8 Traditional Desserts — Made Vegan-Friendly

Coconut oil and milk, grounded coconut flakes and coco nut
Photo: Thinkstock/ChamilleWhite

1. Whipped Cream

Whipped cream can be made by combining full-fat chilled coconut cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract, similar to how you make whipped cream from dairy half-and-half.

2. Tiramisu

Tiramisu is typically is made with soft Italian mascarpone cheese, but a package of extra-firm tofu blended with raw cashews, sugar and lemon juice makes a creamy, vegan-friendly substitution.

3. Flan

Flan is a custard product made with cream and eggs. Instead, use extra-firm silken tofu paired with high-fat non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk, to re-create the texture. Combined with agar flakes (a thickener made from red seaweed), sugar and vanilla extract, you can create a highly comparable vegan flan.

4. Creme Brulee

Can be made vegan by using silken tofu, full-fat coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract and cornstarch. Sugar is key for the caramelized top. Ground turmeric can create a golden color in vegan creme brulee or flan.

5. Panna Cotta

This is a cold Italian custard that often is served with fruit. It is traditionally made with cream and gelatin, which are not vegan-friendly. Make it dairy-free with a combination of full-fat coconut milk, vanilla extract, sugar and a thickener such as agar powder and tapioca flour.

6. Gelato or Ice Cream

Can be made vegan by using high-fat non-dairy milk, such as coconut, combined with sugar and cornstarch.

7. Pie Crust

This can be a challenge, as many non-vegan varieties use lard or butter for flakiness. Use chilled vegan butter, shortening substitute or coconut oil combined with all-purpose flour, salt and ice water.

8. Tres Leches

This is a milk cake typically made from whole, condensed and evaporated milks as well as heavy cream and eggs. For a vegan tres leches dessert, use plain unsweetened soy milk plus apple cider vinegar to create buttermilk. To make the soaking liquid, which creates a moist cake, combine vegan sweetened condensed milk and full-fat coconut milk.


Want more tips on vegan baking? Read “Mastering Vegan Baking”

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Ginger Hultin
Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, CSO, is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Seattle-based health writer specializing in integrative health and nutrigenomics. Read Ginger’s blog, Champagne Nutrition, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.


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