Chefs like Jackie Keller are getting creative with the produce they're putting into their after-meal treats to cook up some delicious veggie desserts.
Keller, who is also a nutritionist and owner of healthy catering company NutriFit, is always looking for innovative ways to keep clients slim and happy. Produce in desserts does just that.
"They provide moisture because vegetables are 90 percent water," Keller said. "The other thing that vegetables provide, of course, is fabulous nutrients and great fiber."
For example, Keller whips up a chocolate mousse cannoli with a filling of dark cocoa, coconut milk, agave and avocado. The cannoli "wrap" is made with beets.
Keller also concocted chocolate chili mushrooms with caramelized bananas, which she said can hold up in the fridge for days.
And her cheesecakes also hide a surprise.
Keller is fond of the mini-black bean cheesecake with whole grain graham cracker crust for a high-protein, high-fiber dessert that is lower in sugar.
However, Keller isn't alone in experimenting with veggie desserts.
Akasha Richmond, owner of Akasha's in Culver City, uses some of the most reviled veggies in her sweets.
"I had kind of a large quantity of Brussels sprouts and as a joke for my manager's birthday, I thought, 'I'm going to make him a Brussels sprout cake, like a zucchini cake, and I'll see if it works,'" Richmond said. "And everyone flipped."
Richmond said her staff tried the concoction and couldn't guess what was in it.
"We normally shred zucchini or carrots, and put it in a cake. It's very similar," she said. "And there's chocolate and nuts, and coconut, and brown sugar. And it's delicious."
Richmond also said those weary of adding vegetables to their desserts can start off slowly. She advises testing the waters by using avocado to replace half the fat in any given recipe, or as an alternative to yogurt and sour cream.