one green planet
one green planet

Parfaits were one of my very favorite treats growing up. I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to love the ones from McDonald’s, until I learned the horrid ingredients they included. I haven’t touched one of those in about thirteen years, thanks to learning how to make my own at home. In 2007, I discovered the joy of vegan yogurt and my parfaits were upgraded even further, not to mention much more friendly to my body, the animals, and the planet. Looking to make your own vegan parfaits? Here are five fast steps to get started:

1. Buy an Awesome Vegan Yogurt

You can make your own vegan yogurt, but I’m a busy woman like I’m sure many of you are, and I just don’t have much time or patience to make my own yogurt, even though it’s really quite easy to do. I don’t eat it that often, so when I want a parfait, I just buy plain, unsweetened  coconut milk yogurt at the store and stir in liquid vanilla stevia to make my own sugar-free vanilla coconut yogurt. You can also buy unsweetened vanilla coconut milk yogurt, soy yogurt, and almond yogurt, which all come in plain and sweetened flavors. Buy at least 12 ounces to make two large parfaits.

2. Choose Your Layers

There are many different kinds of parfaits out there, so it’s important you choose what flavors and textures you like the best to create your layers. My favorite flavor options are berries and granola or chocolate pudding and creme. If you want berries and granola, buy frozen mixed berries and some delicious vegan granola, preferably lower in sugar. Why frozen berries? It keeps your parfait super cold and more like ice cream than using fresh fruit, which can sometimes get mushy, but feel free to use a mix of fresh and frozen fruit if you wish.

I also use ground flax and ground chia in place of granola to lower the sugar content, but if you’re a die-hard granola fan, choose a healthier variety and enjoy it liberally. You could also try a vegan whole grain, high-fiber cereal to use instead.

If you want a chocolate layer, then make your own vegan chocolate pudding or just use some vegan chocolate sauce. You can even add fun things like crumbled cookie crumbs, vegan cookies from the store, or whatever else you like in your parfaits.

3. Use Frosted Glasses

You can use any glasses you want, but I like tall, pre-frosted glasses to make my parfaits with. Why? It adds a delicious chilling factor and keeps your parfaits nice and cold, just like you buy at the ice cream parlor. Just pop two tall parfait glasses (which you can get at the dollar store these days) into your freezer for at least 20 minutes. I leave a few in my freezer at all times, so I can use them at free will.

4. Layer Them Up

To make your parfaits, take two glasses and place a huge spoonful of yogurt into the bottom of each glass. Next, add a tablespoon of your favorite granola (or use crumbled cookies) and then add a 1/2 cup of mixed, frozen berries on top.  Add another few dollops of yogurt to each parfait, and more granola or crumbled cookies on top.

5. Finish With Toppings

We all know the most fun part about digging into a parfait is the toppings you get to enjoy first. Finish your parfaits with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some shaved dark chocolate, cacao nibs, coconut shreds, or a few pieces of fresh or frozen berries.

Parfaits take less than two minutes to put together once you have all your ingredients ready. Plus, they make the perfect summer snack anytime of the day or even make a great breakfast if you keep the ingredients healthy. Feel free to stir protein powder into your yogurt for a protein boost or even some fun superfoods too. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box!

Image source: Chocolate-Mint Mousse and Berry Mousse Parfaits