Types of Vegan Desserts

A lot of people are worried, when they are contemplating changing to a vegan diet, or when they are just beginning, that they will miss out on eating some of their favorite foods. While that is true, you’d be surprised at how much vegans can actually eat–and it tastes great, too! What about desserts? Here are several types of vegan desserts you can have.

The reality is, almost everything you can have as an omnivore, dessert wise, you can have as a vegan, with a few exceptions. Ice cream has to be made with something other than cream, marshmallows need something besides gelatin in them, and I’ve yet to see a decent rendition of anything made with egg whites as a base, such as macaroons or lemon meringue pie.

But as far as other desserts are concerned, you can still have your vegan cake, and eat it, too!

The main substitutions in these are to replace the eggs with something else that will produce a light end product. Often the biggest factor is a dense cake when the eggs are removed. But egg substitutes can work quite well here.

For a Halloween party, I made vegan chocolate spider cakes with a mixed berry “blood” filling. Scrumptious!

Butter must be replaced with oil or a dairy-free butter substitute. For cookies like gingersnaps or peanut butter cookies, oil is fine, because the other ingredients give a robust flavor. But plain cookies, like sugar cookies, really need the buttery flavor that a substitute adds to the equation.

Tapioca pudding is a fabulous vegan dessert, because it can be made with coconut milk. Chocolate and coconut puddings also are fine, but I haven’t yet found a decent vanilla pudding recipe. Too often it tastes like a starchy, sticky version of the soymilk or ricemilk it was made of.

Fruit pies are easy to veganize. The butter or lard in the crust needs to be replaced with vegetable shortening or oil. Alternately, you could use a raw pie crust made from ground nuts, dates, and other similar ingredients.

Some firmer pies, such as baked pumpkin or chilled “cream” pies use tofu to get them to set to a firm consistency. I’ve also had success using starch in cooked pies to get the same result.

Frozen desserts
Nope, you can’t have ice cream, but you can have soy, rice, nut, grain, or coconut milk-based variations. You can use soy yogurt to make frozen yogurt, like this chocolate frozen yogurt.

And the flavor combinations are just as varied as with normal ice cream, with the possible exception of maple-bacon ice cream. (Although, to be fair, I haven’t yet tried to make a vegan version. Hmm…add it to my to-do list?)

Rice-based desserts
Many Asian countries have desserts that are heavily based on rice and rice flour, including glutinous rice. These include mochi, sticky rice pudding with coconut milk, various cakes and sweets made with rice flour batters, and steamed glutinous rice bundles with sweetened beans or fruit tucked inside.

Chocolate, as long as there is no milk in it, is okay. And vegan sugar can be used to make hard candies. I’ve made chocolate truffles, fruit and nut clusters, and apricot-filled chocolates, all vegan.

Fruit-based desserts
In addition to pies, fruits can be served plain, or dressed up slightly with other flavors, like these Spiced Apples, or in a fruit salad. They can be made into crumbles or crisps, like this Vegan Apple Crisp. They can be put into breads and served for dessert, like Vegan Blueberry Muffins or Vegan Banana Bread.

You can see that vegans aren’t terribly limited when it comes to desserts, so you don’t have to worry too much about it. Vegan desserts are here to stay, and if you have never tried one, fear not. Try one of these recipes to see how delicious they can be.

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