Recipe: No-Bake Banana Split Icebox Cake

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Is it just me or are you a little tired of baking these days? With busy schedules and countless obligations, it seems like we seek out efficiencies around every corner. And the kitchen corner is no exception, hence the rise of “no bake” recipes. Baking just adds one more step. You’re talking about tacking on at least another 30 to 60 minutes to your total cook time. And who has that sort of time today?

Plus, the oven usually takes somewhat of a hiatus during the summer months. As temperatures outside rise, we want to avoid cranking up the heat in the kitchen, which is why the classic icebox cake is a staple dessert for summer parties and celebrations: no oven necessary.

An icebox cake is traditionally made with layers of whipped cream or custard sandwiched between wafer cookies or graham crackers. As the icebox cake sits overnight in the fridge, the layers soften and it develops an éclair-like consistency.

This version is also a spin on another classic dessert: the banana split sundae. Packed with layers of fresh fruit (bananas, pineapple and strawberries), it’s topped off with crushed walnuts and a dark chocolate drizzle. Protein-packed Greek yogurt takes the place of half of the whipped cream here, slashing the calories and fat, and making this a guilt-free dessert for your next backyard bash.

No-Bake Banana Split Icebox Cake

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt

2 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream

4 bananas

2 teaspoons lemon juice

20 whole graham crackers

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, finely chopped

1 cup sliced strawberries (about 7 medium strawberries)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/4 teaspoons coconut oil

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, agave nectar and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl, use a hand mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold whipped cream into the yogurt mixture.

Slice bananas and toss with lemon juice to avoid browning.

On a platter or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, layer five graham crackers*, side by side. Spread one cup of yogurt mixture evenly over crackers, then layer one-third of the banana slices and pineapple on top. Repeat layers two more times. Top last layer of graham crackers (there will be four layers of graham crackers) with the remaining yogurt mixture, sliced strawberries and crushed walnuts.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over low heat. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Let sit in the refrigerator overnight or for at least four hours, or until graham crackers have softened.

*Note: Spread a thin layer of the yogurt mixture on the pan to help keep the first layer of graham crackers in place.

Per serving: Calories 400; Fat 19 g (Saturated 9 g); Cholesterol 35 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Carbohydrate 51 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 27 g; Protein 10 g; Vitamin A 8% DV; Vitamin C 50% DV; Calcium 20% DV; Iron 10% DV

More guilt-free desserts:

Desserts to Feel Good About

Lemon-Yogurt Mousse

Lemon Icebox Bars

Grilled Strawberry Kebabs with Lemon-Mint Sauce

Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., is a registered dietitian nutritionist, yoga teacher and self-proclaimed foodie. She is a recipe developer, food photographer, writer and spokeswoman. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more mindfulness and yoga into your life.