’t complain to that either ;) treasure your last moments on vacation ;)
    bises ~ kristina

  25. I can say they don’t taste beany, but if you’re worried you can always add extra sweetener :-)

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