|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Traditional tapioca pudding is prepared with milk and eggs and sometimes cream. This vegan variation uses cornstarch as a thickening agent and coconut milk as well as almond milk in place of dairy-based milk or cream. The result is a cleaner taste and texture that's more satisfying over time.
Small pearl tapioca is usually found in the same section of the grocery store as other dry pudding mixes. You might also see flakes, coarse meal, or sticks, but these are to be avoided for this recipe. Small pearl tapioca is not the same as "minute" tapioca, which is pre-cooked tapioca combined with soy lecithin that is just not as tasty. Ask for help if you can't find it.
The key to delicious tapioca pudding is all in the effort; Tapioca pudding is hard work as there is a lot of stirring involved, but it is well worth the muscle. You can expect to stir up to 15 to 20 minutes to get the consistency right for the perfect tapioca. Enlist help if you need it, but it's more about patience stirring consistently than it is about stirring hard or fast.
- 2 cups almond milk (divided)
- 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not "Minute" tapioca)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/3 cup sugar (unrefined cane sugar or white granulated sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1 cup of dairy-free almond milk and the tapioca, and let the mixture soak for 2 hours to overnight.
Whisk in the remaining almond milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. After you've brought the mixture to a full boil (after about 12 to 15 minutes of stirring), turn down the heat. Continuing to stir often, let the mixture simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the tapioca beads are translucent, add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until combined. Turn up the heat to medium, add the vanilla, and cook for just a few minutes more, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and let the pudding cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve warm or cold. If serving cold, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
Tapioca pudding can be served by itself as a simple comfort food dessert. But also think of dressing it up with fresh or canned fruit. You can layer it as a compote in a dessert glass and garnish with a mint leaf for a lovely presentation. It goes very well to cap a dinner of Thai food as tapioca pudding is a traditional Thai dessert.