Recipes on My Radar: Healthier Desserts

I may be a dietitian, but I, too, have an active sweet tooth that needs to be tamed on a regular (if not daily) basis. Rather than deprive myself of treats entirely, or settle onto the couch with a nightly pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I try to make dessert recipes that feature healthy ingredients, like whole grains, fruit, and nuts, and are naturally sweetened as much as possible. That way, sweets aren’t a total nutritional loss.

These first two cookie recipes I’m sharing have tahini, which is a creamy paste of ground up sesame seeds (you might know it as the other ingredient in hummus, besides chickpeas). Nut butters and seeds are used in desserts all the time (peanut butter and chocolate, anyone?) so I thought I would get a little more creative with my tahini and give some whole grain cookies a nutrition boost. That being said, I don’t bake often. So the last recipe I’m leaving you with is the dessert I end up making at least once per week (#guilty). Curious? Read on!

Almond Butter Tahini Blueberry cookies

Almond Butter Blueberry Cookies from Green Kitchen Stories // These cookies certainly aren’t “light” or “low cal,” but they are filled with wholesome ingredients like nut butter, whole grains, and fruit. I subbed whole wheat flour for the buckwheat flour in this recipe, but kept everything else the same. The combination of blueberries and maple is reminiscent of a blueberry pancake, making these vegan cookies the perfect morning snack. It is a rare treat to feel nourished, rather than lousy, after eating a cookie (or two…) but these definitely do the trick!

Whole Grain Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Whole Wheat Tahini Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Food Fanatic // These delightful chocolate chunk cookies aren’t quite as superfood-packed as the recipe above, but I highly recommend this creative, healthier take on my all-time favorite dessert. I subbed canola oil for vegetable oil, but followed the rest of this recipe to a T. If you’re looking for a way to sneak some whole grains into the cookie jar, then look no further!

Dark Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal (inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie) // There is no chocolate craving that this decadent porridge recipe can’t take care of. I know that not everyone is as oatmeal obsessed as I am, but this dish is a great gateway into the wonderful world of oats. When heated, the banana beautifully melts into the oatmeal, so all it takes is a good stir to get the sweetness to distribute evenly throughout (no other sweeteners are necessary). This recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, but I use a HEAPING 2 tablespoons, in addition to some ground flaxseed and a generous splash of milk.

– Kelly


Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (Slow Cooker)

Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (Slow Cooker)

Don’t let the name of this recipe fool you. Tart from the cranberries, sweet from the apple cider, and warm and gooey from the slow-cooked steel cut oats, this oatmeal tastes remarkably like cherry cobbler. Don’t ask how I got from cran-apple to cherry (sweet and tart, remember???), just go with it.

Even though this is naturally sweetened steel cut oatmeal we’re talking about, it may even be too rich for breakfast. (But don’t worry, I won’t tell!) I mean, I really can’t overstate the uncanny resemblance between this dish and cherry cobbler.

Regardless of when your hunger strikes, this deliciously fruity porridge will go perfectly with a cold glass of milk, a creamy latte, or a sizeable scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’ll leave the choice up to you!

Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (Slow Cooker)

Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (Slow Cooker)

Serves 4


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups unsweetened Apple Cider (0r apple juice)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed


  1. Lightly coat the inside of a programmable slow cooker with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Pour all ingredients into the slow cooker, then stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4.5 to 5 hours. I use a programmable slow cooker so that I can get more than five hours of sleep and still wake up to warm oatmeal. (Once the oatmeal is done cooking the programmed amount of time, the slow cooker automatically switches to a ‘warm’ setting and holds the food warm.)
  4. Divide into 4 bowls and serve immediately, or put leftover servings into the fridge for later. To reheat individual servings, simply microwave on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 300 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 51g carbohydrates (9g fiber, 15g sugar), 10g protein, 20mg sodium, 1% Vitamin A, 6% Vitamin C, 12% Iron, 8% Calcium

Cranberry Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (Slow Cooker)

– Kelly