May 23, 2024

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is a challenge under the best of circumstances but when it comes to creating desserts things get even more difficult.  So many delicious desserts like pies, cookies, cakes and pastries are made with flour containing gluten.

Creating delicious gluten-free desserts becomes easier when you keep the right ingredients on hand. Some common items to keep in your pantry include:

Almond meal flour
Arrowroot powder
Baking powder
Bittersweet chocolate
Canola oil
Cashew butter
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Coconut milk
Dried fruit
Espresso powder
Evaporated milk
Gluten-free flour mixes
Gluten-free spices
Granulated, powered and brown sugar
Lemon extract
Maple syrup
Peanut butter
Sorghum flour
Tapico starch/flour
Vanilla extract

Be sure to check the ingredients on these products before you purchase them.  You will want to avoid wheat, barley, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, rye, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, malt extract, malt syrup, dextrins and malt flavoring.

Remember that baking gluten-free is different than regular baking.  If you don’t use a baking mix you will need to combine gluten-free flours to get the right results.  You can use psyllium husks, ground chia seeds or flaxseed rather than xanthan gum if it gives you stomach distress.  Baking at a lower temperature is recommended for some recipes to keep your dessert from getting too brown.  If you screw up a recipe consider turning it into crumbs for toppings or to be added to other recipes.

Many gluten-free flours don’t contain preservatives so you may find that desserts made with them dry out quickly or become rancid.  Store these items in a zip-top bag (with air removed), freezer wrap or in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer separated from other food.  Mark all containers used for gluten-free food to keep them separate from other containers.  Bring the stored food to room temperature before consuming.

Our favorite gluten-free dessert recipe courtesy of

Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp


4 cups blueberries (any fruit will work)


1 cup gluten free old-fashioned, gluten free oats (we used Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Add to an 8×8 pan. Add oats, pecans, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
2. Spread the mixture over the blueberries.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, longer if the berries are frozen.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. She is the author of “The EVERYTHING Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes 2nd Ed.”, “The EVERYTHING Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Ed.”, “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance At Health”, “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating”, “The Quick Start Guide To Pre-Diabetes” and “Quick Start Recipes For Healthy Meals”.  To learn more about living and cooking gluten free watch her free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before You Go Gluten Free!”

Health Benefits or Hype? By Kathy Smart

High Protein Dark Chocolate Cupcakes….Healthy?

Yes!…BUT these are high protein cupcakes. These cupcakes use heart healthy and high protein ground almonds, pure maple syrup and applesauce! And go ahead, enjoy these as a breakfast treat! Protein first thing in the morning helps stabilize blood sugar and increase metabolism. So, why not do it with chocolate!


See my friends? Healthy eating CAN be decadent!


3 Reason to Love Dark Chocolate:

Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Heart. Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.)

Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar. Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.


High Protein Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
From Live The Smart Way by Kathy Smart

Makes 12-14 cupcakes


¾ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
4 whole eggs – separated
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups ground almonds
5 Tbsp gluten-free flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Melt chocolate, butter and applesauce in a saucepan over low heat.
3. Beat egg yolks with ¼ cup of the maple syrup and set aside.
4. Mix the melted chocolate mixture and egg yolk mixture together. Stir in ground almonds, vanilla extract, baking powder, sea salt and flour.
5. Beat 4 egg whites with ¼ cup remaining of the maple syrup until stiff. Fold into the above mixture.
6. Grease a muffin tin and fill muffin tin with mixture till about ¾ full.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.



2 squares unsweetened baker’s chocolate (melted)
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cool slightly before glazing cupcakes.


Kathy Smart ~ North America’s gluten free expert. TV Show Host, Nutritionist, Chef and Author
Live The Smart Way.


Warm-up this Winter with Healthful Soup Recipes by Kathy Smart

Great health begins with great nutrition. Try these healthy and hearty soup recipes to jump start your winter wellness plan.

Citrus Infused Carrot Soup (8 servings)


1 pound of carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
1 orange
1 cup of leeks, chopped
 ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
8 tablespoons yogurt
Fresh cilantro

Recipe Accolades:

The subtle taste of orange in this recipe always keeps guests guessing as to identify the special taste.  This soup is perfect after a long walk in the snow!

Dairy Free
Easy to Make
Gluten and Wheat free
Low in fat
Low Glycemic
No Added Refined Sugars
Vegetarian (if made with vegetable stock)


Melt butter over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add carrots and leeks and let cook gently for 10 minutes allowing the vegetables to soften.

Cut the orange in half and juice both halves and add juice to the vegetables.  Reserve the orange peels.

Add the chicken stock, and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Take reserved orange peel and puree in a food processor and add to the soup.  Let soup simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

Puree with blender. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a fresh sprig of cilantro.

Smokey Red Pepper Soup (4 Servings)


4 sweet red peppers
2 tablespoons of butter/ coconut oil if dairy intolerant/vegan
1 cup onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or one tablespoon fresh
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons of coconut milk or whipping cream

Recipe Accolades:

The smokiness of the roasted red pepper blends together with the aromatic undertone of onion and rosemary to create a smooth soup without the added fat from cream.  Serve this soup with a sprig of fresh rosemary on top. Red peppers are low in calories and high in vitamin C, which helps to fight infections, heart disease and cancer.  Other key nutrients found in this colourful vegetable include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins just to name a few.


Preheat oven to broil. 

Put red peppers whole on baking sheet under broiler and turn regularly until the skins have blackened.  Remove peppers from oven and place into sealed plastic bag and let stand for 20 minutes.

Peel off skin from peppers and remove seeds and stem.  Half peppers while trying to save any juices that run from pepper.  Set aside.

Melt butter/oil in a saucepan and add onion and rosemary, cooking gently over low heat for 5 minutes. 

Add peppers with juices, and stock and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add tomato paste and sea salt.

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  Strain soup through a fine strainer and reheat in saucepan.

Serve soup hot or chilled and garnish with pepper, paprika and a delicate swirl of cream or coconut milk on top.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (10 servings)

2 cups onion, chopped
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. garam masala
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. sea salt
6 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable broth, low sodium 
1/2 cup coconut milk

Recipe Accolades:

Dairy Free
Gluten Free



In a large soup pot, sauté the onions and coconut oil until the
onions are soft and translucent.

Add all spices, sea salt, vegetables, apples, broth and coconut
milk to the onions.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the ingredients are soft and tender.

Puree with a blender or immersion blender. Serve soup with a
swirl of coconut milk on top.

Kathy Smart, TV nutritionist, host and chef of ‘ Live the Smart Way ~ the world’s first vegetarian and gluten free TV show and author of  Live the Smart Way. More information may be found on