I consider real vanilla beans a luxury! Even though you can buy vanilla extract quite cheaply, real vanilla beans are pretty pricey. I was excited when I found some that were reasonably priced at Costco. If I don’t have whole beans, I usually use Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste, which is a great substitute. It’s a mixture of vanilla beans and extract, so you still get the little black flecks in your dessert!
With a theme like vanilla, this month’s dessert could have gone in almost any direction. The dish I made, chia seed pudding, is really simple. There are only a few ingredients and it’s also vegan / raw / gluten free / lactose free! The pudding is as simple as mixing all the ingredients together and letting the mixture sit in the fridge overnight. I found a recipe that paired the pudding with a cashew cream, which takes a little more effort than the pudding itself as there is blending involved!
The base recipe is pretty versatile. Some recipes use a different liquid such as almond milk or soy milk, but I really like coconut milk and I think it’s a great flavor for a summer dessert! I lightened it a bit by using a combination of coconut milk and coconut water.
In line with this month’s theme, vanilla is featured in both the pudding as well as the cashew cream. I served these in little individual glasses and topped with cherries and flaked almonds.
I wasn’t sure how well it would be received, since “raw” and “vegan” might not sound very appealing to everyone, but everyone loved it! The coconut, cherry and almond flavors paired so well together. This is definitely something I will make again.
It also inspired me to try out some more raw cooking next weekend!
Find the recipe here