Chocolate chip cookies

If you’re shifting to healthy, planet-friendly, plant-forward foods, desserts are definitely on the table. They are a perfect place to start.

Plenty of recipes for scrumptious vegan treats are super simple. They’re packed with nutritious ingredients. Such as seeds. Fresh fruit. Even garbanzo beans. Whether savored standing over a sink or elegantly presented, vegan desserts are poised to impress.

We asked an assortment of plant-food enthusiasts for easy vegan dessert recipes, and they whipped out their favorites to share with you.

Vegan Desserts With Amazing Avocados

As a mom, Dalin Espinal serves her family yummy desserts like homemade pistachio avocado ice cream. Espinal is honing her delightful plant-based repertoire as a student chef at a vegetarian culinary program in South Florida. Her vegan desserts often feature a foundation of avocado, which offers a rich creaminess in dishes without dairy.

student chef Dalin Espinal
Dalin Espinal. Photo: Dalin Espinal

If you’re working with avocados, Espinal offers a tip. Don’t judge them on their appearance, she says. “It is very important to make sure that the avocados you use are in very good shape. I even taste it and smell it before preparing desserts with them.” You might want to employ that advice in her trio of recipes. Be careful, too, to select avocados farmed responsibly. Some Mexican avocados are sourced from illegal farms in the breeding territory of monarch butterflies.

Key Lime Pie Avocado Mousse

  • 1 ½ avocado
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes (add a dash of the zest and keep some to add after you check the taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut cream
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill in the fridge, then serve. Garnish with a slice of lime or mint sprig for a nice presentation.

Pistachio Avocado Ice Cream

4 small servings

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (use coconut milk for extra richness)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • Dash of a green juice powder for color (optional)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (optional; add after maple syrup if you want it sweeter)

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender, freeze overnight. The next day, let thaw for 10 to 15 minutes and scoop to serve. If you want it creamier, blend in a blender. Top with chopped pistachios.

chocolate vegan mousse
Dalin Espinal uses avocados for decadent vegan desserts. Photo: Dalin Espinal

Dark Chocolate Mousse

(with avocado as a secret ingredient)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice.
  • 4 pitted dates (soak for 10 minutes or hot water on them for a couple of minutes)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maple syrup
  • Another pinch of salt, adjusted to taste

Blend in a food processor, chill, and serve.

Decadent Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Deborah DiMare of DiMare Design is a vegan interior design professional who emphasizes animal-free products in her room makeovers, as well as in her kitchen. She says her vegan desserts, such as this variation of chocolate mousse, are winners, even with non-vegan friends and family.

Deborah DiMare
Deborah DiMare. Photo: Deborah DiMare

Vegan Chocolate Almond Mousse

  • 2 cans (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, additional for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Mint leaves, for garnish

Pour coconut milk into a large bowl, whisk. Add salt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and almond extract. Whisk with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until thickened. Add toasted coconut. Pour into individual bowls or 1 large bowl. Refrigerate until set, about 2 to 3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Top with a mint leaf.

Dairy-Free Nice Cream

Barbara Cole Gates, founding director of Lean and Green Kids, shared her daughter’s amazingly simple recipe for what she refers to as “chunky monkey nice cream.” It requires only a blender. As an extra enticing perk, it’s ready to enjoy right away.

“It’s thick. It’s rich. It’s decadent,” Gates says.

Chunky Monkey Nice Cream

  • 2 to 3 bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup plant-based milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

In a blender, blend bananas, plant-based milk, peanut butter, and vanilla until thick and creamy, adding more milk if needed. Scoop into two bowls. Chop dates into small pieces. Sprinkle chopped dates and dark chocolate chips on top of nice cream and enjoy. Or add coconut shreds or whatever toppings you prefer.

vegan chickpea chocolate chip cookies
Yummy chickpea chocolate chip cookies. Photo: @foodsmithnyc,

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some staff members of the nonprofit organization affiliated with Meatless Monday offered a thumbs up for a few vegan dessert recipes from one of their partners, Goya.

Among the favorites was Goya’s chocolate chip cookies, made with chickpeas, often called garbanzo beans. With only vegan ingredients, the dough is safe for those who like to nibble directly from the mixing spoon. “The dough itself was delicious,” said Nara Sandberg, marketing & partnerships associate with Monday Campaigns.

On its recipe page, Goya states it’s a “cakey chocolate chip cookie that also happens to be vegan and gluten-free! In this sweet recipe, GOYA® Organic Chick Peas are puréed into the batter, adding a mild, slightly nutty taste and a moist, rich texture. Plus, the fiber-rich beans add a good dose of protein, too.”

  • 1 can Goya Organic Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon Goya cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, process chickpeas, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, oat flour, vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Process just until a smooth dough forms.

Add chocolate chips and pulse once or twice until the chips are well incorporated. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet; using wet fingers, pat down to flatten slightly. Repeat with remaining dough to make 16 cookies.

Bake until edges of cookies are golden brown and set — about 15-18 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling rack; cool completely before serving.

Sandberg also offered rave reviews for Goya’s Chia Pudding recipe. “Simple to prepare, this chia pudding is great for anytime — breakfast, dessert, or a mid-day snack. You can try different varieties with different types of fruits, plant milks, and sweeteners.”

Early Bird Preschool students making vegan apple pie
Students pitch in with vegan apple pie recipe. Photo: Early Bird Preschool

Other Vegan Dessert Ideas

  • Goly Casey, director of Early Bird Preschool in San Mateo, California, which serves only plant-based snacks, said her students helped make Easy Vegan Apple Pie and served it to their families. “It was easy for the kids to help make and it was delicious, like a traditional apple pie,” Casey says.
  • 3 Ingredient Snack Balls from Happy Cow
  • Strawberry Chia Seed Popsicles from Jar of Lemons

Feature image by Lindsey Savage on Unsplash. This article was originally published on September 16, 2019.

By Patti Roth

Patti began her writing career as a staff writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Still based in Florida, Patti serves as editor for Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. She regularly writes about environmental, home improvement, education, recycling, art, architecture, wildlife, travel and pet topics.