7 Lightened-Up Desserts Perfect for Summertime

These desserts will make you ice (s)cream for joy!

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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There’s no doubt that when it comes to summer, a cold ice cream cone is the best way to beat the heat. But sometimes it’s sweetness can weigh you down. Thankfully we here at Food Network have a refreshing (and delicious) selection of light summertime dessert alternatives to choose from.

From fruit salads you can enjoy all summer long to ice cream treats that won’t overwhelm you, these recipes will give you that much needed summertime sugar rush, while maintaining your health-focused mentality.

Fruit Salad with Limoncello (pictured above)

If you aren’t spending every day of summer at your local Farmer’s Market, buying up all of the season’s fresh produce, are you even doing it right? Probably not (unless you’re still making this recipe!) A vibrant combination of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, this simple dish highlights the beauty of summer's best flavors. Follow Ina Garten's lead and top yours with a splash of limoncello and a dollop of zesty lemon yogurt to beautifully offset the dish's sweetness.

A healthier alternative to ice cream, sherbet is the ultimate summer dessert. Trust us — one spoonful of its super creamy texture and you'll know you’re enjoying something special! Make this recipe with orange juice and zest like it calls for, or swap in lemon or lime for a different kind of citrus adventure.


Though we love homemade ice cream as much as the next person, homemade frozen yogurt is just as delicious (not to mention healthier!) Just mix together your choice of yogurts with a bit of sugar, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and wait as your protein-packed treat transforms into frozen deliciousness. Top yours with fresh fruit, toasted coconut, sprinkles, chocolate chips or whatever you’re feeling. It's the perfect treat for nights spent by the ocean or pool.

Nothing screams summer more than the cool, bright acidity of lemon bars. And, with these no-bake Lemon Icebox Bars, all you have to do is prepare, freeze and forget them until you’re ready to enjoy. Low-lift, bright and delicious, this easy summertime dessert is anything but ordinary.

Photo by: Stephen Murello ©Stephen Murello

Stephen Murello, Stephen Murello

Grilled pineapple is at the very top of our favorite things list. Not only is breaking down a pineapple super fun to do, so is watching it caramelize on a hot grill top or BBQ. This mouthwatering recipe pairs grilled pineapple rings with a bit of vanilla ice cream and a rich rum sauce to create a light dessert that'll have you coming back for more without feeling bad about taking a second serving.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream; Ellie Krieger

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

If summer could be transformed into a dessert, we dare say this would be it. Light and airy, this healthy take on strawberries and cream pairs rich ricotta cheese with warm honey and tart balsamic glaze to give you a refreshing treat perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.

Three mini ice cream sandwiches encrusted with chopped nuts or chocolate bits of chocolate on a small dish

Three mini ice cream sandwiches encrusted with chopped nuts or chocolate bits of chocolate on a small dish

Photo by: Stephen Murello

Stephen Murello

When you’re in the mood for something sweet, but don’t want to overdo it with a big bowl of ice cream, turn to these Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches. The perfect bite-sized dessert, these sandwiches satisfy any sweet tooth and, not to mention, are fun to build with the family. They’re also a great make-ahead keep-in-the-fridge kind of dessert for those moments when you just need a little sweetness in your life.

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