Need some new Valentine’s Day ideas? The St. Valentine’s holiday history is an eclectic mix of flying cherubs from Greece, several Christian clerics named Valentine, forbidden Roman marriages, pagan fertility rights and chaste, courtly love. This year we thought we’d simplify things; skip the long-stem roses, mystery-filling chocolates, mass-produced cards and heart-shaped jewelry for a more personalized, equally classic show of affection: the homemade treat.
If your sweetie is already sweet enough, and you prefer to be able to pronounce all the ingredients in the next dessert, look no further! These treats have little to no added sugar, few ingredients, and very nearly make themselves!
1. One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream (Plus Four Flavors)
This recipe is so easy, we really only needed a link for the inspirational pictures. Yummy, yummy pictures…
2. Healthy 3-Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Where would your ice cream be without hot fudge? We’re of the opinion that all desserts are potentially just ornate displays for (healthy) fudge sauce…and this recipe is gluten-free, vegan and has no added sugar! And if you’re into salted chocolate, do a quick rough grind of Pink Himalayan salt on top of your fudgy treat for crunch!
3. Sugar-Free Baked Apple Slices
Warm dishes make us feel warm and tender apples fresh from the oven double the cuddle potential. If you’re out of pie spice, don’t worry, a little cinnamon goes a long way and too much spice will interfere with the subtle flavors of a good apple. Better yet, mix it up with several different types of apple, add zest from that fresh-squeezed orange and you can avoid spices altogether to enjoy the subtlety of flavors. Need an apple slicer to speed up the job? We’ve got you covered.
4. Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites
We love a ridiculously simple recipe with room to grow. Experiment with flavored yogurt (we recommend Greek styles), different fresh and frozen fruits, different nuts and spices in your granola. The sky’s the limit! We suggest silicone or paper muffin cups to cut down on cleanup and keep your fingers pristine when enjoying your tasty jewels of fruity goodness.
5. Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough
Eating raw dough with a spoon is the height of decadence. Now you don’t have to feel guilty! (Or worry about Salmonella from the raw eggs–even though we all just ignore that concept when licking the spatula. I mean, I’ve certainly never seen a scientific study on it.)
6. Fruit Leather
What better way to inspire timeless romance than a classic remix? If you were a kid once, and you had packed lunches, you probably had some version of fruit leathers. Now you can reimagine the old classics without the gelatin or added sugar. Make a sheet of ruby-red deliciousness and go to town with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, or show your true colors with a rainbow of flavors lined up in one pan!
7. Savory Green Waffles
These gorgeous green waffles don’t have to be savory, but they’re a great way to think outside the fluffy golden box and try toppings like gruyere and sliced green apples, prosciutto and cantaloupe, avocado and citrus-salt…you may never go back to plain maple syrup again. If spinach is too earthy or you don’t have any handy, try a scoop or two of a green superfood like wheatgrass powder.
8. Overnight Oats Five Ways
Breakfast in bed is always romantic, and what better reason for both of you to stay under the covers longer when breakfast practically makes itself! Here are 5 ways to elevate oatmeal in ways that are sure to give you plenty of excuses to stay put: Carrot Cake, Blueberry Lemon, Strawberry and Chocolate, Banana Nut and Piña Colada!
9. Healthy Avocado Brownies
The healthy fats in a cup of avocado provide roughly 700 fewer calories than the same measurement of butter. They’re sweetened with banana—and we’ve used another half cup of banana when out of maple syrup. No, they’re not green, and yes, they taste like chocolate. Ooey gooey chocolate.
10. Avocado Coconut Mousse
This mini-recipe is perfect for experimenting if you enjoy playing with your food! We’ve experimented with textures and flavors from vanilla and brandy to cinnamon and a dash of cayenne! Make a cup at a time or increase the recipe amounts when you’ve found your sweet spot!
Katherine Warner is a full-time freelance writer and graphic designer who never follows the same recipe twice and shamelessly collects cookbooks for their pictures. She grows heirloom tomatoes, teaches Wine & Paint classes and can make Eggs Benedict from scratch as long as she can sleep in beforehand.