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Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe (A Classic Italian Treat)

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Prepare to swoon over our Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe! This creamy Italian dessert is a breeze to make and oh-so-decadent. Start by simmering coconut milk with agar-agar and sugar until thickened. Then, pour the mixture into molds and chill until set. Serve with your favorite fruit compote or syrup for a luscious treat that’s sure to impress your taste buds. Enjoy the silky smoothness with every spoonful!

WHY IT WORKS?

  • Coconut Milk Magic: Creamy coconut milk replaces dairy, offering a rich, velvety base.
  • Agar-Agar Advantage: This plant-based gelatin substitute guarantees a perfect set every time.
  • Vanilla Bean Essence: Infuses a delicate, aromatic flavor that elevates the dish.
  • Berry Compote Brilliance: A fresh, tangy topping that contrasts beautifully with the sweetness.
  • Allergy-Friendly: Free from dairy, gluten, and animal products, making them accessible.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a dessert that satisfies the sweet tooth while adhering to vegan dietary restrictions can often feel daunting.

Enter the world of vegan panna cotta, a recipe that promises the same luxurious texture and depth of flavor as its traditional counterpart without any animal products.

My journey into vegan cooking led me to this delightful discovery, transforming my dessert repertoire. Faced with the challenge of creating a creamy,

indulgent dessert that everyone could enjoy, I turned to the magic of coconut milk and agar-agar. 

This Vegan Panna Cotta recipe meets dietary needs and enchants with its elegant simplicity and versatility, making it a hit at any gathering.

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe

What Is Vegan Panna Cotta? 

Vegan Panna Cotta is a plant-based version of the classic Italian dessert, traditionally made with heavy cream and gelatin.

This vegan version swaps out animal-derived ingredients for vegan-friendly alternatives like coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk to create its creamy texture.

It uses agar-agar, a seaweed-derived substance, instead of gelatin for setting. Infused with flavors such as vanilla or citrus, vegan panna cotta is topped with fruit compotes or syrups.

It offers a luxurious, silky-smooth dessert that caters to those following a vegan lifestyle or anyone seeking a dairy-free indulgence.

Fact – Agar-agar, used in vegan panna cotta, is derived from seaweed and is a powerful vegetarian gelatin alternative, making desserts without animal-based products.

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta

Recipe Directions 

  • Preparation: Mix cornstarch and agar agar with 4 tablespoons of soya milk. Set aside. If using a vanilla pod, slice and scrape out the seeds.
  • Cooking the Base: Combine the remaining soya milk and caster sugar in a saucepan. Stir on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add coconut cream, vanilla (paste or pod seeds), and a pinch of salt. Heat until simmering.
  • Thickening: Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking continuously. The mixture should thicken to a runny custard.
  • Setting: Sieve the mixture into 4 silicone molds or jars. Cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  • Strawberry Coulis: Blend strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lime juice until smooth. Cook in a saucepan for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Serving: Gently remove panna cotta from molds. Serve with strawberry coulis drizzled on top.

Recipe Directions 

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations

  • Chocolate Vegan Panna Cotta: Incorporate cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate into the base mixture for a rich, chocolatey version.
  • Coffee Panna Cotta: Add brewed espresso or instant coffee powder to the mixture for a caffeinated twist.
  • Citrus-Infused Panna Cotta: Mix in citrus zest (lemon juice, lime, or orange) for a refreshing flavor.
  • Mango Coconut Panna Cotta: Blend mango puree into the coconut milk base for a tropical flair.

Add-Ons

  • Layered Panna Cotta: Create layers by setting different flavored panna cottas on top of each other, such as vanilla and berry, allowing each layer to set before adding the next.
  • Vegan Gelatin Layers: For an eye-catching effect, add a clear or colored agar-agar layer flavored with fruit juice or tea.

Variations, Add-Ons

Toppings

  • Fresh Fruit: Top with fresh berries, diced mango, peach slices, or passion fruit pulp for freshness.
  • Fruit Compotes and Coulis: Beyond strawberry, consider raspberry, blueberry, or apricot compotes.
  • Syrups and Sauces: Drizzle with chocolate, caramel, or fruit syrups.
  • Crunchy Elements: Add texture with chopped nuts, toasted coconut flakes, or vegan granola.
  • Edible Flowers: Garnish with edible flowers for an elegant presentation.
  • Herb Accents: Mint leaves or basil can add a refreshing aroma and taste.

Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Mushrooms: Great for replacing meat due to their umami flavor and meaty texture. Portobellos are excellent for burgers.
  • Jackfruit: Unripe jackfruit has a texture similar to pulled pork, which is ideal for tacos and sandwiches.
  • Cauliflower: Versatile for steaks, wings, or as a rice substitute.
  • Lentils: A protein-rich option for ground meat in sauces, stews, and patties.
  • Chickpeas: Can replace chicken or tuna in salads and sandwiches.
  • Eggplant: Its fleshiness works well as a substitute for fish or in layered dishes like lasagna.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Offer a sweet, dense base for burgers, pancakes, or fillings.
  • Beets: Their earthy flavor and texture make them perfect for mimicking red meat, especially in burgers.

Quick Tip – Blend soaked cashews into your recipes for creamier vegan soups and sauces. They add a rich texture and subtly nutty flavor, enhancing the dish’s overall taste.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  1. Fruit Salad A fresh, light side that adds a sweet and tangy contrast.
  2. Vegan Biscotti Perfect for dipping into the panna cotta or enjoying on the side for a textural contrast.
  3. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries Adds a decadent, romantic touch, especially for special occasions.
  4. Lemon Sorbet Offers a refreshing, palate-cleansing finish between bites.
  5. Almond Tuiles These thin, crisp cookies provide a delicate crunch that complements the creamy dessert.
  6. Ginger Spiced Pears Poached or roasted pears with a hint of ginger spice can add warmth and depth.
  7. Coconut Whipped Cream A dollop on top adds creaminess and enhances the coconut flavors in the panna cotta.
  8. Maple Glazed Nuts A sweet and crunchy addition that brings a nutty flavor to the dessert table.
Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • Chill Properly: Ensure the panna cotta is fully set and chilled for at least 2 hours to maintain its shape and texture.
  • Unmold with Care: If using molds, briefly dip the bottom in hot water, then gently invert onto serving plates. For jar servings, could you leave them in the jar for a rustic look?
  • Add a Sauce: For extra flavor, drizzle with a fruit coulis, like strawberry or raspberry, or a caramel or chocolate sauce.
  • Garnish: Top with fresh berries, mint leaves, edible flowers, or a sprinkle of citrus zest to add color and freshness.
  • Serve with a Crunch: Accompany with biscotti, shortbread cookies, or a sprinkle of crushed nuts for a textural contrast.
  • Pair with a Beverage: Complement the dessert with a dessert wine, a cup of espresso, or herbal tea for a complete dessert experience.
  • Temperature Contrast: Serve alongside a scoop of vegan ice cream or sorbet for a delightful temperature contrast.
  • Seasonal Touches: Customize garnishes and accompaniments based on the season—use fresh summer berries, fall figs, or winter citrus.

Quick Tip – Incorporate a variety of herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of vegan dishes. They add depth and complexity without extra calories or fat.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Make Ahead: Vegan Panna Cotta can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, ensuring flavors meld beautifully and texture sets perfectly.
  • Refrigeration: Keep in the fridge, covered, to maintain freshness and prevent absorption of other food odors.
  • Mold Choice: Use silicone molds or glass jars for easy unmolding and serving.
  • Sauce Separation: You can prepare your coulis or sauce in advance, too, but store it separately. This prevents the panna cotta from becoming soggy.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing can alter the texture, making it less smooth.
  • Quick Serve: For a faster setting, chill molds in the freezer for 30 minutes before moving to the fridge.

Fact – Agar-agar, the key to making vegan panna cotta, was discovered in Japan in the 1650s. It is derived from red algae, making it a sustainable, plant-based gelatin alternative.

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe

TIME-SAVING TIPS

  1. Prep Ingredients: Measure out all ingredients before starting. This minimizes downtime during cooking.
  2. Agar-Agar Solution: First, dissolve agar-agar in a small amount of liquid to ensure it blends smoothly with no clumps.
  3. Blend for Smoothness: After heating, use a blender to mix the panna cotta mixture for a silky-smooth texture without manual whisking.
  4. Microwave for Melting: If your recipe uses ingredients like coconut cream, gently warm them in the microwave to speed up the melting process.
  5. Freeze to Set Quickly: If you are short on time, place the panna cotta in the freezer for about 30 minutes before transferring it to the fridge.
  6. Make in Batches: Prepare multiple servings at once. Vegan Panna Cotta recipes store well, saving time for future dessert needs.
  7. Use Ready-Made Toppings: Opt for pre-made fruit compotes or syrups to garnish, eliminating the need for additional prep work.

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe (A Classic Italian Treat)

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe (A Classic Italian Treat)

Recipe by Julia

Vegan Panna Cotta is a luxurious, plant-based dessert that perfectly mimics the classic Italian treat. It achieves a silky texture and rich flavor by utilizing agar-agar for setting and coconut milk for creaminess.

This adaptable dessert can be infused with various essences and topped with fruit compotes, making it an elegant finale to any meal.

Course: Desserts
0 from 0 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep Time

20

minutes
Cooking Time

10

minutes
Calories

200

kcal
Rest Time

165

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Cornstarch (Cornflour)(30 g)

  • 1 Tsp 1 Agar-Agar Powder(5 g)

  • 1 cup 1 Soya Milk(236 ml)

  • ¼ cup ¼ Caster Sugar (for Vanilla Panna Cotta)(50 g)

  • 7 oz 7 Coconut Cream or Canned Full-Fat Coconut Milk(200 g)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Pod(15 g)

  • Pinch Sea Salt

  • 8.8 oz 8.8 Strawberries(250 g)

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Caster Sugar (for Strawberry Coulis)(30 g)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Lime Juice(15 ml)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Cornstarch (Cornflour) (for Strawberry Coulis)(15 g)

  • 3 Tbsp 3 Water(45 ml)

Directions

  • Preparation
  • Mix cornstarch and agar agar with 4 tablespoons of soya milk. Set aside. If using a vanilla pod, slice and scrape out the seeds.
  • Cooking The Base
  • In a saucepan, combine the remaining soya milk and caster sugar. Stir on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Add coconut cream, vanilla (paste or pod seeds), and a pinch of salt. Heat until simmering.Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Thickening
  • Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, whisking continuously. The mixture should thicken to a runny custard consistency.Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Setting
  • Sieve the mixture into 4 silicone molds or jars. Cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours to set.Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Strawberry Coulis
  • Blend strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lime juice until smooth.
  • Cook in a saucepan for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature for 30 minutes.Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Serving
  • Gently remove panna cotta from molds. Serve with strawberry coulis drizzled on top.Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Equipments List
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Sieve
  • Silicone molds or serving jars
  • Blender or immersion blender
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Refrigerator

Notes

  • Agar-Agar vs. Gelatin: Agar-agar sets firmer than gelatin, so adjust quantities if substituting.
  • Coconut Milk: Use full fat for creaminess; light versions also won’t set.
  • Vanilla: Extract can be substituted with paste or pod but may alter flavor depth.
  • Serving: Chill in glasses for an elegant, no-unmold presentation.
  • Texture: For a softer set, reduce agar-agar slightly.
  • Sweetness: Adjust sugar to taste, especially when using sweeter or less sweet plant milk.
  • Flavor Variations: Experiment with other extracts or spices for unique twists.
  • Coulis: Substitute any berry or fruit for strawberry to match the season or preference.

Nutrition Table

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Different Plant Milk Instead Of Soy Milk In Vegan Panna Cotta?

You can substitute soy milk with other plant-based milk, such as almonds, oat milk, or coconut milk. Each milk imparts its unique flavor and texture to the panna cotta.

However, for the best results, choose full-fat versions to maintain the creamy texture characteristic of panna cotta.

How Can I Ensure My Vegan Panna Cotta Sets Properly?

Accurately measure the agar agar powder to ensure proper setting. Agar-agar needs to reach a boiling point to activate its gelling properties, so simmer the mixture as instructed.

Cooling the mixture to room temperature before refrigerating also helps achieve a smooth consistency. If the panna cotta doesn’t set, it might require a slightly higher agar-agar concentration.

Delicious Vegan Panna Cotta Recipe

Can I Make Vegan Panna Cotta Without Sugar?

Absolutely. For a sugar-free version, substitute the caster sugar with a sugar alternative of your choice, such as stevia, erythritol, agave syrup, or maple syrup.

Remember that the sweetness level and flavor profile will vary with different substitutes, so you may need to adjust quantities to taste.

Is Vegan Panna Cotta Gluten-Free?

Yes, the basic ingredients of vegan panna cotta—plant milk, agar-agar, and coconut cream—are naturally gluten-free.

However, if cross-contamination is a concern, always check the labels of your ingredients to ensure they haven’t been processed in a facility that handles gluten-containing products.

How Can I Add Different Flavors To My Vegan Panna Cotta?

The beauty of vegan panna cotta is its versatility. During the cooking process, you can infuse the milk with various flavors. Add espresso powder for a coffee flavor, cocoa powder for chocolate, or citrus zest for a fresh twist.

Blend in fruit purees or extracts like almond or peppermint for more adventurous variations. Experimenting with toppings like fruit compotes, nuts, or chocolate shavings can also introduce new flavors and textures.

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VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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