There’s nothing we hate worse than the term “guilty pleasure.” Food should be a joy! But after months of holiday indulging, it’s absolutely understandable if you’re, um, being a little more mindful about the dishes you choose. Instead of denying yourself the pleasure of a sweet treat, seek out these desserts—most of them naturally sweetened and organic, all plant-based—which will satisfy without knocking you off the January health wagon. (Leave that for the Valentine’s Day chocolates.)
Inside Queen Anne’s HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Cafe, it actually smells like green juice. But don’t form your assessment of Pure Pies, a wholesale company within the café, based on that impression. In flavors such as salted caramel and key lime, and available by the slice at HeartBeet and around town, these vegan, gluten-free pies are unexpectedly delicious.
Our Pick: If you let go of the idea that tiramisu must contain mascarpone and ladyfingers (this version has neither), you’ll love this slice of tiramisu pie ($8), best enjoyed straight from the fridge. It’s a rich, decadent-tasting dessert thanks to a creamy base of almond and cashew cream. Fans of coconut will note its presence in the crust, but it doesn’t distract from the balance of coffee and chocolate. Available at cafés around Seattle
PRETTY IN PINK: Jujubeet’s raw raspberry cashew torte, shown here garnished with fresh strawberries, is a decadent-tasting treat you can pick up from the to-go case
With four locations around Seattle and Bellevue, this stylish juice and whole foods café—with a staff dietician—proves this trend is more lifestyle than fad. Smoothies, bowls and wraps are made to order, but it’s easy to swing by for a cold-pressed juice and a selection from the grab-and-go items both savory and sweet, from Moroccan sweet potato salad to chocolate banana cream pie.
Our Pick: Tart and creamy and the loveliest shade of pink, the raw raspberry cashew torte ($7) is a delight. Ingredients are left raw to maintain enzymes and nutrients; we care less about that and more about the fact that this little square tastes of raspberry cheesecake yet is made of plants. Multiple locations
SPOON YOUR JUICE: This is no ordinary sundae: Pressed Juicery makes plant-based soft serve that you can have topped with fresh fruit, almond butter and more
“Spoon your juice” reads a slogan on one wall in the Westlake Center location of this national juice chain, and it’s meant literally. While most people breeze in for a prepackaged juice—made with produce ranging from coconuts to celery—the shop also sells protein bars, supplements, even green juice gummy bears. But we can’t get enough of its spoon-worthy plant-based soft serve.
Our Pick: Vanilla ($5 for a small, plus $1 for three toppings), made with dates, almonds, vanilla extract and sea salt, is the most popular flavor of the shop’s soft serve for good reason; try it topped with fresh fruit or almond butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Multiple locations
Sweetgrass Food Co.
With a focus on where you eat as much as what you eat, this picture-perfect downtown spot makes for a calming respite from the bustle outside. Sure, it’s capitalized on all the buzzy food trends—golden turmeric lattes, house-made cold brew, bone broth, grain bowls—but if it tastes good (and here, it does), we’re all for it.
Our Pick: Nutrient-rich sesame seeds have been an international source of flavor long before chia and flaxseed made it big on the U.S. health food scene. In the tahini-spelt cookie ($2.75) from Sweetgrass, you get to taste them twofold: Tahini is incorporated into the whole-grain dough for a tender peanut butter cookie texture, and black sesame seeds dot the top for a satisfying crunch. Downtown, 1923 Seventh Ave.; 206.602.6656
Frankie & Jo’s
Darlings of the national plant-based food scene, Autumn Martin (also of Hot Cakes) and Kari Brunson (also of Juicebox Café) know a thing or two about both sexy branding and amazing sweets. The vegan scoops at these sunny shops with a California vibe are based on a blend of house-made coconut and cashew milks, sweetened largely with dates or coconut sugar, and swirled with the likes of seasonal jam, gluten-free baked goods, activated charcoal caramel and other ingredients.
Our Pick: The monthly rotating flavors, made with hyperseasonal ingredients, keep people coming back regularly, but our favorite is on the everyday menu: the jamocha chaga fudge ($6 for standard scoop). It’s naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup, features rich cocoa powder and local Elm coffee, and incorporates the superfood chaga mushroom powder, which is known for being rich in both nutrients and antioxidants. Ballard and Capitol Hill