Elegant Creamy Vegan Dessert Recipes Using Plant-based Milks

  • Plant-based chef Nathi Toro uses nut milk and natural emulsifiers to make creamy vegan desserts.

  • Using a blender, a food processor, and a freezer, these desserts are totally raw vegan.

In this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen we dive deep into the Raw Vegan realm to create desserts that will delight even the most luxurious of palettes. Our plant-based chef, Nathi Toro,  introduces us to the magic of hazelnuts using both the nut and nut milk to create a velvety hazelnut tart and creamy vegan panna cotta.

How do you make a vegan panna cotta you ask? You'll have to watch the episode for all the details, but the secret is agar-agar, a plant-based gelatin that gives the dessert its signature texture.

Adding vegan items to your menu is a no-brainer as consumers continue to trend towards healthier, more mindful food choices. Don’t disqualify yourself simply because you don’t offer plant-based options. Using ingredients already in your pantry, you could be offering easy vegan dishes, placing your brand at the top of the list for this new breed of foodie.

Find the recipe for Nathi's delectable desserts below and watch the episode for tips and tricks to creating these addictive sweets!

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart

Filling
1 ½ cups cashews, soaked
½ cup hazelnut milk
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon soy lecithin
¾ cup coconut oil, melted
¾ cup cacao powder

Blend all ingredients, except cacao powder and coconut oil, until completely smooth. Gradually stream in melted coconut oil while the blender is running. Add cacao powder in thirds, blending until thoroughly combined each time. Continue to blend until completely smooth. Pour filling over prepared crust and let set in freezer. Once frozen, remove from pan and cut tart into long triangular slices.

Crust
1 cup hazelnuts
2 ½ tablespoons coconut sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cacao butter, melted
½ tablespoon coconut oil, melted

In a blender, pulse hazelnuts, ½ cup at a time, for 2-3 second increments until the hazelnuts turn to a fine flour-like consistency. Sift and return any large pieces of hazelnut to the blender and pulse again. Be careful not to over blend or the hazelnuts will turn into hazelnut butter rather than a meal. Mix the hazelnut meal and the remaining ingredients by hand. Press crust flat into a 1/6 pan lined with parchment. Smooth and level the top with an offset spatula.

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Hazelnut Milk
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked
3 cups water

Blend above ingredients until hazelnuts are well broken down. Separate the hazelnut pulp from the milk using a chinois or a nut milk bag. Dehydrate any remaining hazelnut pulp to use as hazelnut flour.

Chocolate Shard
½ cup cacao powder
½ cup cacao butter, melted
¼ cup agave
pinch salt

In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients until well combined. Pour chocolate onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Let set in the freezer and once firm, break into pieces.  Store frozen.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry sauce

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Panna Cotta
½ cup coconut meat
1 cup cashews, soaked
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons raw agave or maple syrup
¼ cup Agar Agar solution with 1.0% Agar Agar*
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ vanilla pod, scraped
½ cup coconut oil

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into semi-sphere silicone molds and place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or until set.

Raspberry sauce
1 lb frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon agar-agar
½ cup agave

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Strain.

To make agar solution with 1.0% Agar Agar:

  1. Weigh your panna cotta mixture.

  2. Weigh 1 cup of water.

  3. Add the totals together to get the weight of your entire recipe.

  4. Multiply total by 0.01. This amount is what you need to weigh out in agar powder.

  5. Add the cup of water to a saucepan and heat. When it starts to simmer add the measured Agar Agar. Bring to a boil and stir for 3 - 4 minutes.

  6. Measure a ¼ cup of this solution and blend with rest of mixture. Pour into molds. Let set in refrigerator until ready to serve, then remove.

For example: Your mixture = 110g. Cup of water = 250g. Total = 360g.

360g x 0.01 = 3.6g

Therefore, you need to weigh 3.6g agar. Then add to 1 cup water and proceed as per the recipe.

Plant-Based Food Influencers Want More Delivery Options

  • Data around food influencers show that plant-based diets are trending

  • The consumer shift to vegan diets is causing restaurants to create more plant-based dishes

The Plant-based movement is in full swing. Plant-based consumption is up 300% over just the last year and restaurants are starting to take notice.

According to Foodable Labs, this year, 51% of chefs have added vegan menu items to their menus, up 31% from last year. These plant-based concepts have increased traffic a whopping 13% year over year in a market where overall restaurant counts are down.

So what’s the big deal? Meat is not going to disappear, right?? While data cannot say just yet, we do see engagement with plant-based content growing across the board.

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According to Foodable Labs, conversations among food influencers are showing a 78.4% increase in plant-based topics over the last year, indicating a very clear culture shift.

Big companies like Walmart are jumping on the trend, asking their suppliers for more healthy and plant-based products like alternative proteins. CEO of alternative protein company Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown says he’s noticed the shift, too.

“We’ve gone from pushing and really trying to convince to now just being in response mode where the consumer is now driving the ship, so to speak, and steering the ship and we are just trying to keep up,” Brown explains.

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HipCityVeg CEO Nicole Marquis adds that winning with this new brand of customer is more than simply giving them what they want.

“It’s no longer really about like interruptive marketing and manipulating someone's purchasing choices, it’s really about communicating who we are, what we do, what we believe in,” she says. “I think the driving force is definitely shared value.”

Foodable Labs also shows that plant-based meal delivery has a major gap in the market with 62.7% of food influencers looking for more plant-based delivery options.

Foodable expects plant-based diets and Vegan diets to continue to grow over the next year. Stay tuned to Foodable Network for the latest in plant-based news and trends and comment and share to join the conversation!

Rising Plant-Based Consumption Causes Milk Giant, Dean Foods to Close Major Facility

Rising Plant-Based Consumption Causes Milk Giant, Dean Foods to Close Major Facility
  • Dairy products are suffering when compared to rising sales of plant-based milk alternatives.

  • Dean Foods shuts down numerous dairy plants, and acquires majority stake in plant-based brand Good Karma.

As plant-based alternatives continue to grow in popularity, animal by-products are on the short end of the stick.

Recently experiencing the negative impact of rising plant-based trends is milk giant Dean Foods. As a result, the dairy manufacturer will be shutting down one of its main facilities located in Illinois this September.

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Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown Credits Millennials, Whole Foods for Success

Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown Credits Millennials, Whole Foods for Success

Ethan Brown created Beyond Meat to solve animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and improve human health.

  • Beyond Meat's Burger and Sausage are in high-demand and now available through Sysco, Whole Foods, and TGI Fridays.

Ethan Brown grew up on a farm. It was this childhood that led him to believe that there had to be a different way to create delicious meats. Using science (and a little time) Brown developed a plant protein burger that has been lauded for its incredible performance as an imitation beef burger. Reviews illustrate nothing less than pure disbelief in tasting the “bleeding” burger.

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