Vegan Tapioca with Grilled Fruit and Toasted Coconut
When it comes to comfort desserts, old-fashioned tapioca pudding tops the list! When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies as a toddler, this was one of the first desserts I started playing with to make allergen free and still creamy and DELICIOUS.
This version gets a fancy topping of grilled fruit, toasted coconut and crunchy pecans for a tropical flair, because... you know, peach season... and this mama can grill!
With converting traditional tapioca pudding recipes that use whole milk and eggs to vegan recipes, there are generally two ways to proceed. Use a nut milk and cornstarch (less fat and expense) or use a combination of nut milk and coconut milk (more fat, more expensive, slightly more rich in texture). I'm all about indulging for less $$, so I made the cornstarch version. I also reduced the sweetener just a bit because the grilled fruit will add sweetness. If you are serving this plain, you may opt to add 1-2 more Tbsps of maple syrup.
As a general rule, I do not like super sweet desserts, plus it means I can eat this for breakfast! If you prefer your desserts sweet, you may want to add more sweetener... but please try this version first!
To make this pudding even creamier (but still healthy) and more reflective of whole milk and egg versions I've added 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. It is now PERFECT!
Total Time: 2.5 hours - overnight Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking/Grilling Time: ~ 15-20 minutes Soaking/Chilling Time: 2 hrs or overnight
For six servings, you will need: PRINT HERE
3 cups almond or cashew milk (or a combination), divided (see below)
1/3 cup small pearl tapioca
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp of the milk
1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)
6 Tbsp large flake coconut, unsweetened
6 Tbsp pecan pieces
3-4 rings of fresh pineapple
3 fresh peaches
dash of nutmeg (if you have a whole nutmeg to grate fresh, all the better!)
1. To make the pudding, combine the tapioca pearls and half of the nut milk in a medium saucepan. Allow to sit for a couple of hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Reserve 1 Tbsp of the remainder of the nut milk and set aside.
2. Add the rest of the nut milk to the saucepan with the tapioca. Add the maple syrup.
3. Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking.
4. Dissolve the tsp of cornstarch in the reserved Tbsp of nut milk. Once the tapioca mixture has come to a boil, add the dissolved cornstarch and salt and stir constantly until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut oil. Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
6. I prefer grilling over natural charcoal. That smokiness ya know... gotta have it! While the coals are heating, prepare your fruit. I used fresh peach halves and pineapple rings, but you may like to try papaya, mango, plums, nectarines, figs and any others that suit your fancy!
Not able to grill today? No worries. I've also used my cast iron grill pan on top of my gas stove. This generally makes wider and less delicate grill marks, but this depends on the type of grill grates you have.
7. Once the grilled fruit has cooled, chop it into a small dice and set it aside.
8. Toast the coconut and pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Toss frequently to prevent over-browning. Set aside to cool, then roughly chop.
9. To assemble, add 1/2 cup of pudding to each serving dish. Divide the grilled fruit, coconut and pecans evenly among the six dishes; sprinkle with a dash of ground nutmeg. Enjoy!
Nutrition information for 1/2 cup of tapioca pudding, 1/2 of a whole peach, 1/2 ring of pineapple, 1 Tbsp coconut, and 1 Tbsp pecans.
When you make this, let me know how it turned out. Be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I trust and use.
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