Simple And Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

By:    Published: November 16, 2011

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Thanksgiving may be a very food-oriented holiday, but that doesn't mean that you can't make some healthy choices as you fill your plate. It's easy to think of healthy things to do with your main course and side dishes since you can incorporate things like vegetables and lighter sauces. But what about dessert? Below are some of the best recipes for healthy desserts which are both tasty and appropriate for the holiday.

Low-Fat Pumpkin Pie

This delicious recipe swaps out fatty ingredients for healthier, lighter ones to create a delicious pumpkin pie that has a significant amount of vitamin A, calcium and iron. Instead of heavy cream, you can use non-fat evaporated milk, while some of the all-purpose flour can be replaced by whole-wheat flour for added nutrients and fiber. In addition, the crust in this recipe uses canola oil to cut out about three-quarters of the fat compared to a traditional pumpkin pie.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. ice water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 16-oz. can plain pumpkin puree
  • 1 12-oz. can nonfat evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Mix the flours, granulated sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt in a bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, continuing to cook until the butter turns light brown.
  3. Pour the butter into a separate bowl.
  4. Once the butter is cool, stir in the oil.
  5. Add the butter and oil mixture to the flour mixture, mixing with a fork until it becomes crumbly.
  6. Slowly stir in ice water until the dough holds together.
  7. Press the dough into a flattened disk by placing it between sheets of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin.
  8. Place the disk in a 9-inch pie pan, folding the edges over the rim and crimping them. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator when finished.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  10. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add in the pumpkin, evaporated milk, molasses and vanilla.
  11. Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ¼ tsp. salt in a separate bowl.
  12. Rub the brown sugar mixture through a sieve into the pumpkin mixture, then whisk until it is mixed evenly.
  13. Pour the filling into the pie pan.
  14. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

Date and Nut Tarts

These small tars have a salty sweetness that is perfect for after a Thanksgiving meal. The combination of nuts and dates is ideal for the fall season, plus they are much healthier than many other types of desserts. Smart choices like low-fat cream cheese and whole-wheat flour make a big difference when it comes to health benefits. These tarts are low in carbohydrates and calories while still having a significant amount of fiber and potassium.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup dates, pitted and dried
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
  3. Mix the flour, ¼ cup brown sugar, cornstarch, walnuts, 2 tbsp. butter and salt in a food processor.
  4. Place about 1 ¼ tsp. of the mixture into each cup and press into the bottoms.
  5. Mix the dates, water, ¼ cup brown sugar and 2 ½ tbsp. of butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  6. Cook the mixture in the saucepan for about 8 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked away. Stir frequently throughout the cooking process.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix it in a food processor until it becomes a paste.
  8. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix to combine.
  9. Put the mixture in a bowl and stir in the pecans.
  10. Divide the mixture evenly amount the muffin cups and gently press the filling down into the cups.
  11. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  12. Allow the pans to cool for about 10 minutes, then gently remove the tarts from the cups.
  13. Sprinkle the tarts with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Sweet Potato Pudding

This simple dessert is easy to make and fun to eat. With this pudding, you get the great health benefits of sweet potatoes, like antioxidants and improved blood sugar levels. Plus, it's low in fat and contains a significant amount of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 16 oz. evaporated skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix everything but the evaporated milk in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the ingredients at a medium speed until smooth.
  4. Add the evaporated milk and mix until mixed evenly.
  5. Pour the mixture into a 2-qt. casserole pan coated with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour.
  7. Let the pudding cool, then cover and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Sources:

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