1. Nectarine and Basil Ice Cream
Summer’s flavors come together in this fresh, invigorating treat. They’re surprisingly easy to make: Boil the nectarines with sugar and basil leaves, transfer to a food processor, blend and freeze in a popsicle mold. Voila: Delicious party-ready pops. For a grown-up spin, add a splash of vodka to the nectarine puree.
2. Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding
This light, comforting dessert is surprisingly decadent, thanks to a hidden ingredient: sweet potato puree. Because of the potatoes’ natural sweetness, you don’t have to add as much sugar. Get ready for a flavor boost that doesn’t pack on pounds!
3. Baked Carrot Doughnuts
They’re less swimsuit-friendly than sweet potato pudding, but these doughnuts still pack in plenty of nutrients. That’s thanks to their cancer-fighting carrot puree and assortment of spices, including ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. Dark Chocolate Mint Leaves
This is the quickest, easiest treat you’ll make all summer. The only catch: The leaves stay fresh for about five hours, so plan accordingly if you’re making this dessert for guests.
5. Cucumber-Lime Cupcakes
Perfect for any kid or adult party, these zesty cupcakes are a swirl of delightful summer flavors. Cucumbers keep every bite fresh and moist, and the lime adds a cool citrus zing.
6. Avocado Pops
We love guacamole, but this summer, we’re saving the dish’s star ingredient for this creamy, nutritious treat. Garnish with a slice of candied bacon for an even spicier bite.
7. Cauliflower-Crust Chocolate Pizza
For a new twist on two old favorites -- chocolate and pizza -- fold them into this doughy concoction. The treat strikes the perfect balance between main course and dessert.
8. Beetroot Chocolate Ice Cream
The gorgeous magenta hue conceals a chocolate explosion. For even more refined palates, top with chocolate shavings and a hint of black pepper.
9. Black Bean Brownies
Tired of bringing the same old baked bean side dishes to summer barbecues? Get your fiber in a sweeter, more surprising way with this one-bowl recipe. These brownies come out so moist and fudgy, we bet your friends and family won’t even recognize the secret ingredient!
10. Fruit-and-Veggie Food Coloring
Celebrating with cakes that feature all the colors of the rainbow is fun, especially this time of year. But if you can live without the chemicals of manufactured food coloring, you’ll love this trick: Replace food dye with natural fruit and vegetable juice. For red coloring, smash up raspberries or beets, for example; for orange, try carrot juice; and for green, go with spinach. Now it’s a rainbow cake with all the colors of nutrition.
11. Eggplant Chocolate Layer Cake
Ready to get a bit more adventurous with veggie desserts this summer? Try this eggplant chocolate layer cake, which hails from Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Eggplant slices are fried in sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest and are accompanied with a filling of Amaretti cookies, toasted almonds and candied orange peel.