Panna Cotta, Gluten-Free and Vegan

Typically, I am not a fan of panna cotta. But my mother asked me to make her panna cotta for her birthday. I had made it using animal products (milk, gelatin etc) before but never a vegan version. In preparation, I reviewed about 20 recipes and ended up combining components of about 5 different recipes to come up with this version. To my delight, it came out wonderfully. Even I liked it, and I don’t like panna cotta. Ha!

Once you make the base you can dress it however you like. Mangoes, raspberries and blackberries accompany the photo above with a sprig of mint. But you can be creative with adornments: go fancy with passion fruit gelee and guava or simplify with blueberry or banana. Honestly, its delicious plain as well.

What we all found pleasantly surprising about this recipe it that it tastes light and fresh. Doesn’t have the post dessert effect we often notice. The texture of the panna cotta was magnificent. Not gummy, no soupy, no graininess. It was smooth and creamy and almost melted in your mouth. Perfection!


2 Cartons (17 oz)  coconut milk. (UI typically use Aroy-D brand which is BPA free and has no additives)
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp agar-agar (can sub 2 tsp gelatin if you prefer)


  1. In a small pot, briskly whisk together half of the coconut milk with the agar or powdered gelatin. (If using gelatin allow to sit for 5 minutes.)
  2. Add in vanilla and syrup and gently heat the mixture whisking well to allow the agar/gelatin dissolve. Be very careful not to allow the mixture to boil!
  3. Once the agar/gelatin has completely dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining coconut milk.
  4. Pour the mixture into whatever size dish you prefer. I do not turn mine out but typically serve in ramekins or decorative mason jars.

For 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 167, Fat 12.1 g, Carbs 13.4, Protein 1.7


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