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A Sweet Story: Spring Desserts Ideal for Special Diets

Get the RecipeRaspberry Nice Cream

Nutritional restrictions don’t mean you have to skip dessert. And they don’t mean you have to settle for something that’s less than delicious. Spring’s fresh flavors and bright fruits make it an ideal season to experiment with some new ways of cooking and baking. That’s great news if you’re dedicated to an alternative diet or looking to please friends and family who are, but it’s also an invitation to try out some new recipes and ingredients that end your meals on a lighter note. And the desserts here prove you won’t be missing a thing!

Raspberry Mousse Recipe

Vegan

Smooth, airy desserts are a hallmark of spring, and eggs and dairy aren’t the only way to get that creamy lightness. Raspberry Mousse is a beautiful and incredibly tasty treat that gets richness from silken tofu. Ditto with these Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake Bites, a recipe that’s sweetened with just dates and fruit, a bonus if you’re looking to use less refined sweeteners.

Triple Layer Vegan Carrot Cake with Soy Cream Cheese Frosting is a deliciously vegan version complete with lots of creamy frosting. If chocolate is a must-have in your household, Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcakes are a great choice, as is yummy Banana-Cocoa Snack Cake, an inspired combo of cocoa and coconut that’s sweetened with dates.

Raw Berry Crisp Recipe

Grain-Free (Paleo Friendly)

Dishes free of grains are amazingly popular right now. Committed Paleo or not, it’s a fun to take advantage of the season’s good fruit and lighter eating to expand your dessert horizons. Raw Berry Crisp is absolutely one of the easiest, tastiest spring recipes I know, and if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers it’s light enough to enjoy as a breakfast (yum!).

For or an everyday dessert, you can’t beat Raspberry Nice Cream, made with just three super-healthy ingredients. Stepping it up a bit, Mango, Raspberry and Cashew Cream Parfaits are light and lovely enough for company. Two other crowd-pleasing, grain-free options are Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, a spring classic, and Strawberry-Orange Popsicles, delicious enough to woo adults. (Note that these last two suggestions may not be considered Paleo because they may include cane sugar.)

Flourless Brownies Recipe

Gluten-Free

All of the fruit-based desserts listed above under Grain-Free are also gluten-free, so definitely peruse those for some brilliant ideas. But if you’re committed to baking you’ve also got lots of options. Ricotta and almond flavor this Gluten-Free Italian Cornmeal Cake that goes fabulously with a garnish of fresh spring berries and whipped cream.

For a fruit-laden, easy-to-bake dish you can’t beat Raspberry-Almond Crumble, a dessert that takes advantage of coconut flour for a crunchy topping. Flourless Chocolate Brownies, fudgy and delicious, are a top choice for picnics, and Chocolate Earth Balls are spot-on for a spring Earth Day celebration.

Fizzy Lemon Floats Recipe

Low-Fat

The desire to lighten up is a spring tradition for many of us, and desserts with less fat seem to taste brighter this time of year. For a delicious variation on meringues, a classic for Passover, try Chocolate Swirl Meringue Cookies, full of deep chocolate flavor with a hint of orange. You can also take advantage of meringue’s low-fat qualities, plus work in the beauty of some great fruit, in elegant Pavlovas, gorgeous pillows of fluffy meringues topped with jewel-like fruits; two great ones are Berry Pavlovas and exotic Satsuma and Pomegranate Pavlovas.

For a truly light ending to a spring brunch, Fizzy Lemon Floats, a delicious gelato-based treat garnished with herbs, are ideal. Finally, a hit with both kids and adults are Carrot Walnut Cookies, sweetened with fruits instead of refined sweeteners so they’re also wonderfully low in sugar.

Got a go-to spring dessert of your own? Tell us about it!