Traditional tapioca pudding is prepared with milk and eggs and sometimes cream, but 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.
Finding Dairy-Free Tapioca Pudding Ingredients
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, in my opinion, just not as tasty. Do your homework or ask for help if you can't find what you need.
Tips for Stirring Tapioca Pudding
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 or (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 the 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, and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. After you've brought the mixture to a full boil (after about 12-15 minutes of stirring), turn down the heat and, 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.