A vegan diet should never restrict your ability to indulge in a tasty treat. Although dairy products are typically found in most dessert recipes, there's a way to replicate just about any sweet with vegan ingredients. All it takes is a bit of creativity.
Enjoy delicious treats like fruit sorbet, chocolate chip cookies, strawberry cheesecake, and pumpkin fudge without any added dairy products. Instead, use dates, milk alternatives, fresh fruit, maple syrup, peanut butter, and dark chocolate to create the flavors you're craving. Another plus: These vegan desserts lean on the healthier side and are quite easy to make. Grab a mixing bowl and a sheet pan—it's time to make desserts so decadent that you won't even realize they're vegan.
Strawberry Ripple Almond Cheesecake
The Recipe: Strawberry Ripple Almond Cheesecake
The Vegan Twist: Despite being vegan and gluten-free, this cheesecake is just as creamy as you'd expect from a traditional cheesecake. The base is made of raw almonds, coconut, oats, and dates that hold a filling made with almond milk, lemon, vanilla, and honey-strawberry sauce.
The Pro Tip: Keep the cake in the freezer and only remove it a few minutes before serving. You can also keep a little extra sauce to drizzle on top.
The Recipe: Sugar-Free Paleo Vegan Pumpkin Fudge
The Vegan Twist: This vegan dessert is naturally sweetened with dates and gets its creamy consistency from almond butter and pumpkin purée. Not only are these fudge squares vegan, but they're also sugar-free and they're made with healthy, natural ingredients.
The Pro Tip: Top the fudge with pepitas, dried fruit, or cocoa nibs.
The Recipe: The Best Vegan Apple Crisp
The Vegan Twist: With apples caramelized in lemon, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and apple juice, this tasty recipe is all vegan. Top with a pecan-oat mixture, and you'll be left with a warm, seasonal vegan dessert that everyone will love.
The Pro Tip: Serve the finished product with a vegan ice cream for the perfect mix of hot and cold.
Hazelnut Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
The Recipe: Hazelnut Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
The Vegan Twist: This simple recipe calls for just gluten-free flour, hazelnut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond butter, and dark chocolate chips. That's all you need to make a deliciously sweet vegan cookie.
The Pro Tip: You can add as little or as much chocolate ganache to the center of the cookies as you like.
Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars
The Recipe: Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars
The Vegan Twist: This homemade chocolate bar calls for just six ingredients. Mimic caramel by coiling together maple syrup and coconut cream and then stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Before you dip the coconut filling in dark chocolate, freeze the bars for an easy coating process.
The Pro Tip: Put your own twist on this recipe by topping the bars with anything you'd like—be it roasted pistachios or goji berries.
Coconut Cacao Bliss Balls
The Recipe: Adaptogen Coconut Cacao Bliss Balls
The Vegan Twist: These bliss balls contain tasty coconut pulp, dates, cacao powder, and vanilla extract. This treat is full of energizing ingredients, despite its indulgent flavors. You can also top the bliss balls with anything from freeze-dried fruits to bee pollen.
The Pro Tip: Try adding reishi powder and he shou wu for antioxidant benefits that will also boost your mood.
The Vegan Twist: No eggs or milk necessary—these chocolate chip cookies are made with dates, almond flour, almond butter, coconut flour, coconut oil, and vegan chocolate chunks.
The Pro Tip: If you're working around a nut restriction, swap out almond flour and butter for sunflower seed flour and butter.
Raspberry Coconut Mango Sorbet
The Recipe: Raspberry Coconut Mango Sorbet
The Vegan Twist: Mango is already sweet and creamy, making this sorbet a natural fit. It's made from ripe mango cubes, fresh raspberries, coconut milk, sugar, a pinch of salt, and a splash of lime juice.
The Pro Tip: As tempting as it is to substitute sugar with a natural sweetener like maple syrup or agave, the cane sugar helps create the right flavor and texture of the sorbet.
Creamsicle Vegan Cheesecake Bars
The Recipe: Creamsicle Vegan Cheesecake Bars
The Vegan Twist: This healthy, no-bake vegan dessert looks as good as it tastes. Made with cashews, dates, almond milk, orange juice, honey, and vanilla, these bars have a delicious creamsicle taste.
The Pro Tip: Line your pan with parchment paper to keep the crust from sticking (doing this also allows for easy cleanup).
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This post was originally published on January 27, 2016, and has since been updated.