Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta

Looking for a sweet treat that is compliant with your food allergies, intolerances, and special dietary considerations? Try this non-dairy coconut panna cotta.
Looking for a sweet treat that is compliant with your food allergies, intolerances, and special dietary considerations? Try this non-dairy coconut panna cotta (left hand corner). Photo by Imei Hsu, as prepared by Amalia K. for Thanksgiving Nov. 2015.

You’ve probably noticed that I’m not big on sweet treats and desserts. When I made candy over the holidays, it was the first time I had ever made a candy treat at home. And that was a big deal. I don’t even have a huge sweet tooth.

It’s not that I don’t think there is a place for something sweet and delightful in the grander scheme of eating. Yet I know that those of us who struggle with food allergies, intolerances, sensitivities, and autoimmune disease are at various stages of healing, recovery, and strengthening. Processed sugars and alternative flours should never be high on your list of nutrient dense foods to promote your most positive health outcomes, right? And yet, you want that little something special at the end of a special meal.

The Sensible Celiac feels your pain. I understand your bottom-lipped pout when everyone else is eating something as simple as crème brûlée, and your plate is sadly empty. The waiter listens to your long list of food allergies, and announces with embarrassment that all he can offer you are some berries, no non-dairy whipped creamer for you because of the soy. If you have a fructose intolerance, you can’t even have the berries.


Fear not, my food intolerant minions! My friend Amalia has a delicious recipe for dairy-free coconut custard that you are going to love! It’s easy to make, even for those of you who are rolling your eyes and declaring that you don’t know how to cook. This is a simple dessert that most of us can roll with.

Amalia’s kitchen is my food oasis. In her kitchen, I trust myself, and entrust my guts. As an uber sensitive person, chances are that if something works for me, it can easily be adapted for others. She has seen me through the years of figuring out all my mysterious food reactions and allergies, as I am one of the 15% of food allergic people who developed the majority of my food allergies outside of childhood. I will not be outgrowing these. This is my life. And this is yours.

Did I mention that I started my food-allergy journey feeling that I didn’t know my way around the kitchen? Amalia has helped me feel more confident in my kitchen. The reason I have an InstantPot in my home is because she recommended it; I’ve adopted many of her food-preparation ideas, including batch cooking, into my weekly routine.

So it’s a big deal that I really do mean it when I say, “If I can make this, so can you.” Who I am in the kitchen has a lot to do with her and her family’s support of my food journey.

Don’t be afraid when you hear the fancy-pants title, panna cotta. It’s another name for custard. The origins of panna cotta come from an Italian dessert made of cream that is thickened with collagen, and a flavor such as rum, flavored syrup, and vanilla are used. You’re making a fancy version of J-ello, just without all the yuck and sugar.

Here is Amalia’s delicious recipe for you to try at home, and just in time to practice for a simple Valentine’s Day treat. I’ll be adding her adjusted recipe for Apple Clafoutis that goes perfectly with this coconut custard, so check back in here soon, or better yet, subscribe to my blog.

Non-Dairy Coconut Panna Cotta

by Amalia K.

Makes 4 cups

1 can full fat coconut milk (I use BPA free Natural Value brand)

1-1/2 tsp collagen (comes in a powder form)

Heat milk over low heat, sprinkle in collagen, whisk until fully incorporated

Add to the above:

1/4- 1/3 c maple syrup (I personally err on the side of less maple syrup)

1-1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

optional  1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional for taste and texture)

Stir all ingredients until mixed thoroughly. Chill in ramekins to set. If you prefer, you can chill them in mini jelly jars (as shown in the picture).

In the picture, the smoked apple clafoutis  and cinnamon persimmons  are a perfect compliment to the panna cotta. Come back in another week for an adjusted recipe (to make it AIP and allergen-free friendly) for this perfect pairing, and you’ll have your Valentine’s Day dessert set. I’ll also have suggestions for a couple of alcoholic pairings (for those of you who are able to enjoy a little, now and again).

Let us know what you think of the recipe in the comments, or you may send questions through the Contact form.





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