You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.
Tender tofu and fresh-tasting mango sauce combine to make a nutritious, Japanese-style dessert with little effort. But don’t worry: your dessert will not taste beany. Silken soft tofu has a rather neutral flavour. The key here is to use blocks of very soft tofu as opposed to firm or extra-firm versions. Silken tofu is undrained and unpressed tofu. It has the highest water content of all types of tofu and is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. It’s ultra-soft texture means it can be easily blended with other ingredients and used to boost protein numbers in puddings, cakes, tarts, ice cream, and even smoothies.
Fool is a classic English dessert made, traditionally, by folding a stewed fruit into a creamy, sweet custard. This modern take adds layers of sweet pumpkin flavour and swaps out much of the cream for higher-protein Greek yogurt. The crunchy chocolate topping is a special finishing touch. Beat it It’s the fat in cream that helps trap air bubbles that make it light and fluffy. If it gets too warm, the fat melts and the air escapes. Start with a cold bowl and beaters (or a cold balloon whisk, if you’re whipping by hand). Put your bowl (ideally a stainless one) and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping. They’ll chill easily and help keep everything cool during the whipping process.
Blondies are basically “blonde brownies.” There is no cocoa or melted chocolate in the batter of a blondie. Here, the nutritionally lacklustre all-purpose flour is swapped out for puréed beans for a higher dose of protein. The end result is just as tender and chewy without any noticeable bean flavour. A great potluck dessert option, too. If desired, chopped nuts can be used instead of chocolate chips. Squeeze play To easily fit a piece of parchment paper into a baking dish, run it under cold water for a couple of seconds, scrunch it up, and then squeeze out the excess moisture. Now it will effortlessly form into the pan.
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This protein-heavy, plant-only sweet bread is great for breakfast, dessert, or a snack. Sweet potato provides natural sweetness, while peanut butter adds richness to each slice. Serve with your favourite jam or jelly, or even a smear of cream cheese. Substitutions You can make this recipe gluten-free by using all-purpose, gluten-free flour. And use rice or oat milk and sunflower seed butter if you or someone you know has an allergy. Date syrup would be a suitable substitution for maple syrup. Power powder Not just for smoothies, protein powder can also be used as a replacement for some (not all!) of the flour in baked goods like muffins and sweet breads to bolster protein numbers. Plant-based protein powders result in a better texture than dairy-based powders like whey, which tend to give baked goods a rubbery texture.
Surprise yourself with a rich and creamy, lemon-forward cottage cheese cheesecake that is much higher in protein than classic versions. A nut-based crust brings healthy fats to the dish and additional satiating protein. Serve it with berry sauce for a beautiful sweet tang and visual appeal. No springform pan? You can also make the cake using a regular round cake pan, but the recipe might make more cottage cheese filling than the pan can hold. Pan handling A springform pan is a piece of bakeware with sides that can be easily removed from the base. It’s the ideal pan for baking cheesecakes, quiches, mousses, and cakes. The removable sides of this pan allow the baked goods to be easily removed without damage.
Mousse—a perfect ending to a delicious meal, yet so much more. Our mousse can stand alone as a decadent treat served anytime of day. It’s made from the creamiest soy in combination with dark chocolate and espresso for an added kick. Chocolate know-how When dealing with chocolate, its important to have all ingredients at room temperature. Otherwise, the melted chocolate, as it’s added, will seize up and your mousse will be “one hot mess.”
Here’s a beautiful red-on-red salad. It has a great crunchy texture full of nutritional boosts for cardio health. From savoury to sweet, its guaranteed to be a favourite. Radicchio redux A great base for so many salads, radicchio adds just a hint of bitterness to make sweeter and more savoury flavours pop. If champagne vinegar is unavailable, substitute with a good quality sherry vinegar. Mix up the salad with walnuts instead of almonds and feta or Romano cheese instead of blue cheese. And for some extra fibrous protein, add cannellini beans.
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There is a beautiful confluence of flavours in this delightful heart-healthy dish. A bit of West meets East with buffalo and coconut flavours married with red peppers. Served over Israeli couscous, it’s a world of deliciousness in a single healthy dish. What is Israeli couscous? More of a pasta than a grain, Israeli couscous is made from little balls of hard wheat flour. It was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was rather scarce and grew to be a world staple. Substitute with orzo pasta if you wish. Grilling options If grilling outdoors isn’t an option, place oven rack in top third of oven and preheat broiler. Arrange kebab skewers on rimmed baking sheet and slide under broiler. Broil for 5 minutes, turning once for medium-rare kebabs. Broil a couple minutes longer for medium kebabs.
Seared scallops offer a little bit of decadence to special occasions. This tasty seafood dish is not only pretty, but it’s also full of flavour. And scallops are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids—a healthy fat that can balance cholesterol, thereby reducing risks associated with heart disease. Chiffonade how-to To chiffonnade basil leaves, stack leaves on top of each other. Roll them up tightly together into a cylinder shape. Then holding firmly, slice cylinder crosswise very thinly with a sharp knife, creating ribbons of basil. Separate the ribbons and fluff them up.
Here’s a delicious vegan dish that’s perfect for heart health and a Valentine’s dinner. Red kuri squash hails from Japan and has brilliant orange flesh. And the skin is edible too! It’s not such a struggle to cut, and the flavour almost has a buttery nutty overtone. We paired it with a filling made of powerful nutrients that will keep your cardio ticking well. Flexibility plus If kuri squash is hard to find, switch it up with a kabocha or acorn squash. If pomegranates aren’t to be found, substitute with dried cranberries or golden raisins that have been plumped in warm water. Chinese five-spice powder A tasty seasoning to have on hand for a myriad of dishes, Chinese five-spice powder is delicious sprinkled over chicken, pork, or glazed carrots and is so easy to make on your own. In dry pan, toast 5 whole star anise pods and 2 tsp (10 mL) peppercorns over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to spice grinder along with 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) fennel seeds. Pulse until finely ground. Pass through sieve into small bowl. Stir in 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves. Store in tightly sealed jar for up to 6 months. Makes approximately 1/4 cup (60 mL).
Gazpacho is traditionally served cold; however, creativity rules, and heating up cold soups in winter is a cozy fix that doesn’t compromise flavours! We’ve puréed this gazpacho to a creamy state. If you long for more texture, leave out some chunks of roasted beets. Finely dice and add at the end. For best results, home-roasted beets will ensure optimum freshness. Cut large, unpeeled beets in half and rub with oil. Place in an oven-safe pan. Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) water to pan. Cover and bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until fork tender. Remove, and once cooled, peel outer skins. Refrigerate until ready to make gazpacho. In a bind? Many grocery stores sell cooked beets in the produce aisle. Canned beets can also be substituted.
Dukkah, meaning “to pound” in Arabic, is a delicious nut and seed blend originating from the Middle East. Blends vary according to region and are typically enjoyed with bread dipped in olive oil. Our savoury dukkah recipe is a delicious blend of heart-healthy walnuts and almonds, served with our spicy hot gazpacho. Change it up Dukkah can be made using a variety of nuts and spices—no need to limit your imagination! It’s delicious sprinkled over hummus, yogurt, and roasted vegetables. Heart-healthy walnuts Walnuts are especially high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One serving is approximately a small handful of nuts or 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of nut butter.
The versatility of white beans shines through in this dish, which employs them in two different ways: simmered and then roasted until crispy. The beans crown luscious sweet potato, flavoured with sage and thyme, heaped high on crispy tortillas. Not only do the beans provide a good source of protein, but the fibre in this dish provides 57 percent of our recommended daily value, along with healthy amounts of iron and potassium. Rinse your beans Rinsing beans before you use them will help remove any salt. Even if you are using no-salt-added beans, rinsing the beans will prepare them for you to infuse your own flavours into them.