Everyone, vegan or not, knows that just about anything can be recreated without meat, dairy or other animal by-products. I can grab a vegan donut, drink a latte with almond milk, buy a vegan frozen pizza - the list goes on. And you can absolutely cook like this in your own kitchen, from plant-based pop tarts to raw cheesecakes. But if you’re short on time (because you’re busy enjoying the outdoors), then complex vegan desserts are probably not your thing. In the spirit of the season, here are three quick, cold recipes that you can easily whip up on vacation or on your way to the beach:
Yields 2 servings
Slushies are generally considered vegan-friendly (depending on how you feel about bone-char processed sugar) but they do score low in terms of nutrition. If you’re staying active this summer, stay away from sweet treats that will make you crash. Try this simple, healthy alternative instead:
1lb cubed, seedless watermelon
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp amber agave syrup
Black sesame seeds (optional)
Place your coconut milk in the fridge. Line a baking sheet with freezer paper, with the slick side facing upwards. Drain your cubed watermelon as much as possible and spread the cubes around the sheet. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours, checking periodically to ensure that no pieces have fused to the paper.
In a food processor, add the watermelon “ice cubes” and agave nectar. Shake the coconut milk can vigorously and add 1/2 a cup to the basin. The trick to the slushy consistency is processing as little as possible because the machine generates heat, which will melt your watermelon cubes. Blend in small increments and help the mixture incorporate with a spatula, if needed. Garnish with black sesame for a cheeky watermelon seed reference.
Yields 4 servings
Genuine vegan caramel is life changing but also takes quite a bit of finesse (and a candy thermometer) to pull off. Tip: Mix this date caramel into your tub of ice cream when you arrive home from the store (when it is soft). This way, every scoop has swirl of salty goodness inside, as seen above.
4 oz of pitted dates
2-3 oz of vegan milk
Kosher sea salt
Add the pitted dates to a food processor. In the microwave, heat the vegan milk in a heat-safe container for 15-20 seconds. Turn on the processor and slowly stream the warm vegan milk into the basin. Add one to two pinches of salt. Process until smooth. Salt one more time, in the basin, and then transfer to a Mason jar. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Finally, if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth but like to entertain, try making this dessert cocktail. It’s sort of like the classier version of everyone’s favorite punch at school dances (sherbert and sprite?) It can also be made table side and changed very easily, whether you have orange sorbet or ginger soda on hand, etc.
(or mineral water with lime)
In a lowball glass, add two small scoops of sorbet. Stream in half a shot of falernum and a full shot of sake. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling lemonade or mineral water and lime, depending on how sweet you would like the drink to be. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Note: There are many different kinds of sake, all with various methodologies for their craft, as well as, serving rules. Be sure to ask your local liquor representative, at the store, which varieties should be served chilled. If all else fails, look for keywords like ginjo, junmai gingo, and nigori - three varieties that tend to have a delicate, fruity sweetness.
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