Not sure what to get your neighbor, trainer, or mother-in-law this year? Need a way to say thank you? Gifting homemade baked treats that are delicious and healthy is the ultimate way to show you care. Here are 17 of our favorite healthy, plant-based recipes that make great edible gifts, plus 5 tips to make presentation a breeze.
These perfectly moist and light mini loaves are the perfect edible goodie to gift. Naturally sweetened with banana, dates, and applesauce they have a mild cinnamon flavor, while walnuts add a yummy nuttiness. Note: If you’d like to make them gluten-free, be sure to check out the comments section, as one reviewer had good success with a couple of substitutions, and writes, “Can’t stop eating this!”
Perfect for special occasions, these lightly spicy vegan brownies are a sumptuous gift for anyone with a sweet tooth—vegan or not. Blended black beans provide a fudgy base, applesauce keeps things moist, cayenne pepper adds heat, and cocoa powder and vegan chocolate chips give rich flavor. Comments one reader, “We love this recipe—so simple and easy, and just delicious. Works every time!”
These delectable black bean brownies from Chef AJ are one of the most beloved recipes that we’ve ever published. Sweetened with dates and featuring just a handful of ingredients, they’re healthy enough to eat every day. Make a double (or quadruple!) batch; they freeze well and are great for snacking. Shares one reader, “I am very picky about brownies. These are absolutely amazing!”
Who can resist a good chocolate chip cookie! These fan-favorite vegan cookies strike a pleasing balance between chewy and firm, with an irresistible buttery, chocolate flavor. Writes a longtime devotee: “These are our family’s go-to cookies for outings and picnics. They are an amazing treat and hold up great!”
Nothing says “I appreciate you” like a loaf of freshly baked bread. Moist and sweet, this oil-free, vegan take on the ever-popular banana loaf is stealthily healthy, as most of the sweetness comes from four ripe bananas. A reader shares: “Love this bread. It is my staple. Curbs all biscuit and sugar cravings.”
These flourless, rolled oat muffins are wonderfully moist and fruity. They take a fraction longer to prepare than your typical “throw-all-the-ingredients-in-a-bowl” muffin recipe—but boy are they worth it. If you don’t have cranberries, raisins also taste great. One reader says it all: “These muffins are so moist and delicious!! They have the perfect balance of orange and cranberry taste and are dense enough to fill you up for on-the-run breakfasts!”
These light, melt-in-your-mouth blueberry muffins are always popular. Sweetened with maple syrup and applesauce, they’re deliciously sweet without leaving you feeling like you ate the whole candy stored. Notes one reader, “Perfectly sweet and perfectly delicious! And so easy to make!”
With vivid pops of red and blue color from raspberries and blueberries, these light and moist muffins have excellent plate appeal. The undercover star ingredient in this recipe is the aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas), which is used instead of egg to help bind the muffins.
The pairing of sticky, fruit-sweetened jam with a crunchy oat-walnut crumb will have the giftee savoring every bite of these compact cookies. For a colorful presentation, use an assortment of different jams. Note: These can easily be gluten-free; just be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Ready in 30 minutes, these delectable fruit-sweetened cookies are a cinch to make. Almond flour and peanut butter give them a rich nuttiness while quinoa flakes lighten things up and add bulk. Note: These are ideal for making with small children. And don’t forget to let the little ones help with wrapping and card-making; to the right recipient, a touch of kid art can go a long way.
These snow-dusted fruit and oat bites look amazing any time of year. Sweetened with banana, raw carrot, figs, and dates, they’re nature’s candy at its finest. Note: These will keep for about three days if stored in the refrigerator; the cooler temperature also gives them a nice chewiness. Writes a satisfied reader, “Quick, easy and so damn good.”
This delicious, crunchy granola is my all-time favorite food gift—just ask my neighbors! The “secret sauce” is a blended date-flaxseed mix that you stir through grains, nuts, and seeds before baking. Ground ginger and cinnamon also add great flavor. Pro tip: During the holiday season, make extra, in case you need a last-minute gift for someone.
This moist, low-rise cake pairs walnut and orange flavors to delicious effect. Ground flaxseed is used to bind while yuca flour (aka cassava flour) yields a light and airy crumb. This cake is gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free rolled oats. Note: Yuca flour is a gluten-free flour that closely mimics wheat flour in baking. It’s worth the hassle of tracking it down.
There is no snacking emergency too great for these mini oat cookies! Fragrant with citrus and sweetened with raisins, applesauce, and maple syrup, vegans and non-vegans alike will adore these. A reader shares, “Some of my all time favorite cookies. … these little yum bombs are easily portable for snacks on the go, whether it’s a nature hike or dashing to the office.”
Whether you’re making a single loaf, or starting a production line in your kitchen, it’s a boon to find such a quick, moist, delicious loaf that works every time. You’ll feel like a master baker. Notes a reader: “This is so delicious! … We eat this almost every day.”
These crunchy, citrus scented, twice-baked Italian cookies make the perfect gift. They hold up well in travel, are delicious to nibble on and dunk into tea, and they look amazing. “Scrumptious!” writes a fan. “These make the perfect hostess gift.”
Share the natural sustaining power and hearty flavor of these whole-food, plant-based fig bars. In this stunning three-layered bar, a date-sweetened, almond-oat-cashew base contrasts with a creamy fig paste, while a crumbly walnut topping finishes it off perfectly.
Home-baked goodies look amazing and often don’t need much wrapping. A loaf of fresh-baked bread wrapped in a clean tea towel or cookies piled on a plate look enticing all on their own.
2. Boxes, tins, baskets, and jars
From that old jar lurking in the back of your cupboard to colorful boxes, plain boxes, rustic baskets, and used coffee cans, there are untold containers to show off your treats. For inspiration, visit your local craft store or kitchen supply store.
Cellophane protects while simultaneously showing off the food. Cellophane comes in clear and colorful options, as sheets or as bags of all sizes. Wrap sturdy goodies such as bread, biscotti, and firm cookies, or use it as a cover. For a more rustic presentation, brown paper and parchment paper also do the trick.
4. Ribbons, ribbons, ribbons
Tie ribbon, string, and/or a bow to instantly add color and glamour to your edible gift. Add a small card (which you can make yourself) or sticker for an extra thoughtful touch.
5. Ingredients List
Recipients who have food sensitivities will greatly appreciate an ingredients tag.
This article was originally published on Dec. 13, 2021, and has been updated.
about the author
Lisa Esile, MS
Lisa Esile is an author, illustrator, blogger, vegetable gardener, and whole-food enthusiast with a special fondness for potatoes. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is passionate about showing people how to live happier, healthier lives. She is the author of Reach Your Big Calm and the co-author of Whose Mind Is It Anyway? Find her on Facebook.