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Eat Your Vegetables For Dessert

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Eat Your Vegetables For Dessert

My friend Irina markets herself as a “seasonal” eater — eating only locally-grown produce and naturally only when it’s in season. In fact in the course of the summer, she goes to great lengths to identify and patronize every farmer’s market from here (mid-Maine) to the Canadian border.

Her family, on the other hand, is not nearly as selective. After a decade of explaining the benefits of local, seasonal produce, she’s all but given up as her husband and three teenage boys’ idea of a well-balanced meal and dessert runs more to pepperoni pizza and peanut butter cups than pasta primavera and poached pears. What’s more, with what Irina figures must be her family’s genetic predisposition to sweets (well, almost), the idea of any of them snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables is about as likely as Irina, herself, embarking on a Skittles diet.

After a decade of begging and cajoling, Irina decided to meet her family half way by incorporating her favorite seasonal bounty into desserts and snacks for what she quips is her “bad food brood.”

By surveying the endless possibilities of making seasonal vegetables the heart and soul of tasty desserts, Irina makes sure her family replaces all those empty calories they typically consume with healthier alternatives. In many cases, the vegetables’ inherent sweetness precludes the use of sugar, which serves as an added benefit.

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“If the boys (husband included) won’t come to the sweet potato, the sweet potato will find its way to the boys,” she says, “along with the zucchini, mung beans, cauliflower, kale, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage, etc.”

These tempting vegetable dessert recipes couldn’t be simpler to prepare and just may bring your own “bad food brood” around to the pulchritude of produce!


Sweet Potato & Fig Flourless Cakes

1 cup pureed sweet potato
3 to 4 dried figs, diced and soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water
4 egg yolks

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix egg yolks and figs (including water) together in a cake mixer. Add sweet potato puree and blend some more. Pour into silicon  muffin molds or regular greased muffin pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

 Red Cabbage Cake
2 cups chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup oats
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the frosting:
1/4 cup of light cream cheese
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix together cabbage and oats. Add egg, unsweetened applesauce, and cinnamon. Make sure all ingredients are incorporated well in cake mixer. Pour into greased or silicon pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Combine cream cheese and yogurt and top cake when it cools. (Note: If frosting isn’t quite sweet enough for you, add a little confectioner’s sugar or other form of sweetener. However a lot of the dessert’s sweetness will come from the cake.)

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1 bob thompson { 06.30.14 at 9:02 pm }

Whenever I need fresh veggies, I always check out They consistently provide me with the best tomatoes, peppers, onions and more!

2 Shirley { 05.22.14 at 10:47 am }

Hello, thanks for the recipes. Money is tight right now so we have been buying more veggies than fruit. I do have a lot of pear sauce in my freezer though so I will be making the red cabbage one for sure. I make my own Greek yogurt with full fat organic milk I will use that. Thanks so much.

3 Stephanie Todd { 05.22.14 at 9:17 am }

I am concerned that the new message about sugar and carbs is not getting through to people. Both of these recipes are too high in sugar. And using full-fat dairy products would help make the cabbage recipe more satiating and healthier. The low-fat trend has been discredited.

4 rose { 05.21.14 at 9:38 am }

I am so very excited to hear how people are using locally grown produce and hopefully following the organically grown trend. Most eager to try these recipes and am grateful they are posted. Thank You!

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