Cool, Easy Vegan Treats for Summer

Cool, Easy Vegan Treats for Summer

summer popsBy Bryanna Clark Grogan
I raised four children (and, later, two stepsons and two foster sons), and now I have nine grandchildren. In the hot months of summer I like to keep some cool homemade treats in the freezer to cool down overheated little (and not so little) guests. When you make your own you can control the ingredients that go into them, using the type of sweetener you prefer, for instance, or tailoring them for an allergies in the family. These treats can actually be a nutrient source for little ones who seem too busy playing to eat! I designed the recipes to be inexpensive, mostly low in fat, and easy and quick for parents and grandparents to make.

The silken tofu used in some of the recipes adds creaminess and protein, iron, with little fat and calories, and has no ‘beany’ taste. Silken tofu comes in little aseptic boxes in health food stores and some supermarkets. If you have a soy allergy in the family, you can replace 1/2 cup silken tofu with 1/4 cup raw cashews and 1/4 cup non-dairy milk of your choice.

The raw cashews also provide creaminess and nutrients, but also some richness. You can usually find bulk raw cashews (the broken pieces are fine) in health food stores and even in some large supermarket bulk sections. If there is a tree nut allergy in your family, you can substitute 1/2 cup firm or extra-firm Silken tofu for every 1/4 cup raw cashews AND 1/4 cup of the liquid in the recipe.

If you prefer not to use cashews, chopped, skinned Brazil nuts, or macadamia nuts, or you can use chopped, blanched almonds if you use a Vita Mix or BlendTec—these machines grind almonds, which are more fibrous than the other nuts mentioned, finely enough so that there is no grainy texture.

By the way, I don’t own an expensive ice cream maker—I just have one of those little hand-driven models with the container that you keep in the freezer. Enjoy!

Bryanna’s Easy Fruit Tofulato or Frozen Soy Yogurt
This frozen treat is easy, light, and delicious, and you can use any fruit, from berries, to peaches, to mangoes. If you use frozen fruit, measure while it’s frozen, and then let it thaw out before puréeing. One of those inexpensive little ice cream makers with the metal insert that you freeze (like a Donvier) works just fine with this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups lightly-packed fresh berries or pitted, peeled, chopped fruit (see note above for frozen fruit)
  • 1 lb. medium-firm tofu or firm silken tofu plus 1/2 cup water, orange or other juice
  • 2 (10 ounces) tubs soft tofu (not sweetened “dessert” tofu) or 2 and 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
  • approximately 3/4 cup light vegan sugar or Grade A light maple syrup (use less if your fruit is very sweet)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla (or use 1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon orange, lemon or other pure extract)
  • pinch salt
  • OPTIONAL: 2-3 tablespoons appropriately-flavored syrup for making fizzy Italian sodas or special coffees (Monin syrup is available in some health food stores, and delis. It is vegan because they use unprocessed cane sugar. It is a bit expensive but delicious. For a richer gelato, add 2-3 tablespoon neutral-tasting cooking oil.

Directions:
Purée the fresh or thawed frozen fruit in a blender or food processor; set aside. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until VERY smooth. Add the puréed fruit and blend well again. Pour the mixture into a covered container and chill thoroughly before freezing according to the directions with your machine. Scoop the mixture into a quart plastic container, cover, and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

Coconut-Pineapple Tofulato: Use an 8 oz. can of crushed unsweetened pineapple for the fruitablespoon Top each serving with toasted coconut flakes.

Southern Peach Tofulato: Use fresh or frozen ripe peaches for the fruit; top each serving with chopped toasted pecans.

Italian Peach Tofulato: use 2-3 tablespoon almond-flavored Italian syrup, or 1 teaspoon pure almond extract and top each serving with chopped toasted almonds.

Makes 3 1/2 – 4 cups

Bryanna’s Easy Low-Fat Lime or Lemon “Sherbert”

Ingredients:

  • One 355 ml (about 12 oz.) can frozen concentrated lemonade or limeade (you can buy organic brands of this).
  • 1 (12.3 oz.) extra-firm SILKEN tofu
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cups very light vegan sugar, or to taste
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar powder or 1 tablespoon agar flakes

Blend the lemon or limeade in a blender with the tofu, water, sugar and salt until VERY smooth. Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into a small pot or microwave-proof bowl. Sprinkle the agar over it and stir in. Let stand for a few minutes. Then, heat over high heat, stirring constantly, until boiling, or microwave until it boils. Simmer the agar powder for 1 minutes, the agar flakes for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture back into the blender, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend briefly. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

Makes about 6 cups—the whole recipe is only about 850 calories!

Homemade Vegan Popsicles

Directions for popsicles (unless otherwise directed):
Blend until smooth, preferably in a blender rather than a food processor, and freeze the mixture solid in popsicle molds, evenly filled.

Bryanna’s Orange Creamsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 (12.3 oz.) package firm or extra-firm Silken tofu
  • 6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews (for creamier texture, but you can omit them quite successfully)
  • 1/3 cup light vegan sugar or alternate of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Makes 16 small popsicles

Bryanna’s Tofudgesicles
These are the best!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12.3 oz.) package firm or extra-firm Silken tofu
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup vegan sugar or alternate, according to your taste
  • 2 tablespoon unsweetened organic cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Makes 16 small popsicles

For Adult Tofudgesicles, you can add a packet of espresso powder and/or 1 tablespoon coffee, chocolate, orange or nut liqueur.

Bryanna’s Pineapple-Coconut Sherbert Pops

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12.3 oz.) box firm or extra-firm Silken tofu
  • 19 oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple in juice (use the juice, too)
  • 1/3 cup light vegan sugar or alternate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Makes about 18 small popsicles

Bryanna’s Like Real Fruit Popsicles

Mix together:

  • 1 teaspoon agar powder or 2 tablespoon agar flakes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cold water

Let soak for a few minutes, then, either cook in a saucepan , simmering for a few minutes, or microwave for a few minutes in a medium microwave-safe measuring container or bowl, to dissolve.

Stir in to dissolve:

  • 1 cup light vegan sugar or alternate

Add:

  • 2 cups double-strength fruity herb tea (I like a berry blend in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit juice concentrate (this can be any kind—just apple; or an apple-peach-pear juice blend; or orange; or pineapple; or raspberry; or an apple-berry blend; a cranberry blend, a lemonade or limeaid etc.) blended with a favorite fresh fruit (we like cherries)

Freeze in molds until solid. Makes 16 small popsicles.

Bryanna Clark Grogan is the author of eight popular vegan cookbooks, including vegan bestseller Nonna’s Italian Kitchen and is co-author of several others. She writes the popular subscription newsletter, The Vegan Feast, and maintains a vegan cooking blog. She has devoted 40 years to the study of cooking and nutrition, the last 20 to vegan cooking. Visit her website www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com.

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