No matter how you celebrate it, Valentine’s Day is bound to bring a little extra sweetness into your life. Even if you don’t have any special treats planned for the day itself, post-holiday candy sales can be tempting and sugary snacks often find their way into the homes of even the most dedicated health nuts. If you’re hoping to skip the usual chocolate binge in favor of a more nutritious or unique option this year, try one of these recipes.

Cutie Pies

If you’re looking for a vibrant and decorative snack that skips out on processed sweets and artificial coloring, these mini pies are both aesthetically pleasing and nutrient-packed. Mascarpone cheese adds a creamy decadence to the earthy, ruby red beet filling and a touch of sugar transforms the vegetable paste into a pretty dessert.

— 2 fresh beets

— 1 Pillsbury pie crust

— ¼ cup softened mascarpone cheese

— 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

— 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

— Extra mascarpone for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Quarter the beets, rub the pieces in olive oil and cover them with aluminum foil. Place the slices on a baking sheet and roast for 40 to 50 minutes.

3. With a knife or cookie cutter, cut out six to eight circles of dough from the pie crust.

3. Grease the bottom side of a muffin tin and mold the dough circles over the outsides of the cups. Bake the crusts at 425 degrees for eight minutes.

4. When the beets are done roasting, quickly and carefully remove the foil and place the beets in a blender while still hot. Blend with sugar and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth.

5. Remove beet mixture from the blender and mix in the softened cheese until the mixture is uniform. Spread the mixture evenly into the pie crusts once they are cool.

6. Fill a piping or Ziploc bag with the extra mascarpone to top the pies with hearts, polka dots, stripes or any other design.

Vegan Breakfast Bites

Once used in culinary tributes to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, pomegranates are associated with romance. These breakfast bites blend pomegranate juice and shredded coconut with basic ingredients for a hearty snack. While they’re not too colorful, the pomegranate glaze adds a glistening red sheen.


— 1 cup flour

— 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

— ½ teaspoon baking soda

— ¼ teaspoon salt

— ¼ cup 100 percent pomegranate juice

— 2 tablespoons oil

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in water to form a dough, adding extra juice if needed.

3. Once dough is mixed, freeze for about 15 minutes to chill.

4. Remove dough from the freezer and form small mounds. Place the mounds on a greased baking tray.

5. Bake for 11 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before removing.


— ¼ cup sugar

— 2 cups pomegranate juice

1. Combine sugar and juice in a saucepan. Boil on medium heat until reduced to about ½ cup.

2. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies or slather it on with a brush.

Cupid’s Arrow Fruit Kebabs

Enamor party guests or potential suitors with a quiver of sweet, all-natural love darts. These colorful kebabs, which employ only pink and red fruits for an extra festive touch, are arranged to resemble Cupid’s arrows.

— Strawberries

— Red grapes

— Watermelon

— Wooden skewers

1. Cut watermelon into flat chunks, then cut the planks into wide V shapes.

2. Push two V-shaped pieces onto each skewer. Spread them out slightly at the end so they look like the tail end of an arrow.

3. Fill the rest of each kebab with a line of red grapes and a strawberry arrowhead.