With strawberry season upon us we became so excited that we wanted to share not one, but two incredibly delicious, healthful strawberry desserts. The first is a strawberry and basil “nice” cream. This four ingredient, easy, no-churn treat is perfect for summer snacking. The second recipe is a lighter, healthier play on the classic strawberry shortcake, but with no refined sugar. The nutritious, tasty homemade biscuits (a little smaller than traditional) are paired with fresh whipped cream (coconut or dairy), gooey strawberry chia jam and fresh juicy strawberries. The vibrant flavor of the strawberries combines beautifully with the creamy yet refreshing elements of each dessert. Both recipes can also be made vegan or gluten-free to meet all dietary restrictions. Both desserts are great ways to savor the strawberry goodness that celebrates the arrival of summer!
Strawberry Basil “Nice” Cream
- Handful of basil
- 1 cup coconut cream or 2 frozen bananas
- 5 cups frozen strawberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
- Combine the first three ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides.
- Once smooth and creamy, fold in the fresh strawberries.
- Enjoy as soft serve ice cream (my favorite) or freeze in a loaf pan covered for 3-4 hours.
Strawberry Chia Jam
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat or gluten-free flour (I like Cup for Cup or Pamela’s baking mix)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup very cold butter, vegan butter or coconut oil, cut into small pieces about ¼ inch
- ¼ cup milk (dairy, oat, coconut, hazelnut)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or coconut cream (very cold)
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 cups fresh whole strawberries, thinly sliced or diced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (best choice) or lightly oil it. Place a mixing bowl (for whipped topping) in the refrigerator at the same time.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or back of a fork. Cut butter into flour until it resembles fine crumbs.
- Make a well in the center and add the milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Gradually stir the wet into the dry with a fork until it forms a dough.
- Working with a small amount of dough, shape into a ½ inch thick round disc and place on the prepared baking sheet. The dough may be a little sticky and you can coat your hands with flour to help with shaping.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are deep golden and the centers feel firm to the touch.
- Remove and allow to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
- While the shortcakes are cooking, make the strawberry jam by combining all ingredients to a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Uncover, stir and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool and thicken.
- Once the shortcakes have fully cooled to room temperature, make the whipped topping by placing the cream or coconut cream in the chilled mixing bowl.
- Using a hand mixer or a kitchen aid whisk attachment, whip until soft peaks have formed. Add the sweetener and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Slice each shortcake in half horizontally just before serving. Top the bottom half with jam, strawberries and a dollop of whipped topping. Place the top half back on top and add a little more whipped topping, strawberries and jam on the top.
Strawberries: Extremely nutrient dense. Contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are packed full of antioxidants for immune-supporting and anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidant anthocyanin can repair DNA damage to protect against aging and cancer, and increase overall circulation. Berries are great brain food–improving our overall brain function, boosting our mood and strengthening our memory.
Chia Seeds: Excellent source of fiber (10g in just 2 Tbs of chia!). Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When you soak chia in a liquid (i.e. milk or water), it takes on a gel-like texture due to the high fiber content. This gel coats the gut and helps slow digestion to make you feel satisfied. It also helps bulk up stool and feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. It is high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which can help protect bone health and reduce risk of osteoporosis.
Basil: The most common basil used in Mediterranean cuisine and most of the world is sweet basil. This is different from the holy basil, or Tulsi, revered by the Hindus. Other varieties include Thai basil and lemon basil, both used in South East Asia. Recent studies show that basil is rich in phenolic compounds, polyphenols and antioxidants. It helps in reducing inflammation, has anti-aging and anti-bacterial properties.
Coconut: The fat from coconut can allow our body to better absorb these essential fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). It can increase good cholesterol levels (HDL). The fat in coconut is 90% MCTs which has shown to have a positive effect on metabolism and inflammation. MCTs have also shown to increase satiety leading us to feel more satisfied after consumption. Great non-dairy alternative for soups and sauces.
Lemon: Lemons are a very versatile fruit that can be added to savory or sweet dishes. This little fruit packs a lot of bang for its buck, since it contains fiber; various beneficial plant compounds, and up to 51% of your Vitamin C needs. Lemons contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which has been found to make you feel fuller longer and improve gut health. This fruit may also help to prevent the formation of kidney stones by increasing urine volume and pH, making it difficult for kidney stones to form.
Maple Syrup: A sweetener that is an unexpected source of essential minerals for bone health. with more nutrient value than regular table sugar. This means that it will raise blood sugar slower than regular sugar. Also contains polyphenols to reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system. The darker the maple syrup the higher the level of antioxidants. Note: Be sure to carefully read the food label when shopping for maple syrup. Many stores sell “maple-flavored syrups”, which are higher in refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.
Cinnamon: It has been shown to enhance motor function and normalize neurotransmitter levels. It can help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain stable blood sugar.