If you don’t think that dessert can be guilt-free and nutritious – think again! Our friend, Lauren from @healthyhomebakesc shared her Cucumber Lime Panna Cotta with Candied Cucumbers recipe with us and it’s beyond delicious! Free from dairy and refined sugars, this no-bake dessert is full of fresh ingredients and is the perfect combination of flavors to celebrate Spring. This dish will satisfy your dessert cravings without any feelings of regret.
Panna Cotta is a traditional chilled Italian dessert that is sweetened with sugar and vanilla and uses gelatin to hold its shape. I absolutely love Panna Cotta, but I wanted the option of having a healthier and dairy-free dessert for my family. Using coconut cream is one of the best dairy-free alternatives to heavy cream and it offers a light and fresh coconut flavor. In honor of springtime, I decided to freshen up this recipe even more with Pure Flavor® Uno Bites™ Nano Cucumbers and key lime juice. To top it all off, I also made a healthier no-bake version of candied cucumbers with honey and more delicious key limes. This turned out to be the perfect compilation of flavors to celebrate spring and warmer weather.
GET CREATIVE WITH INGREDIENTS
Pure Flavor® Uno Bites™ cucumbers are tiny, bite-sized cucumbers that offer the light, crisp, and slightly sweet flavors that I look for when I want a quality cucumber. I had to get another pint out of the fridge when I was making this recipe because my kids kept eating them off of the cutting board- that’s when you know they’re good! Cucumbers are one of my favorites, and probably the most unexpected, vegetables to make desserts with. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t knock it until you try it! The light and refreshing elements of this vegetable make for an easily adaptable flavor when making sweets and they always taste best fresh. You’ll wondering what other vegetables can go in dessert after trying this recipe and what a great way to increase your family’s vitamin intake.
NO-BAKE CANDIED CUCUMBERS
Candied fruits, nuts, or vegetables are typically boiled down in a whole lot of sugar and then baked at a low temperature. I wanted to keep the freshness of these cucumbers alive and opt for healthier ingredients as well, so I made a simple no-bake candied cucumber to top the Panna Cotta. It honestly doesn’t get any easier than this! Just combine honey, lime juice and stevia, whisk together and pour over a pint of thinly sliced Pure Flavor® Uno Bites™ cucumbers and left to set in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight while your Panna Cotta takes shape. These candy-like bites take very little prep time, and the finished product is so worth it – trust me! They are the perfect addition to the top of this Panna Cotta when you are serving and adds a complimentary texture to this smooth dessert.
MAKING THE PANNA COTTA
The first step in making your Panna Cotta is to whisk together your water and gelatin and leave it to sit for at least 5 minutes. This allows the gelatin to bloom, and which is necessary to achieve a smooth texture in your finished product. Take it from me, no one wants a grainy Panna Cotta so make sure that you don’t skip over this part!
I know that the total time of this recipe looks intimidating, but it is actually very simple with only few ingredients. Most of the time allotted is spent waiting for your Panna Cotta to set in the fridge and you know what they say, good things come to those who wait! The only part of this recipe that requires any heat is boiling your coconut cream, maple syrup, lime juice and vanilla mixture before you add your bloomed gelatin. Once you have your mixture, pour it into oiled ramekins to settle in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. It’s a great dessert that you can make ahead of time for dinner parties or get togethers so that the night of all you have to do is top with your candied cukes and serve.
TOP IT ALL OFF
Once your Panna Cotta has set overnight it’s time to pull it out of the fridge and complete it with the toppings! To create an Instagram-worthy pic, turn the Panna Cotta out of it’s mold and pile it high with your candied Uno Bites™ cucumbers, freshly chopped watermelon, coconut whipped cream, and fresh mint leaves. The colours and flavors are just perfect together!
I know this recipe may be a bit out of the box for some, but if you are looking for a dessert that is full of healthy fats, free from refined sugars, and refreshing as it gets, this recipe is for you. This Cucumber Lime Panna Cotta is perfect to serve at a ladies brunch, a Spring dinner party or perhaps save it for a rainy day when you’re channeling tropical vibes and sunshine! And because the main ingredient is greenhouse grown vegetables you can whip this up any time of the year. This recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time and pull out when you are craving a healthy, sweet treat giving you the perfect guilt-free dessert option! If you are expecting crowd, it’s easy to double the recipe and it’s a great way to prove to everyone that vegetables ARE meant for dessert! Enjoy!
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