some sweet ideas: cooking with natvia

Posted on May 31st, 2011

In my quest to make sugar-free life, well, sweeter, I’ve been scouting different fructose-free sweeteners for you. It’s a minefield. There are a lot of sugar-free chocolates and treats out there…but the sweeteners read like something from a box of Ratsak.  I’ve shared on the safe and not-so-safe alternative sweeteners before. One or two alternatives do exist. One of them being stevia, which is extracted from the leaves of a South American plant.

Picture 13 via

It’s a stack sweeter than sugar and is fructose-free. Native Americans used it medicinally as a digestive aid. I first read about it via Donna Gates’ Body Ecology and have been trying it out in a few recipes. It’s great with berries and yoghurt…it has a slight licorice tang to it. Anyway… For this sponsored review, Natvia asked to share three of their stevia recipes. To give you a taste of the stuff. Cut’n’keep!

Natvia is a natural sweetener made from Reb A stevia, and erythritol. Reb A is the purest and sweetest parts of the stevia plant, and erythritol is a naturally occuring nectar in some fruits, such as melons and grapes.

Things you should know about Natvia:

  • it’s 100% natural
  • it has 95% fewer calories than sugar
  • it’s fructose free
  • it contains no aspartame, or saccharin
  • it’s great for baking and cooking

almond Tea Cake Loaf

This recipe makes one tasty, coconuty loaf. It’s made denser with the almond meal.

  • 1-½ cups (230g) plain flour or gluten free plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and mixed spice
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (35g) Natvia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/3 cup (30g) almond meal
  • 1 green apple, grated
  • 125 ml (½ cup) buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/3 cup finely grated orange rind
  • ½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut
  • 1/ 4 cup slithered almonds
  • A little extra ground cinnamon

* Buttermilk may be replaced with milk, soured with 2tsp lemon juice.

* Almond meal can be substituted with plain flour (or part thereof)

Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base and sides of a medium sized loaf pan with baking paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and spices together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and Natvia with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy; this should take about 8 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, almond meal, apple, buttermilk, sour cream, orange rind to your creamed butter and Natvia. Mix lightly until combined.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. If adding coconut and almonds, scatter them over the top of the loaf, along with your extra cinnamon.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until firm when you touch the centre of the loaf. If the centre is still soft, cover and secure sides with a sheet of foil and bake a further 7 minutes or so. Stand to cool for 5 minutes before turning out.

This deliciously dense, moist loaf is best eaten on the day made, with a cup of Natvia sweetened tea of course!  It can also be or sliced thickly and toasted; divine with butter or your favourite jam. This loaf keeps well in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Barbequed Beef Kebabs with Sweet Mustard Marinade

Picture 1

You will need 12 bamboo skewers and at least 2 hours to marinade beef before cooking for this recipe.

  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice from one orange
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup of Natvia
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 700g lean rump steak cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • Cooking spray

Place the mustard, spring onions, garlic, juice from one orange, oil, Natvia and pepper into a shallow dish and stir. Add the beef and turn to coat well. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours, turning meat once in the marinade.

Drain the beef, reserve the marinade. Thread the beef, capsicum and whole cherry tomatoes onto 12 small bamboo skewers. Set aside.

Heat a barbecue grill or plate on medium/high. Spray the kebabs with cooking spray. Place on the barbeque and cook for 2-3 minutes each side, brushing once with the reserved marinade.

Tomato Chutney

  • ½ brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Natvia
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put onion, garlic and water in a medium saucepan. Cook, covered, stirring often, over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onion softens slightly. Add tomato and vinegar. Bring to simmer. Reduced heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Cook, uncovered, stir occasionally for a further 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the Natvia. Season with black pepper and transfer to a dish.

Pretty lemon Shortbread

Picture 3 (Makes about 20 biscuits)

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Natvia
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or good quality vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups (195g) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to a slow 150oC (130oC fan forced) and line a largetray with baking paper.

Extract the vanilla bean paste by slicing the vanilla bean lengthways. Gently scrape your knife along the inside of the bean.

Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the Natvia and vanilla paste for 8 minutes on high speed or until very pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.

Reduce to speed to low and add the lemon rind, flour and enough lemon juice to form a soft dough, mixing very lightly. Knead lightly with your hands until soft & pliable. Do not over work.

Press into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Roll out the cooled mix between sheets of baking paper to a large square. Refrigerate for a further 10 minutes if dough is not firm.

Cut into small squares or desired shape with a floured cutter and gently transfer to your prepared baking trays.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until firm. Allow to trays and shortbread to cool completely before moving as shortbread is naturally very delicate.
* Do not over mix or over work the dough or it will toughen quickly.

* It’s a good idea to keep your hands cool when kneading. Before you start, run your wrists under cold water.

* Resting the dough before rolling is essential to help stop it toughening up and shrinking.

* If the dough is sticky or hard to handle, you can refrigerate after cutting (before baking). These delicious shortbreads will keep well for 2 days in a sealed container.

Sticky Finger Chicken Wings and Tangy Garden Salad

Picture 1 (Serves 4)

Normally ‘sticky’ dishes contain lots of sugars (white, brown, honey or golden syrup). This no added sugar version is much healthier, and a lot easier to clean up after!


Sticky Finger Chicken Wings:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons (25g) Natvia
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 kg chicken wings

(Use kitchen scissors to snip off the ends tips of the wings, as they tend to burn easily.)

Combine all ingredients except the chicken wings in a large bowl.

Once your marinade is well combined, add in the chicken wings and ensure they are thoroughly coated wit marinade.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (You can marinade them for less time, but 2 hours will allow the flavours to develop.)

Preheat oven to 200C (190oC fan forced)

Line a large baking dish with foil. Spread out the wings evenly across the foil.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning regularly.

Preheat your grill to hot.

Remove the wings from the oven and place the dish under the grill, turning for 5 minutes or until crispy.

Serve immediately with a tossed salad or individually as finger food.

Tangy dressing:

  • 1/3 cup  (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated rind and juice 1 large lemon
  • ½ tsp Natvia
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed, or finely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Drizzle over your favourite salad greens and toss well just before serving

For a gluten free version use gluten free hoisin, soy and tomato sauces.
For a fiery zing, add fresh chopped chilli to the marinade mix.

Natvia is available in the sugar/sweetener aisle at Coles, Woolworths, selected independent supermarkets, health food stores and in cafes nationwide. You can join the Natvia Sweeter Life Club

Send in your own Natvia recipes to and Natvia will send you a gift pack.
And if you have any questions, post them here and we’ll get them answered!


Posts on may contain links to sponsors and affiliates with the capacity to receive monetary compensation, which helps to support the growth and development of this site. Giveaways are sponsored promotions and will always be stated as such on the post. Books, eBooks and other products that align with my site and ethos may potentially be accepted for review, but please respect my desire not to clutter my life with “stuff” before you send your wonderful product or press release. I am not a medical professional; rather, a wellness advocate, therefore anything written by myself on this site is my own (researched) opinion and not advice from a trained doctor. Here is a full breakdown of my position on sponsored posts and advertising.

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  • Have you tried rice malt syrup. It tastes a bit like honey and maple syrup. If you put it in a maple syrup bottle the kids can’t tell the difference. Tastes like brown sugar on porridge.


  • Thanks for the new recipe ideas sarah! Stevia can be tricky to cook with. I shall be giving some of these a go this week. I made some sweet chillie prawns in a garlic butter sauce last week with Stevia as my sweetener. Was surprisingly good.


  • Jessika

    Love your work Sarah 🙂
    I noticed on my box of Natvia it says “Excess consumption of this product may have a laxative effect.” what’s that about??


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    yes, it’s a digestive aid, too. The Native Americans used it as such…so go easy…


    Teresa Reply:

    I just picked up some stevia powder at the health food store the other day, and thought, “wonder what Sarah says about it?”

    I think the laxative effect has something to do with the way it’s metabolised — steviol glycoside is the whole molecule and when it gets to the gut it gets broken down into steviol and glucose. Some of the steviol gets absorbed, and the glucose is used up by bacterial in the gut, but I guess if you eat too much if accumulates in the gut and attracts water –> watery stools! Same thing with artificial sweeteners.


  • sarah

    (As Sally said) rice malt syrup is good, although it’s not sugar free, it is fructose free and low GI


    Lara Reply:

    It contains glucose – but not sugar or fructose. Just glucose and complex carbs…


  • Sally

    Yes it is not “sugar free”. But the word sugar is really just semantics. Any of a class of water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates is called “sugar”. I thought you were after a fructose free life? I have just started following you so might have missed something.


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    You’re right, Sally. It’s fructose that’s the issue! Glucose is fine.


  • Lovely recipes! I will definitely try them out.

    Just a little confused… Is Natvia a brand of Stevia? Or are they different?

    Thank you!


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Correct. The process the stevia leaves into a granulated powder, like sugar.


  • Lara

    Sarah, can you use Natvia in existing recipes? At the moment I use pharmaceutical grade non-gmo xylitol because I love that I can substitute it for sugar in almost equal quantities without having to completely adapt the recipe (I just use a little less of the xylitol). For example, I use 2 tsp of xylitol and 2 tsp of raw cocoa to make hot chocs. How much Natvia, do you think I would need to use to replace the xylitol and sweeten the cocoa in this case?


    sar Reply:


    You can use it one for one for a beautiful hot chocolate. I just put a teaspoon in… but if i need a sweet kick, i just sneak another one in. Who cares?.. i say it has only 0.6 calories per teaspoon.


  • Mia

    For someone who doesn’t like sleeve tattoos Sarah, a lot of your photos feature cute girls with sleeve tattoos! For the record I love them, and think your photo choices are super cute – today especially.

    I am sooo loving the idea of those sticky chicken wings. I am salivating just looking at them! Thanks for continuing to provide awesome info on fructose free options.


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    good observation. Jo chose this shot. She looks healthy and happy (in spite of the ink poisoning!)


    Mia Reply:

    As a heavily tattooed person myself I am going to smile and ignore that. 🙂


  • Liv

    Just thought it could be worth pointing out that other ingredients in these recipes, such as tomato sauce and hoisin sauce, actually contain a fair amount of sugar and therefore are not fructose-free!


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Very well observed. Agree. I personally would substitute with some tinned tomatoes and tamari. If it hasn’t got enough kick I would add some vegetable stock paste.


  • Try this delish recipe…

    Berry Coconut Crumble

    1-2cups of frozen or fresh berries
    1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
    1 teaspoon of cinnamon
    1 heaped teaspoon of organic butter
    1/2 cup of Organic desiccated coconut
    Sheeps Milk Yoghurt or biodynamic natural yoghurt

    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

    In a saucepan heat the coconut oil and add in the berries, cinnamon, stevia to taste and a dash of water. Boil until hot and berries are cooked through

    Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove, then remove and put into a small bowl. Mix the desiccated coconut and Stevia to taste to form a crumble like mixture (Add more than half a cup of coconut if you want more topping – same goes for berries! You can make the crumble as big as you want)

    Pour the berry mixture into a ramekin or oven proof dish and spread the coconut crumble mixture on top.

    Bake in the oven until top is golden brown.

    Serve with a few tablespoons of the yoghurt of your choice and add a dash more Stevia to taste – it’s sugar free after all!


    Love Faye xx


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Oh, I love this recipe. I do a simple version of this – i toast coconut in a pan and add to frozen berries, top with yoghurt and sprinkle with cinnamon and a little stevia.


  • Leah

    The almond tea cake loaf looked really yummy until I read that there is an apple in the ingredients 🙁 Apples are out for people with fructose malabsorption.
    But the shortbread looks like a goer!


  • Salbra

    Ahhh what simpatico timing Sarah. I was gifted a box of this magic sweet stuff on the weekend. I don’t add sugar to stuff, and try to stay away from sugary sweetness – but I love love love to bake treats for those who love them. Albeit feeling a tiny teensy bit guilty at the spoonfulls of sugar – I don’t feel as loving making the cupcakes knowing I’ve put something I wouldn’t eat myself in them, a bit feeder like guilty. So in what was perfect timing my dear friend gave me a box of goodies including Natvia just as I was baking up a batch of muffins (let’s admit muffins are cakes you can justify for breakfast non? ) for a brand new mummy. I tested the muffins after making them for quality control and they were delish – not too sweetly, not falsey, just filled with good stuff like lemons and berries and chia and this good sweet! I handed them over, feeling loving- not guilty. Having said that, I think new mum was hoping for some rich decadent chocolate number….she said something about breast feeding and calorie loss… Hmmmmm.


  • lisa

    Interesting that the recipes use ‘sugar’ where it’s not really needed? Chicken marinade (already has hoisin which is sweet) and salad dressing.

    And yes – gently does it with Natvia it works f.a.s.t

    One comment on the pictures used – I sent these to a friend and she was on the phone in a panic saying she couldn’t get the beef kebabs looking like the ones in the picture …


    Pete Reply:

    Probably best that she doesn’t get the beef kebabs to look like the picture as they look like some kind of camel turd.


    lisa Reply:

    hahahaha I don’t want to think how you are so familiar with camel turds, but I shall take your word for it!


    Louise Reply:

    Only a guy would post a revolting comment like this!!


    Pete Reply:

    What’s wrong with camel turd? Have you tried it? You shouldn’t knock these things before trying Louise..

  • Fiona

    Sarah, thanks for this post! There’s so much misinformation out there about sugar substitutes, so it’s nice to finally be presented with a solution. Since reading your post, I went out and bought Natvia from my local supermarket (Woolies) and I must say, I’m a convert! Only 0.6 calories per serve and NO FRUCTOSE! I even used it to sweeten up a not so ripe punnet of strawberries and it was delicious.


  • Lexi

    Fun article, I must say that I am a fan of stevia in baking and try to use it instead of sugar whenever possible.

    My morning smoothie of the moment:

    2-3 Tbsp frozen mixed berries
    1-2 Tbsp Jalna Biodynamic Yogurt (whole milk)
    1 Tsp White Chia Seeds
    1 Tsp LSA Mix
    A good shake of cinnamon and ground ginger
    1/2 – 1 tsp of Stevia!
    Add milk to 250ml marker in jar and pulse until smoothie like.
    So easy to add things to and keeps me going for ages!


  • Sarah L

    Hey Sarah,

    You’ve been writing a lot about fructose lately which is great for me as I have Crohn’s disease and fructose malabsorption, but I was wondering what your thoughts are on fruit and vegetables that contain more fructose than other sugars, such as onion. Do you still eat those foods or is it specifically sugar you’ve been avoiding?


  • Anna

    I made the almond tea cake loaf last night – was nice but could have been…a bit sweeter! Thanks for the recipe anyway…


  • Hayley

    Hey, Sarah!

    I just wanted to share this delicious breakfast idea with you. The orginal recipe calls for dried fruit and sugar – but you can easily leave this out. I substituted the apple sauce with coconut milk and ended up with one of the most blissful Winter breakfasts I’ve had in a long time!


    * 1/2 cup apple sauce
    * 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
    * 1 tbsp coconut sugar [optional – it’s great without it!]
    * 1 tbsp of chia seeds
    * 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    * handful of raisins
    * handful of coconut [optional]

    Optional toppings: raisins, coconut, granola, carob chips, maple syrup, yacon syrup…

    1. Prepare a 16oz. microwave safe dish by oiling with a dab of coconut oil. Set aside.
    2. Drop all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until fully incorporated.
    3. Press mixture into prepare dish and even out with fork. Place in the microwave and cook for 3 1/2 – 4 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when it rises slightly, is harder to the touch, and pulls away from the sides of the dish.
    4. Allow to rest for 1 minute before tipping over onto a plate [or leave in the dish like the picture above]

    Makes 1 breakfast bake.


    Topped with natural yoghurt and toasted slivered almonds and pepitas!



  • Would anyone have a sugar free or should I say fructose free recipe for sweet chilli sauce.

    Thanks Tracey


  • Sharron Arnold

    Love the recipes and comments on this site. Great to see others commenting on their adventures with the ‘sugar-free’ way of living healthy.


  • susan schubert

    I have started using Stevia, but it leaves an after taste just like other diet sweetners, does anyone else think that, or is it an acquired taste?


  • Just a question about the Natvia product – it has erythritol in it, which as you say can be naturally occurring in some fruits… however, it is also a processed ‘sugar alcohol’ food additive that can cause a laxative affect. Wouldn’t it be better to use a purer form of stevia?


  • Sylvia

    The Almond Tea Cake Loaf sounds delicious. But I baulk at using ‘slithered almonds’ lol…Sounds a bit creepy, don’t you think? Do you think that should read ‘slivered almonds’? I know which ones I prefer to eat.

    Just in the interest of good grammar, spelling & etc….

    Silver Angel Spread the Love



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  • Maria

    Could you please tell me if Natvia contains salicylates.


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  • Deborah

    Sarah, are we OK with erythritol?


    Elisa Reply:

    I’d love to know this too!
    so much confusing info out there..


  • Eve

    Hi I am wanting to make a lemon meringue pie but dont know how to subsitute the sugar for natvia could u advise thanks Eve.


  • Leanne Jones

    Can anyone tell me the ratio to use to replace sugar with Natvia?
    My recipe says 1 1/4 cups of sugar. How much Natvia should I use in my cake?
    Thanks, in advance.


  • Elly

    I’m dribbling just thinking about it. My fave.