13 Mediterranean Desserts That Don't Go Overboard on the Sweet Stuff

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If you’ve decided to commit to the Mediterranean diet, you’re probably not going to eat dessert every day, but you have to live. And to us, living means eating the sweet stuff on occasion. If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into a forkful of lemon cake or a fudgy brownie, then you know what’s up. To give you something to look forward to, we’ve rounded up these Mediterranean dessert recipes so those following the diet can throw on their baker’s hat and prepare to satisfy hankerings without breaking the rules.

You’ll be swapping out butter for olive oil and adding in whole-wheat flour instead of refined flour. These Mediterranean diet treats deserve a front-and-center spot in your next dessert spread, or you know, some personal attention the next time your sweet tooth starts tingling.

1. Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake



Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake Recipe


Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake Recipe
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Photo: The Mediterranean Dish

For those who like their desserts not so lip-puckeringly sweet, this cake will be your new go-to choice. We picture ourselves dunking the dense cake in a cup of tea. Don’t be alarmed when your batter comes out super thick— you’re doing it right. Also, this is not the time to skimp out and get cheap extra virgin olive oil; the good stuff will make all the difference.

2. Popped Quinoa Crunch Bar



Popped Quinoa Crunch Bar


Popped Quinoa Crunch Bar
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Photo: The Garlic Diaries

If you’ve ever fallen in love in the snack aisle, it was probably with a chocolate and peanut butter treat (looking at you, Reese’s). While the smooth texture of the PB is glorious, the popped quinoa in this homemade recipe brings some serious crunch. Take 1/4 cup of dry quinoa in a heated heavy-bottomed pot, and it’ll transform from its raw grainy self to something nutty and delicious. Trust us, you’ll want popped quinoa in your desserts more often.

3. Honey Almond Ricotta Spread With Peaches



Honey Almond Ricotta Spread Recipe


Honey Almond Ricotta Spread Recipe
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Photo: Aggies Kitchen

When you’re in the mood to indulge in something extra savory and cheese-filled for dessert instead of the obvious cookie or cupcake, this creamy recipe is just that. Sweetened with a hint of honey, nuts, and fruit, this spread is best served with a toasted slice of whole-grain or Ezekiel bread.

4. Blueberry Muffins



Blueberry Muffins Recipe


Blueberry Muffins Recipe
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Photo: Mediterranean Living

One key part of the Mediterranean diet is kicking butter to the curb and swapping in olive oil. This recipe does just that, and it also calls for adding some whole-wheat flour into the mix, which gives it a nuttier, heartier taste. Did we mention you can whip up the batter for these muffins in fewer than 10 minutes?

5. Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake



Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake


Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
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Photo: Hanady Kitchen

This decadent indulgence might look like it should be left to the professionals, but don’t be intimidated. Picture this as a massive fudge brownie that anyone can make with an added hint of espresso flavor. Don’t skimp on the quality and make sure to bake it with chocolate that contains at least 70-percent cocoa.

6. Healthy Energy Bites



Healthy Energy Bites Recipe


Healthy Energy Bites Recipe
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Photo: E.A. Stewart

These energy bites are just as good for a pre-workout snack as they are a post-dinner sweet. If you’ve ever had Trader Joe’s similar version (cashew apricot date and nut bites), then you’ll know where this blogger got her inspiration to make these. The homemade recipe is packed with simple and wholesome ingredients like dried apricots, cashews, shredded coconut, dates, and citrus zest. Gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan eaters alike should all bookmark this recipe ASAP.

7. Roasted Fruit



Roasted Fruit Recipe


Roasted Fruit Recipe
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Photo: She Wears Many Hats

We’ve got good news: Caramelizing isn’t only for onions. If you’re a fan of fruit but looking for something a little more satisfying than biting into a raw apple, try roasting your favorite fruits in the oven with brown sugar. This recipe calls for only five minutes of prep and four ingredients: peaches, fresh blueberries, cinnamon, and brown sugar. We bet apples and pears would taste pretty darn good too.

8. Whole Grain Citrus and Olive Oil Muffins



Whole Grain Citrus and Olive Oil Muffins Recipe


Whole Grain Citrus and Olive Oil Muffins Recipe
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Photo: Pralines and Greens

These muffins are all about the texture. They’re made with spelt flour, rolled oats, and carrots that are later studded with chopped almonds on top. To sweeten things up, you’ll need orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. This is how you have dessert for breakfast.

9. Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake



Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake Recipe


Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cake Recipe
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Photo: Culinary Hill

When friends are coming over in an hour and you need something that will impress, this lemon cake is a quick way to get a star dessert on your table. You’ll be whisking together common ingredients like unsweetened almond milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, olive oil, and whole-wheat pastry flour. The best part is the fancy sweet glaze on top that only requires powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

10. Pistachio No-Bake Snack Bars



Pistachio No Bake Snack Bars Recipe


Pistachio No Bake Snack Bars Recipe
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Photo: Shaw Simple Swaps

When you need a little kick but can’t drink another cup of coffee, this pistachio snack bar is the perfect energizing combo of nutty and sweet. In your shopping cart, you’ll need: pitted dates, pistachios, rolled old-fashioned oats, pistachio butter (use almond if that’s what you have on hand), unsweetened applesauce, and vanilla extract. Be prepared to fight over the last bite.

11. Maple Vanilla Baked Pears



Maple Vanilla Baked Pears Recipe


Maple Vanilla Baked Pears Recipe
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Photo: Sallys Baking Addition

Thanks to this simple dessert, we now know that we definitely like our fruits way better when they are dripping with maple syrup. You’ll be throwing together pears (preferably D’Anjou), pure maple syrup, cinnamon, and pure vanilla extract. Dessert’s up in 25 minutes.

12. Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies



Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
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Photo: Cooking On The Weekends

Everyone needs a reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe in their back pocket. Prove your baking prowess with these olive oil-filled sweet treats that will have your friends reaching for seconds (if you don’t get to them first). Swap out the semisweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate chunks or shavings that have more than 70-percent cocoa. You most likely have the rest of the ingredients already waiting on your pantry shelf.

13. Fig Almond Olive Oil Cake



Fig Almond Olive Oil Cake Recipe


Fig Almond Olive Oil Cake Recipe
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Photo: Gourmande In The Kitchen

You don’t need to be a Julia Child prodigy to nail this recipe on the first try. Consider this similar to a pound cake but less dense with its almond flour and olive oil filling. You’ll know it’s ready when the edges and your sweet fig reach a perfect golden brown.

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