If wheat flour is a no-go — either for lack of supply, because you're celebrating Passover or you simply choose to keep it out of your diet — rest assured that there are plenty of treats to make on your baking spree.
There are some good substitutes for wheat flour that can still give you a great dessert, baked or unbaked. It's important to know that you can't substitute these one-for-one with wheat flour in a recipe. Stick with recipe instructions and find one with a flourless option for the best results.
- Oats: Oats can be ground up in a food processor to a fine dust, resembling flour. It can be used in desserts such as baked fruit bars, no-bake cookies or energy bites. Note that oats that come in contact with water aren't kosher for Passover.
- Almonds or almond flour: Almond flour is just ground up almonds and is used in many desserts that don't require the gluten from wheat flour. You can buy almond flour or grind your own using almonds.
- Cornmeal: If you give cornmeal and an extra trip around the food processor, you will get a very fine flour-type consistency. Cornmeal is versatile but will provide that distinct corn flavor.
Then again, there's nothing wrong with a grain-free dessert, too. Fruit, dairy and plant-based options are all delicious and don't require any flour and minimal effort. Flourless desserts can often be made with ingredients you already have in your pantry, fridge or freezer, so try these delicious recipes below.
1. Flourless Chocolate-Chip Dessert Pancakes With Smashed Raspberries
- Calories: 273
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
These flourless pancakes aren't just for breakfast. They are made with just three ingredients: bananas, eggs and salt. Adding in the chocolate pumps up the dessert factor and the frozen fruit makes it a super convenient way to get in your fruit servings for the day.
With 6 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein in these pancakes, your dessert will help you get a little closer to the recommended daily amount of fiber of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Get the Flourless Chocolate-Chip Dessert Pancakes With Smashed Raspberries recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Raw Oat and Cacao Cookie Bites
- Calories: 137
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
If you think cookies after dinner is not in the cards, then you should make these and stash them in the fridge. You could also package them up in individual-serving snack bags because at 137 calories for two balls, you really can treat yourself any time of day.
Don't think you have to buy fancy oat flour for this, just blend up old-fashioned oats in your blender or food processor to get the oat flour. Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which can help remove cholesterol from the body, potentially improving heart health, according to a June 2011 review in Nutrition Reviews.
Get the Raw Oat and Cacao Cookie Bites recipe and nutrition info here.
3. No-Bake Honey and Peanut Butter Cookies
- Calories: 257
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
This no-bake cookie is a timeless classic with a tasty yet healthy upgrade. Traditionally made with generous helpings of sugar and butter, this recipe calls for natural peanut butter, honey and dark chocolate. If peanut butter is not in the cards for you, easily substitute your favorite nut butter or sunflower butter to still enjoy a tasty flourless, no-bake dessert.
Choose the darkest chocolate you can for more nutrition. The darker the bar, the more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant polyphenols it contains, according to January 2015 research in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Get the No-Bake Honey Peanut Butter Cookies recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars
- Calories: 204
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
When you can get fiber and chocolate in with the same dessert, we call that winning. With only 204 calories for two bars, you might be tempted to have more.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 recommends getting at least half of your grains from whole-grain sources, and this dessert will help you meet those recs thanks to the puffed brown rice cereal. Not only is brown rice a whole grain, but it also adds a satisfying crunch to your treat. And with the polyphenols from the dark chocolate, this is the perfect flourless dessert.
Get the Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Blueberry Oat Bar
- Calories: 139
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
A baked dessert with only 139 calories per bar means you can either have two or add a piece of fruit and still stay under your 300-calorie limit. There is nothing but nutrition happening with these blueberry bars. Most of the sugar comes from dates and you get whole grains and protein from the oats and almonds.
Blueberries have long been studied for their health benefits, in fresh and frozen form. The sweet-tart berries are anti-inflammatory and are associated with improved gut health, according to a March 2020 review article published in Advances in Nutrition. Get the benefits of blueberries with this flourless dessert that will not disappoint.
Get the Blueberry Oat Bar recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert Hummus
- Calories: 102 calories
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
If you've never had dessert hummus, you don't know what you're missing. You've had savory hummus, so you know how smooth, creamy and thick blended chickpeas can become. Add in a few more delicious flavors, like pumpkin and cinnamon, and the creaminess is even more intense.
That's just what this dessert does — and with each serving coming in at just over 100 calories, feel free to pair this with strawberries or bananas for even more nutrition.
Chickpeas are a source of folate, which is important if you are a woman who is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. Getting enough folate is important to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Get the Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert Hummus recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Mango Salad With Lemony Coconut Cream
- Calories: 189
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Protein: 1 gram
Fruit is always a smart choice for dessert and the natural sweetness of mango paired with the zesty coconut cream will make you feel like you're treating yourself. This recipe works with fresh or thawed frozen mango and you can even substitute honey for the maple syrup if you don't it on hand.
Mangos are a source of vitamin C and that is important for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron from plant-based sources, such as beans, spinach, lentils and nuts.
Mangos get sweeter as they ripen, so choose to cut your mango when it gives in to the touch a little.
Get the Mango Salad With Lemony Coconut Cream recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Chia Pudding
- Calories: 187
- Fiber: 8 grams
- Protein: 9 grams
Chia pudding is a wonder of healthy desserts everywhere. When chia seeds are submerged in a liquid, the result is a pudding-like consistency. This recipe adds tofu, which not only contributes to the ultra-creaminess of the pudding but also ups the protein content. This dessert is 100-percent plant-based, so you can pat yourself on the back that you're adding more plants to your diet — with dessert.
Chia seeds are a nutrition powerhouse. Gram for gram, chia seeds have more fiber than oats, quinoa and even flaxseeds, according to May 2019 research published in Nutrients. They are also a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation.
Get the Chia Pudding recipe and nutrition info here.
- Harvard Medical School: "Why Stress Causes People to Overeat"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Fiber"
- United States Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020
- Advances in Nutrition: "Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins."
- National Institutes of Health: "Folate"
- National Institutes of Health: "Vitamin C"
- Nutrients: "The Chemical Composition and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds—Current State of Knowledge"
- Nutrition Reviews: "Cholesterol-lowering Effects of Oat β-Glucan"
- Journal of Functional Foods: "Polyphenol antioxidants in commercial chocolate bars: Is the label accurate?"