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Bananas foster cheesecake parfaits are a yummy combination of creamy cheesecake, caramel, and bananas, just like a traditional bananas foster dessert! They’re also one of the best gluten-free no bake dessert recipes you can make for Mardis Gras!
Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, whatever you call it, always has the best food for the party. But after indulging in beignets and po’ boys and gumbo, I decided to lighten things up a bit, while still keeping the flavors of a classic New Orleans dessert. Enjoy the yummy combination of creamy cheesecake with the caramel and bananas from traditional banana foster, all in a healthier, portion controlled, but still indulgent-tasting treat with these “Skinny Tuesday” Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits.
Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits -> CLICK HERE TO PIN THIS RECIPE
Have you ever been to New Orleans? How about Mardi Gras? I sort of get the feeling that those are two different things. You know, if you’ve only been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, that basically you’ve seen Mardi Gras, but haven’t seen New Orleans. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but I was there back in, hmm, 2003-ish. It was for a chemistry conference (fun times, right?), and since I was still single with no attachments and some extra money, I flew down a few days early to
eat walk around and experience the city. It was actually around St. Patrick’s Day, which I am told is like “Mardi Gras for Families”. You know, all the parades and floats and beads, but none of the exposed body parts.
Somehow I ended up hanging out with the sales reps at the conference and not the chemists. As a chemical engineer, I think the chemists outcast me. That was cool, though, because the sales reps have travel and entertainment budgets. This meant free Hurricanes for me! Which, after a round or two of Hurricanes, led to us somehow ending up IN a parade down Bourbon Street.
Like I said – fun times! 🙂 Well, fun times after I ditched the chemists.
I didn’t actually have Bananas Foster while I was in New Orleans, but I was introduced to it at one of my favorite Jersey Shore seafood restaurants. The spectacle of the waiters and waitresses wheeling around the carts, coming up to your table, and making your dessert right there in front of you is so cool. Oh, and the fire. Flaming alcohol is always fun, right? And then those warm, caramelized bananas poured over scoops of vanilla ice cream, causing it to begin to melt. Heaven!
We actually served bananas foster as a dessert at my wedding, as a bit of a nod to one of my favorite places down the shore.
So bananas foster cheesecake parfaits hold a special place in my heart.
But, I did want to make it healthier, since many of my Facebook fans mentioned they would love some “cleaner eating” desserts. These cheesecake parfaits are completely grain-free and gluten-free, with a simple almond meal “crust” (though you could easily sub in graham crackers). The bananas foster-style caramel is made from dates, with a little cinnamon and rum extract. And some of this caramel and mashed banana is used to sweeten up a cheesecake-y mixture of cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt to bring in the creamy element that typically comes from the ice cream.
The date caramel was surprisingly, well, caramel-y. I can totally see using this in many more recipes, with different flavorings and extracts. Or, you know, just eating it with a spoon. The caramel and bananas added the perfect sweetness to balance the tartness and tang of the Greek yogurt cheesecake layer. I could easily have polished off three of these myself. In fact, over the course of two days, The Bug and I put away five of the six.
The Hubby taste tested the other one – well, I should know not to tell him it was “healthier”. Anytime I mention there is Greek yogurt in a dessert, he says “I don’t detect any sweetness.” Umm, whatever. But if you aren’t a Greek yogurt fan or you only like super-duper sweet desserts, this may not be your thing, but The Bug and I beg to differ.
Enjoy the bananas foster cheesecake parfaits. Here’s the recipe!
“Skinny” Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup almond meal or ground almonds. Graham cracker crumbs would probably also work if gluten- or grain-free was not a concern
- 1 Tbsp honey
For the caramel:
- 1/2 cup pitted chopped dates (chop before measuring)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp rum extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the cheesecake layer:
- 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature (I used light cream cheese)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of the Date Caramel
- half of a very ripe banana mashed
For assembling the parfaits:
- one and a half very ripe bananas quartered lengthwise and chopped
- 6 pecan halves for garnish optional
For the crust:
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl, and stir until the honey is evenly distributed and the mixture is slightly crumbly. Set aside.
For the caramel:
- Combine the dates and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Place in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduce to about 1/2 cup.
- Remove from heat and stir in extract and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.
For the cheesecake layer:
- Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl, and whip with a hand mixer until combined and smooth.
For assembling the parfaits:
- Divide the almond mixture between 6 glasses or bowls, about 1½ Tbsp in each, and press down slightly.
- Divide the cheesecake filling between the glasses or bowls.
- Divide the chopped bananas between the glasses or bowls, about one quarter of a banana in each.
- Top with the remaining date caramel. I placed it into a small sandwich bag, cut off the corner and squeezed the caramel over the bananas. Top each parfait with a pecan half, if desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made the night before and kept chilled until serving.
Are you looking for some more “skinny” cheesecake desserts for Fat Tuesday (or any day):
- Good-for-You Strawberry Tiramisu Cheesecake Cups
- Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart
- Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Dip Trio
Need some ideas for your Mardi Gras Celebration? #SundaySupper has you covered:
Cocktails & Other Beverages:
- The Hurricane Cocktail Recipe from An Appealing Plan
- The French 75 from Kimchi MOM
- Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Fried Oysters and Remoulade from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Shrimp in Mustard Sauce from Noshing With The Nolands
- Mini Sweet Potato Pies from MealDiva
- Cajun Crab Beignets from Delaware Girl Eats
- Pancetta and Mushroom Arancini from Ruffles & Truffles
- Creole Shrimp Po Boy Recipe from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Supper for a Steal
- Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya from Yours And Mind Are Ours
- Vegan Pizza Waffles from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Red Beans and Rice from Cookin’ Mimi
- Baked Catfish Po’Boy from Curious Cuisiniere
- Muffaletta from Casa de Crews
- Bayou Seafood and Andouille Jambalaya from The Weekend Gourmet
- Seafood Gumbo from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Cajun Rice & Beans from Momma’s Meals
- Creole Celery Root Bisque (with Lobster) from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Louisiana Roasted Barbecue Shrimp from Food Lust People Love
- Cajun Dirty Rice Bowls from The Dinner-Mom
- New Orleans Fried Chicken from Family Foodie
- Baked Endive and Pears in Blue Cream Sauce from Shockingly Delicious
- Okra Creole from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Banana Creme Pie with Honey Whipped Cream and Pecan Brittle from The Foodie Patootie
- Chocolate Ganache Tart from Melanie Makes
- Banana Bread Pudding from Gotta Get Baked
- Delicious Saffron Baked Beignets from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- New Orleans Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Polish Paczki from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Buttermilk Beignets from The Messy Baker
- Eggless Bread Pudding in a Jar from What Smells So Good?
- Mint Julep Bars from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Mardi Gras Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Frostingfrom Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Mardi Gras Long Johns from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Mexican Chocolate Coffee Cake from La Cocina de Leslie
- Fasnetküchle from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pecan and Chocolate Pralines from Desserts Required
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Clarks Condensed
- Baked Coconut Beignets from Mess Makes Food
- Ravioli dolci di Carnevale from Manu’s Menu
- Strawberry Paczki from Neighborfood
- Blackberry Fritters from girlichef
- Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake from Magnolia Days
- Flourless Chocolate Cake in a Mug w/ Coconut Cream from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Pecan Bars from Pies and Plots
- “Skinny Tuesday” Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Mocha Pear Cake from Happy Baking Days
- Skinny Baked Beignets from Daily Dish Recipes
Yummy, these look so delicious!
My husband will order bananas foster anytime he sees it on the menu. Now I can make this for him and it not be such an indulgent treat. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.
Not many places have it, so it is something special, but it is nice to make those flavors a bit healthier!
I’d eat about 4 of those! They look so decadent
Yes, they look decadent, but luckily you almost CAN eat four and not feel an ounce of guilt!
You got it! 😉
Totally fabulous. You know I have a serious weakness for parfaits. I would demolish these in mere minutes. And I wouldn’t even feel bad.
You are the parfait queen! But you would have to battle my little guy for these!
OH MY WORD. You had me at banana fosters…. and then you went further and said cheesecake AND THEN parfait. This is going to be a must make for me. Please stop by and share at our link party going on right now!
Haha, yep gotta cram all kinds of yummy stuff into one!
We got mixed reviews. My hubby liked it (he doesn’t like super sweet stuff) but I didn’t care for it. I do like super sweet stuff :0)
The caramel sauce was interesting and good. I just didn’t care for the greek yogurt/combo. Guess I am like your husband! Haha!
Glad we tried it though! Thanks for the recipe!
Glad you tried it. Yeah, my hubby just doesn’t dig Greek yogurt for dessert. Maybe I should have called it breakfast;-) Thanks for your feedback!
Yummo! Even though I love a good decadent dessert, I like one that I can indulge in without feeling large amounts of guilt on a daily basis! These sound perfect….
Yes, I love decadent ones too, but I also like to eat dessert frequently 🙂
Wow this looks amazing! I’m all for banana foster anything and the fact that it’s lightened up takes it to the next level!
Thanks Julie. Bananas and caramel are always a good combo!
I love this post, Brianne. First of all, thank you for skinnifying a delicious indulgent dessert and still having it look and sound totally delicious and indulgent! I haven’t figured out how to do that yet (you’d be appalled by how much sugar ‘n butter I consume!) Second, we totally get a glimpse of how awesome you are. I love that you ditched the chemists in order to party with the sales reps (I’d follow whoever had the expense accounts too! Hurricanes for all!).
Oh I consume my fair share of sugar, but sometimes I try to make it a bit healthier. Then I can eat more!
I can only say — oh my goodness!
I HAVE to try the date caramel! It sounds delicious!
It has so many possibilities!
These look fantastic! My entire family would love these and I love that they are “skinny!”
Thanks! Gotta love healthier indulgence sometimes.
I have such a weakness for banana desserts! These parfaits look amazing!
You and my 3 year old would get along well 🙂 I love bananas too!
This looks FABULOUS!!
Banana Foster is one of my favorites, Brianne. These parfaits sound perfect to me!
Bananas Foster is so good, so finding multiple ways to eat it is never a bad idea!
I adore bananas foster and this cheesecake version sounds so fabulous. Love that it’s a perfect portion too!
Thanks! Yes, the portion is good…if you eat only one 😉
Talk about a drool moment. Wow. These are fantastic!
Thanks Isabel, they disappeared quickly!
Divine and even better that there is no guilt involved! Can’t wait to try the “caramel’ sauce.
I really have to think of more ways to use the caramel!
Delicious looking, I would love this dessert!!!
Thanks Tara, it is yummy!
These just scream New Orleans…so perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration! They’re gorgeous parfaits! Please pass me one of those spoons 🙂
Thanks so much Liz, I wish I still had some left to celebrate with on Tuesday!
This recipe ROCKS! I am soooooooooooo making this today!! Hope I have bananas!!
Haha, in a house with two little boys, we ALWAYS have bananas!
Love this recipe. Cheesecake is my little one’s favorite dessert. I am totally intrigued by the dates in the caramel sauce. I’ve got some dates in the frig.
It isn’t a runny caramel sauce, though I suppose you could cook it a little less or add more milk or water, but it is so good!
I love the title! Which Jersey shore restaurant did you have the bananas foster at ??
Thanks Shaina! The Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant! We’ve been going there since I was tiny.
I know I would LOVE these! I don;t like super sweet desserts, so these would be just perfect! And I love the way you served them Brianne! Great recipe!
Thanks Manu! They are the perfect amount of sweetness!