Vegan Dreamsicle Parfait

At the farmers market this weekend I was suddenly seized by the need to buy a 6-pound bag of organic Valencia oranges. I don’t know why but for some reason this fruit, which I usually walk right by, was calling to me like a siren. So I bought the oranges, brought them home, put them in a bowl, ate one, and then wondered what I was going to do with a bowl full of oranges. What I eventually came up with is my dairy-free take on an orange creamsicle. (Today’s lesson: cooking for yourself is often inspired by impulse purchases.)

When I was a kid, desserts didn’t grow on trees and by that, I mean my mom was a bit miserly when it came to frozen treats. Ice cream, sure, but anything fancier than that – like fudgsicles or creamsicles – were deemed too frivolous for the likes of us. Don’t ask me to explain parenting in the 70s because I can’t.

But now I’m a grown up and I can eat anything I want. This recipe makes six very pretty parfaits – perfect for a dinner party!



Prep time:

30 minutes, plus overnight soaking, and an hour to let the pudding set.


Chia pudding:

  • 6 cups vanilla flavored, unsweetened nut or help milk
  • 1.5 cups of chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • A hearty dash of kosher salt

Fruity filling:

  • 2 cups soaked cashews (soak first, then measure)
  • 6 super juicy Valencia oranges, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into fourths
  • ¼ cup vanilla flavored, unsweetened nut or help milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a large bowl, combine the nut or hemp milk, chia seeds, syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight so that the chia seeds can set.
  • Place the cashews in a medium bowl, cover with filtered water and let soak overnight. (I usually place a clean dish cloth over the bowl and leave it out on the counter to soak.)
  • The next day the chia pudding will be done and ready to go (so easy).
  • To make the fruity filling: place 2 cups of the cashews in a Vitamix blender, add the oranges and the milk and whir it up. Then add the strawberries, banana, syrup and vanilla and whir it again.
  • In a pretty glass (stemware works nicely for this), layer in a few spoonsful of the chia pudding on the bottom, then add a layer of the fruity filling (pour it right from the Vitamix), and then a final layer of the chia pudding. Top with a little strawberry or orange slice to make it extra nice.

Pillar tips:

  • Peel the oranges whole, simply by slicing off the peels with a sharp knife. Then, over a bowl, tear the orange apart with your hands to remove the seeds. Do it over a bowl to catch all the juice because that’s going in the Vitamix.
  • Frozen bananas are fantastic to have on hand. Whenever I buy a bunch, I peel four or five, break them in half and pop them into Ziploc baggies. They’re great for smoothies.
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