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Plant-based desserts for holiday entertaining

A registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Lower Sackville, Rebecca Robar offers up a recipe for a delicious vegan tiramisu.
A registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Lower Sackville, Rebecca Robar offers up a recipe for a delicious vegan tiramisu. - Contributed

Will you be hosting the big family dinner this holiday season? Whether you are hosting or attending a festive dinner party over the next few weeks, the odds are good that someone at the table will be looking for plant-based options.

Serving up a plant-based entrée at a party is one thing, but then there’s also dessert to think about. Here are my tips for planning a plant-based holiday dessert menu – or when you just want to have a sweet treat on hand for the vegans in your life.

Swap the egg

If you have a crowd-pleaser dessert that calls for eggs, swap out the eggs with a “flax egg”. To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flax and three tablespoons of water, and let stand until it has thickened. Mashed banana, applesauce, and commercial egg replacers can also be used as substitutes, depending on the recipe.

Swap the dairy

The variety of non-dairy milks and milk products available these days make swapping dairy in desserts a breeze. It is best to choose an unsweetened milk alternative when using it in baking, and it is important to consider the consistency that you are replacing. For example, soy milk has the closest consistency to cow’s milk, whereas coconut milk is quite thick, so it makes a good replacement for cream. 

Feature fruit

A platter of fresh, colourful fruit will never disappoint, and it adds a nutritious option to the dessert menu. For dipping, consider making a homemade fruit dip using a dairy-free yogurt, like coconut or soy.  

Don’t forget about honey

If you have a vegan guest at your table, honey may not be a part of their diet. If your dessert recipe calls for honey, swap for an equal amount of maple syrup.

Explore new plant-based products

There are many new plant-based products showing up on grocery store shelves, including a quickly growing line-up from President’s Choice. Want an easy option for a dinner party? Dress up the PC Plant-Based Cheesecake-style dessert with some fresh fruit, or serve up a plant-based apple crisp with some PC Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert as an alternative to the traditional scoop of ice cream. 

Get ready to wow your guests with this Vegan Tiramisu, which uses a vegan cream cheese-style spread in place of rich mascarpone for a dairy-free take on the classic coffee-infused Italian dessert. Tiramisu tastes better with time, so you can prepare it up to three days ahead of time and keep refrigerated until ready to dust with cocoa powder and serve. 

Vegan Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) hot brewed espresso
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) coffee-flavour liqueur
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 pkg (227 g each) plain dairy-free cream cheese-style spread, such as PC Plant-Based Plain Coconut Cream Cheese-style Spread
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) PC Dairy-Free Plain Cultured Coconut Milk Probiotic Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup (188 mL) icing sugar
  • 18 vegan sugar crisp cookies or other plain biscuits
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions:

  1. 1. Stir together espresso, liqueur and granulated sugar in shallow bowl until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until cooled, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl using electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in yogurt until combined. Beat in icing sugar until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Dip cookies in cooled espresso mixture, turning once, just until soaked through, 1 to 2 seconds per side. Discard remaining espresso mixture.
  4. Arrange half of the cookies in single layer to cover bottom of 8-inch (2 L) square glass baking dish. Spread half of the cheese mixture over top. Repeat layers once.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cookies are softened, about 4 hours. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Chef’s Tip: Tiramisu is traditionally prepared with egg-based ladyfingers. When selecting a vegan substitute, look for a crispy hard-baked cookie that’s light and airy, which will allow for optimal absorption of the espresso mixture.

  • Serves 16.
  • Per serving: 240 calories, fat 16 g (6 g of which is saturated), sodium 210 mg, carbohydrate 22 g, fibre 0 g, sugars 14 g, protein 4 g
  • Recipe source: Chef Craig Harding for President’s Choice®

Do you have a nutrition health goal in mind? The Atlantic Superstore dietitian team can coach you to success! Set up a personalized appointment at bookadietitian.ca or email us for more information at dietitian@loblaw.ca. Dietitian services are also available for schools, business and community groups.

Rebecca Robar is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Lower Sackville, Windsor and Elmsdale, Nova Scotia. Rebecca.Robar@loblaw.ca

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