The November issue of Food Technology magazine says desserts are evolving from the traditional to the unexpected with corn, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, eggplant, celery, beets, carrots and mushrooms showing up in desserts such as tomato sorbet, corn creme brulee and chocolate-beet baked goods.
Some vegetables cook in similar ways to fruits. For example, eggplant can be a substitute in many recipes for apple or pear, the magazine notes.
"Incorporating vegetables in dessert recipes is more about creating a flavorful dish and realizing that vegetables have various functionalities rather than using a particular one for 'shock value' alone," Michael Laiskonis, creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, said.
Vegetables can also be substitutes for high-fat ingredients: The creamy texture and fat content of avocados make them a great substitute for fat in ice creams, gelato and mousse, while vegetables can be a colorful natural alternative to artificial colorings from their pigments, Food Technology said.