Confession- I am a dessert addict. Seriously, it’s bad. If given a chance, I would eat dessert all day, every day and never need anything else. Of course, this is soooo not healthy and I try my hardest to avoid eating a slew of dessert but I always need to have at least one sweet thing a day.
When I started following a paleo diet, this dessert need of mine became even more challenging as my simple go-to’s like ice cream and a quick chocolate bar were now off limits. However, I like a challenge and finding new, healthier ways to satisfy my sweet tooth is something I am ready to do! I would make myself a Paleo dessert master! Because, let’s face it, eliminating dessert was just not an option for me.
Paleo Diet Rules
Just in case you are unfamiliar with Paleo dieting, I thought I’d give you a very quick review of what it is (very short as you can read whole books on Paleo diets but I’ll save you some time!). Essentially eating a Paleo diet means eating natural food that would grow in the wild, unassisted by humans. People refer to the diet as ‘the caveman diet’ as you eat what a caveman could have eaten thousands of years ago.
Packaged foods and man made foods are out. This means goodbye refined sugar, goodbye processed flour and adios to anything that has a long list of ingredients full of additives and preservative. Healthy meats, veggies, nuts and fruit are very good according to Paleo rules –hooray! Dairy is questionable as it is naturally made by animals but since it is so heavily processed and regulated, many people on Paleo diets skip it.
Paleo Dessert Recipes
Now that you know the very basics of Paleo dieting, think about those rules in conjuncture with dessert. If you want to make, say, a berry crisp, you would need to skip the sugar, flour and the butter. What is left? How would this dessert work?! It isn’t easy making dessert for a Paleo dieter without these essential baking ingredients. Butter, sugar and flour are in so many baked goods that it seems next to impossible to get rid of them all and still have a delicious dessert left behind.
Thankfully, there are plenty of Paleo friendly alternatives to most baking ingredients. Sugar can be replaced by natural honey, unrefined coconut sugar or even maple syrup. Coconut oil makes a great substitute for butter. And flour, well, go for almond flour, coconut flour or oat flour- all fantastic replacements and much healthier than white flour.
Yes, there are replacements for everything that is “banned” by a Paleo diet but the trick is to get all of these substitutions to work well together. Understanding how each ingredient works and how they effect a recipe is essential. Replacing white, all purpose flour with almond flour will result in a very dense baked good. Using honey rather than granulated sugar will make a pastry dense and much more moist. Learning about Paleo friendly ingredients is important but don’t worry, I have done the work for you! This recipe is Paleo friendly and delicious despite not using regular flour, sugar or butter.
Paleo Berry Crisp
Once I researched how to make Paleo desserts and thought about all the ways I could use healthy, Paleo ingredients to please my sweet tooth, I got to work on making on of my favorite desserts a Paleo reality. Time to perfect the Paleo berry crisp!
Whenever I make berry crisp, I always start with frozen mixed berries. While fresh berries work well too, I have found that frozen berries are inexpensive and also have a more consistent quality. Since you can buy fresh berries year round, you can also have this dessert anytime no matter what season!
Honey, almond flour and coconut oil were my choices for the crisp topping. All Paleo friendly and they all mixed together beautifully to make a perfect crumble topping. Since I first created this recipe, I have come up with a few variations on the topping that you can also try.
- Use ½ cup almond flour and ½ cup rolled oats
- Use coconut sugar rather than honey and add 1 tablespoon more coconut oil to help bind the dough (since the sticky honey isn’t there!)
- Add a teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add ¼ teaspoon sea salt for a sweet and salty topping
- Add a pinch of nutmeg and cloves for a spicier flavor profile
Low Sugar Paleo Desserts
You may have noticed that the filling of this crisp is essentially just berries. While I am obsessed with dessert and anything sweet, I have found that the sweetness of the crisp topping is enough for me. Plus, this makes it even healthier!
Feel free to add a few tablespoons of honey to the berries to sweeten it up but if you want a low sugar paleo dessert, make the recipe as written. Berries are so sweet anyway, they really don’t need much to be added! This also helps make this recipe friendly for diabetics and kids (we all know how crazy kids can be when they are given too much sugar!).
Adding a splash of vanilla extract to the berry filling will also help the berries taste sweeter. While alcohol is not allowed on a Paleo diet and vanilla extract does have a small amount of alcohol, it is not enough to effect you or your diet seeing as you use a very small amount when baking. The alcohol in the vanilla extract will also burn off as the dessert cooking so you won’t actually be consuming alcohol anyway. If you are wary of this, opt to use a fresh vanilla bean and scrape the seeds right into the berry filling.
If you choose to sweeten the filling with vanilla, just be sure to stay away from imitation vanilla flavoring as this is definitely a processed food and not allowed on a strict Paleo diet. Extracts are okay- flavorings are not!
Simple Berry Crisp Recipe
Once the berries are in the dish and the crumble topping is sprinkled over the berries, this Paleo dessert is ready to bake. Pretty darn easy, right? Completely Paleo friendly, incredibly easy and definitely enough to satisfy any dessert craving you may have (I should know as a self-proclaimed addict!).
You can try whipping up some coconut cream to top off the dish or pair it with a Paleo ice cream like my blueberry paleo ice cream recipe which you can find here. However, this recipe really doesn’t need any extras but it is always fun to go a little over board when it comes to dessert.
Whip up this fantastic dessert anytime, it is perfect for a Tuesday night or for a party (a Paleo party!). When you take a bite, you will forget about any of the restrictions Paleo dieting has on desserts as it simply tastes good- don’t over think it, just enjoy.
If you are looking for more Paleo dessert recipes, try my Paleo chocolate chip cookies (recipe here!) or my favorite chocolate treat, Paleo brownies! See, there are plenty of Paleo dessert options that are amazing. No one needs butter, flour or sugar in order to make a great dessert.Print
Not only is this fresh, summery dessert amazingly delicious but it also is completely Paleo friendly!
- 4 cups fresh or frozen berries
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray an 8×8 pan or a pie pan with non-stick spray
- Place all of the berries evenly across the bottom of the pan
- In a small bowl, mix the flour, oil, honey and cinnamon with a fork
- Layer the crumble mixture evenly across the berries and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the crumble is slightly golden brown
- You can easily use one type of berry to make a blueberry, strawberry or raspberry crisp
- This recipe will keep for a week in the fridge when wrapped tightly
- Freeze the crisp for up to a month, wrapped tightly. Take out of the freezer and reheat in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes
- Coconut flour and oat flour will work great in place of almond flour
- Add ½ cup sliced almonds to the berry mix to give the crisp a little crunch