Move over dairy, vegan eggnog is easy to make, better for you, and so delicious.
Original eggnog, or milk punch as it was once called, is a very rich and thick dairy-based and highly sweetened beverage. It’s made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, and egg yolks, and is often topped with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. Eggnog is traditional during the Christmas season. It is often served cold from a punch bowl. Less frequently, it is served warm—think thick, milky mulled wine.
Eggnog is not a beverage I’d tasted as a kid, but as a young adult, I noticed it being served in glass mugs from big cutglass punchbowls at Christmas and New Years’ Eve parties. It was love at first sip for me. Creamy, thick, sweet, and boozy (rum, brandy, and whiskey are common additions), this was a drink that went down all too easily.
The original recipe reads to me like a glass of heart attack with a side of fatty liver disease, along with the danger of salmonella from consuming raw eggs. Egg yolks are whipped with sugar before the addition of heavy cream and spices. Egg whites are beaten with sugar are folded into the yolk mixture after it has cooked and cooled. This is not for me or the people I cherish, nope.
For at least a couple of years now, creamy vegan versions are right there in the dairy case of your local market. Some taste better than others, and what tastes best is personal, but all the commercially prepared vegan nogs are ready for the addition of rum or bourbon if desired. I find it easy and fun to make my own, personalized to my taste, and think you will too. And vegan nog is cholesterol-free too.
Today, I am sharing two luscious versions of vegan nog. Both make relatively small quantities–remember, I am living solo and none of us are going to be with crowds– right?!
The recipes scale up with no changes, and the beverages stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, so go ahead and make more if you like.
The first recipe is a protein-packed Vegan Eggnog, made with pea protein powder and soaked pitted dates. The second version has a base of cashews. (they are nutrient-strong too.) With its lighter color, this resembles a more traditional Eggnog. Although I like both, I have a preference. I’d really like to know yours.
Once refrigerated both of these Eggnogs thicken, in the case of the cashew-based nog, significantly. You are the decider here, but if the chilled Nogs are more custard-like than is your preference, just whisk in some plant milk before serving, or adding the spirits.
Spice to taste but do NOT substitute powdered nutmeg for the freshly grated. Trust me, your nog will not be good.
I’d thought about getting fancy and adding a topping of aquafaba meringue, but I find both versions are rich-tasting enough. If you choose to add the meringue, please share your photos. There is a third and very delicious cashew-based, date-sweetened Eggnog by chef and Rouxbe Online Culinary School, co-founder Dawn Thomas, in the Essential Vegan Desserts Course.
Pea Protein Vegan Eggnog
Pea protein powder is a high-quality, generally easily digested protein source made from yellow peas. It’s rich in iron, arginine, and branched-chain amino acids and is said to offer benefits like improved muscle growth, feelings of fullness, and heart health.
I’ve made a lot of vegan eggnog in the last few days, and I am pretty sure some of it will become eggnog pudding, ice cream, or French toast.
I’m sending my best wishes to each one of you for a healthy and happy Christmas season. I hope next year we can raise a glass in the company of our friends and family. Take care and do let me know if you make either, or both of these eggnogs.
Pea Protein Vegan Eggnog
Yields 1 cup
- 1 ¼ cups / 295ml cold water
- ¼ cup /28g pea protein
- 3 oz /105g dates pitted, soaked until very soft
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg more for sprinkling
- 1/8 – to ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 3/8 tsp guar gum for the traditional creamy consistency.
- Optional: 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or other neutral oil Adds smoothness
- Optional Spirits rum, bourbon, brandy, whiskey to taste
- Add everything to a blender container except the oil. Blend, starting on low, then advancing the speed to high, until the liquid is creamy, and no pieces of dates are visible. Taste and add more spice.
- Refrigerate until cold. Shake before serving,
- For alcoholic eggnog Add your spirit of choice, to taste, before serving
I’m not going to tell you how much of the spirits to add if you are going there. I went nuts for rum during my very enjoyable tests.
Vegan Cashew Cream Eggnog
This recipe will look much more like traditional eggnog. Isn’t it wonderful to have so many choices!
- 2.5 ounces /71g raw cashews rinsed and soaked
- 1/2 cup /120ml full-fat coconut milk
- 3 tbsp /40g vegan cane sugar
- ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
- 3/8 tsp nutmeg more for sprinkling
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- Drain the cashews very well.
- Add everything to a blender container, preferably a high-speed blender like a Vitamix.
- Start blending on low and then increase the speed to high. Blend 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust spicing and sweetness.
- Chill before serving.
Pastry professional, culinary educator and bestselling author of cookbooks including Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts, Fran Costigan’s luscious creations have it all — except dairy, eggs, white sugar and cholesterol, to satisfy vegans and omnivores alike. Classically trained, Fran is the Director of Vegan Pastry at the Rouxbe Online Culinary School and leads the Essential Vegan Desserts Course.
Photo by Oscar Nord on Unsplash