Cinnamon rolls are everything a sweet treat should be. The only problem is that the warm and cozy baked good isn’t exactly the most nutritious way to start the day. With a few adjustments, it’s completely possible to create a healthy cinnamon roll that contributes to the most important meal of the day.
Typically made with white flour, loads of sugar, multiple sticks of butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese, traditional cinnamon rolls are a far cry from a hearty bowl of oatmeal. After sifting through all the so-called healthy recipes on the internet, I found one that takes the cake.
Natalie Thomas, the recipe developer behind Feasting on Fruit, is a pro at creating healthier versions of desserts. And no, not just by swapping the type of flour. Thomas totally reimagines sweet treats. She was baffled by the fact that cinnamon rolls still get away with masquerading as “breakfast” after all these years. But Thomas’ cinnamon roll is oil-free, gluten-free, and vegan, without sacrificing flavor.
“They have filling and frosting—two creamy, sweet, normally sugar-laden components, yet it’s still allowed before 10 am? It’s a double standard, I tell you,” she writes. “Now these cinnamon rolls can reasonably be classified as breakfast. It’s a much healthier morning meal than anything that pops out of a cardboard tube.”
It might be hard to believe cinnamon rolls can still be as tasty without all the sugar, but this recipe is proof. Using vitamin-loaded sweet potatoes as the prime ingredient in the dough keeps them soft and moist, the filling is perfectly sweet with dates, coconut sugar, and cinnamon, and the icing consists of just two ingredients: coconut milk and maple syrup. It’s about as pure as these buns can get, and I can’t wait to gobble up every single one of ’em.