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, RDN is the owner of the private practices, Champagne Nutrition, and Seattle Cancer Nutritionist in Seattle, WA. She specializes in integrative health and oncology, nutrigenomics, and plant-based diets. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.