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A Healthier Valentine’s Day Sweet

Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about what kind of sweet treat I’ll make for my husband and daughter this year. Since I’m me, I like to make food that is healthy, and that goes for sweets, too. The more I read about healthier food choices and options, the more I think that as much as I can, I should use ingredients that are great for our bodies and minds such as whole foods and/or food that’s been minimally processed. In the case of a sweet treat, I’m not necessarily trying to make it “healthy”, but, if I’m able to make something completely scrumptious while also being just a little bit good for us (or a little less bad for us) then I’m all over that. With those intentions in mind, I set out to create a recipe redux of one of my favorite childhood desserts… the Rice Krispie Treat.

Here’s what I did to make this recipe a little healthier than the original:

  • 1. Substituted coconut oil for margarine. Over two decades of research have proven that coconut oil is so good for us that it’s considered a super food. Some great things it can do are to lower cholesterol, maintain blood sugar and aid in digestion.
  • 2. Used marshmallows that don’t contain gelatin which is made up of animal by-products such as skin, tendons, bones and ligaments of cows and pigs. ‘Nuff said.
  • 3. Replaced white rice cereal with brown rice cereal for whole grain goodness that offers you more potassium, less sodium and less sugar.
  • 4. Added chia seeds for extra fiber, calcium, protein and antioxidants, as well as some fun extra crunch and texture.

A few notes about this recipe in general:

  • 1. These rice treats are better once they have had time to sit for several hours or even overnight. This makes them a super easy and tasty make-ahead delight.
  • 2. This recipe is a vegan recipe. If you prefer, you can swap out the coconut oil for butter to make a vegetarian recipe instead.
  • 3. Your little Sous Chef can help you prepare this recipe. With support, younger sous chefs can help measure out the cereal and then mix together the cereal and chia seeds. Older sous chefs can additionally help use the microwave and stir the heated marshmallows, oil and cereal mixture. I bet teeny tiny sous chefs of all ages would love the chance to help spread the mixture into a baking dish, too.
  • 4. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter for a little extra Valentine’s Day fun.

Rice Crispy Treats Redux {Heart-Shaped}

Ingredients & Method:

  • 10 ounces (1 bag) marshmallows (I used Dandies vegan brand)
  • 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 4¾ cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
  • Optional mix-ins: shredded unsweetened coconut or flax seeds

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix chia seeds (and any optional mix-ins) with the cereal in a large zipper-topped bag and shake them well to mix together.

Into a large, microwave-safe bowl combine the marshmallows and coconut oil. Microwave for around 2 minutes, or until the marshmallows are melted. Stir to combine.

Add the cereal and seeds to the marshmallow mixture around a cup at a time. Stir well to combine between cups.

Spread mixture out into the baking sheet. Flatten with the heels of your hands. Allow mixture to cool uncovered for an hour. Cover and let sit for at least 5-6 hours before cutting with the cookie cutter or slicing into squares and enjoying.

Happy Cooking and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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