Isn’t it the plant-based dream to have two chefs on-hand working tirelessly to concoct vegan takes on the most mouth-watering desserts you can dream of (carrot cake, brownies, chocolate tarts, and more)? In Well+Good’s YouTube series Alt-Baking Bootcamp, chefs Mia Rigden and Jenny Dorsey make that particular daydream a reality by serving up healthy vegan desserts that prove cakes, cookies, and pies don’t have to be a thing of the past if you’re a plant-based eater.
During an era when we’re all spending a little more time at home, you may find yourself leaning into tying your apron and practicing some kitchen meditation aka cooking. So below, you’ll find a selection of 10 of Rigden and Dorsey’s best recipes to kick off your baking activities—all of which are vegan (or made vegan with just one to two very simple swaps). Assemble your baking sheets, pie tins, and stand mixers—it’s time to start baking.
These 100 percent vegan brownies come together in about 20 minutes—and have become a staple for me personally. Thanks to the black beans, every single bite is chock full of chocolatey fiber. (But I promise, they don’t taste like beans at all.)
It’s too hot to turn the oven on, and with this cheesecake, you won’t have to. All the magic happens in the fridge. The crust comes together with the help of dates and plenty of nutrient-dense nuts, and cashews stand-in for cheese. Keep this one in your freezer to have cooling slices at the ready all week long.
As you may know by now, carrots contain beta-carotene, a pigment that’s the precursor to vitamin A (which has been found to improve eyesight). That’s not all this cake has going for it, though. Like many of the recipes whipped up by Dorsey and Rigden, the cake’s nut content means it’s hiding a nice serving of protein that you don’t usually get with dessert. (Note: The original recipe calls for eggs, but Rigden says you can easily use flax eggs to make it vegan.)
4. Creamy, brain-healthy avocado mousse
Avocados are rich in omega-3s—or fatty acids that are wonderful for your brain and cardiovascular health. In this particular dessert, avocado does the nutritional work without making your chocolate mousse taste like a salad. Plus, its naturally creamy texture ensures you get a delicious, smooth pudding sans the use of heavy cream (obviously not first on a vegan’s favorite foods).
5. Chocolate crispy rice treats
Traditional Rice Krispy treats contain gelatin thanks to the marshmallows—and therefore are off-limits to vegans and stricter plant-based eaters. These bite-sized squares use a few magic (vegan) ingredients to create the same sticky-sweet texture you love from childhood. If you don’t eat honey, swap it for agave to achieve the same effect.
This wouldn’t be a dessert roundup without the dessert: chocolate chip cookies. As you move through this recipe, you’ll make a flax egg and learn the other ins and outs of vegan baking swaps—so consider this your 101 course (with a delicious diploma at the end).
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