Home & Garden Home 10 Luscious Desserts With Hidden Vegetables By Melissa Breyer Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. Learn about our editorial process Updated February 8, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Vitamin-packed eggplant, beans, beets, and zucchini covertly tucked into delicious desserts? Here come the stealth vegetables. In place of empty calories these 10 desserts deliver vitamins, antioxidants and fiber in a tasty package that can provide more vegetables for your diet. 1 of 10 Chocolate beet cake credit: balise42 This is one of the best recipes ever. Really. (Although that's coming from a varsity beet cheerleader, so it may be relative.) Beets add a deep rich color and ever-so-slightly earthy flavor to desserts, and when combined with sweet dark chocolate and baked, the synergy is surprising and very happy-making. 2 of 10 White Bean Blondies credit: Telephone Melts Red bean paste is a staple in Japanese sweets. Pureed beans add moisture and structure to cookies and bars, they replace much of the butter and flour, and when accompanied by sweet components (rather than onions and jalapeños) their mild flavor fades away and lets the other ingredients sing. This recipe for White Bean Blondies uses a cup and a half of beans and 3/4 cup of oat bran resulting in a treat that is as nutritious as it is delicious. 3 of 10 Black Bean Brownies credit: Jaymi Heimbuch Jerry's gluten-free recipe for souffle-like black bean brownies relies on similar principals as the white bean blondies, but this one is bumped up a notch with the addition of raspberry sauce. Make them like this: Cocoa and Black Bean Brownies with Raspberry Sauce. 4 of 10 Chocolate Avocado Mousse credit: llsimon53 Many healthier versions of chocolate mousse call for tofu, but this one depends on avocados and is a member of the 10 Deliciously Radical Avocado Recipes club. Although technically avocado is a fruit not a vegetable, its use in primarily savory dishes often imparts vegetable status. Be warned, this dish is not lacking in fat, but avocado fat is so supremely healthier for the body than dairy fat, so, there's that. 4 ripe avocados1 cup agave nectar1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder1 tablespoon vanilla extract Remove flesh from avocados and and cut into pieces, place all ingredients in a stand mixer (or food processor) and blend until light and smooth. Chill, top with Greek yogurt or vegan topping, and enjoy. 5 of 10 Sweet Potato Cheesecake credit: tomatoes and friends Sweet potato cheesecake is like the sultry southern cousin of pumpkin cheesecake. Both are a creamy orange in color and take well to warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are in fact often interchangeable, but as much as I am utterly nuts about pumpkin, sweet potatoes have denser flesh and ultimately more concentrated flavor. Which makes them the perfect candidate for cheesecake! For crust: 1 1/2 cups all-natural gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs1/3 cup finely chopped pecans1/4 teaspoon fresh minced ginger3 tablespoons melted butter For filling: 9 ounces organic cream cheese, softened1/3 cup maple syrup1/2 cup date sugar (Sucanat or brown sugar may be used)1 3/4 cups sweet potatoes, mashed2 large eggs, beaten1/2 cup organic low fat buttermilk2 tablespoons cornstarch1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg For topping: 1/3 cup brown sugar1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil1 cup pecans, roughly chopped 1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a medium bowl mix gingersnap crumbs, pecans, ginger and butter until combined. Press mixture with your fingers into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes or until set—do not let it brown. Remove and let cool. 3. In a mixing bowl use a fork to mash together butter and sugar for topping until crumbled, then stir in the pecans until lightly incorporated. Set aside until ready to use. 4. Beat cream cheese until smooth and add maple syrup and date sugar. Add remaining filling ingredients and beat well until combined. Pour into crust and bake for 30 minutes, then add topping and bake for another 25 minutes, or until set. 5. Cool on a rack. Remove springform ring and chill at least several hours, or overnight. 6 of 10 Eggplant Tarte Tatin with Black Pepper Caramel credit: Margaret Badore This recipe from Gourmet takes the classic French upside-down tart and turns it on its head by using eggplant rather than traditional apples. Eggplant is slightly bitter, but when combined with sugar and then caramelized, its the texture and subtle sweetness that shine. And if you have a hard time getting your mind around the idea, think of it this way: Eggplant is classified botanically as a fruit. So really, this is just another fruit tart. 7 of 10 Butternut Squash Pudding credit: melloveschallah Pumpkin pie is a no-brainer, but I sometimes find butternut squash to be a happier stand-in for pumpkin. Although there are varieties of pumpkin that are fabulous for baking and cooking (sugar and cheese pumpkins, for example) they are not as easy to come by as butternut squash. And the ubiquitous regular carving pumpkins are not nearly as sweet or buttery-textured as butternut squash is. This is a baked pudding, but you can scoop it out of the pan and serve it in a cup as well. 4 cups pureed butternut squash 3/4 cup brown sugar (or Sucanat) 12 ounces evaporated milk 3 eggs 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 fresh nutmeg, grated 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger (optional) 1/4 cup candied pepitas (optional) 1. Mix squash, brown sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. 2. Pour into a lightly oiled 8-by-8 glass baking dish. 3. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes. Remove, cool and serve with whipped cream, greek yogurt, or a mix of candied ginger and pepitas. 8 of 10 Mocha Almond Fudge Avocado Cake credit: Vegan Feast Catering Beloved Flickr photographer and vegan chef-baker extraordinaire, Vegan Feast Catering, is the force behind this vegan cake that involves a tangle of avocado, agave, cocoa, and almonds which is then layered with a sweet avocado buttercream. 9 of 10 Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies credit: HeatherHeatherHeather When life gives you excessive zucchinis, make cookies. Or something like that. It's inevitable that if you've planted zucchini in your garden, the exuberant blimp-sized squash will begin to take over and it's probable that you will run out of ways to eat it. Or if you just want to take advantage of the bounty befalling the farmers markets, here is a recipe inspired by the awesome book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Stir together well in a bowl: 1 egg, beaten1/2 cup butter, softened1/2 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)1/3 cup honey1 tablespoon vanilla extractCombine in large bowl:1 cup white flour1 cup whole wheat flour1/2 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp salt1/4 tsp nutmegCombine in a separate, small bowl and add to egg mixture:1 cup finely shredded zucchini12 oz chocolate chips Mix all ingredients together well. Drop by spoonful onto lightly oiled baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350F degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. 10 of 10 Chocolate Carrot Cake credit: kathryn in stereo A vegetable dessert collection wouldn't be complete without carrot cake, but you can get a carrot cake recipe anywhere, so here's one that's made a bit more decadent with chocolate and a healthier ersatz cream cheese frosting. 4 eggs1 1/4 cups vegetable oil1 cup sugar (or Sucanat)1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup white whole wheat flour2 teaspoons baking soda2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt2 teaspoons ground cinnamon3 cups grated carrots1/2 chocolate chipsli>cup chopped pecans12 ounces cream cheese1/3 cup maple syrup 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil and flour a 9-by-13 inch pan. 2. With a mixer beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Fold in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then fold in carrots, chocolate chips and pecans. Pour into pan. 3. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake and let cook completely on a wire rack. Whip cream cheese and maple syrup together and frost cake. Serve.