Okay. So you now have breakfast, lunch and dinner covered, but what about sweets and snacks? Yes, of course you need your junk food! We feel you. Don’t worry – most potato chips and pretzels and tortilla chips are all vegan, as are soda, lots of crackers and almost all dark chocolate bars. So get your snack on. What about sweets you ask? Oreos and Nutter Butters are vegan, as well as many sorbets, ice cream cones and even several kinds of Jell-O boxed pudding. Make no mistake, this is not health foods. But we all want something salty or sweet sometimes. Need a healthier snack? Try carrots or celery sticks with nut butter. Or just nuts, fresh fruits or applesauce.
If you’re not planning to learn vegan baking skills (i.e., dairy free, egg-free baking) anytime soon, you can still put together a great dessert for family, company to take to a party. Try this Coconut Banan Parfait and wow the crowd with your pretty vegan dessert!
Coconut Banana Parfait
It’s got a few steps, but really, this dessert is super simple! There’s a good deal of stirring that you can enlist your family to assist with, too. And sure, why not lick the bowls?
1 box Banana Jell-O pudding
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1 cup plain almond milk (we used Silk)
1 tsp. orange zest
24 vegan gingersnap cookies (we used Back to Nature)
1 box Coconut Jell-O pudding
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1 cup plain almond milk
1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk, pre-chilled in fridge for 12 to 24 hours
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbl. flake coconut, optional as garnish
In a small bowl, empty packet of Banana Jell-O pudding and add 1 Tbl. cornstarch. Stir together. Add in 1/2 cup almond milk and whisk until smooth and thick; add in remaining 1/2 cup almond milk and repeat whisking process until pudding is a perfect texture. Try to get out lumps. Finally, fold in the orange zest. Set aside.
In a large zip top bag, add all gingersnap cookies. Using a rolling pin or heavy pan, beat the cookies until they are crumbles. This is a great way to blow off a little steam from your day at work! Set aside.
Using a second bowl, empty packet of Coconut Jell-O pudding and add 1 Tbl. cornstarch. Stir together. Add in 1/2 cup almond milk and whisk until smooth and thick; add in remaining 1/2 cup almond milk and repeat whisking process until pudding is a perfect texture.
To make the final layer of the parfait, open the can of coconut milk and pour off the liquid coconut water. Set this aside for another use. (We normally use our leftover coconut water in smoothies with some frozen bananas and mango – Mmm!)
Scoop the solidified coconut cream from the can into a third mixing bowl and add the vanilla. Using an electric mixer, whip the coconut cream until it’s smooth and stiff. It takes about 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your mixer. You can use a stand mixer to do this too. It’s crucial not to overwork the coconut whip at this point. If you keep going with the mixer, it will return to a liquid state. If that happens, just pop it back in the fridge for a while – it will get stiff again.
Assembling the parfaits is simple: in the bottom of four glass dishes, sprinkle 1/2 of the gingersnap cookie crumbles, distributing equally. Then, add a layer of the banana-orange zest pudding. Top with the reserved gingersnap crumbles. Next comes the coconut pudding. Finally, add a heart dollop of the whipped coconut milk and sprinkle with optional coconut flakes. This dessert can be eaten right away, but will also hold for several days in the fridge too. You can also make it in one large glass container and layer whole cookies on the bottom for an old-fashioned look.
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