Gluten Free Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter is the perfect make ahead dessert! It's simple, dairy-free, and easily made Paleo.
Something about the combination of peanut butter and banana always makes me feel a bit nostalgic.
This Gluten Free Banana Pudding is a far cry from what you had in childhood though. It's just as cool and creamy but is subtly sweetened with pure maple syrup with no processed sugar. My version is also totally dairy-free. I use coconut cream to achieve that perfect creamy texture. I promise you won't miss the dairy!
Peanut Butter Banana Pudding
- 2 13.5 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter*
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup*
- 3 bananas
- 1 T pure vanilla extract*
- dark chocolate (optional)
- To make it easier to separate coconut cream from liquid, refrigerate cans overnight. Do not shake cans.
- Place 3 bananas in blender and mix until smooth (can add 1/4c water if needed).
- Separate cream from the liquid in both cans of coconut milk. Save coconut water to use in smoothies or freeze it in an ice cube tray for refreshing summer drinks!
- Combine pureed bananas + 2 cans of coconut milk (discard the liquid in the can) + 1/2c peanut butter + 1/2c maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Heat over med-low heat, whisking until completely smooth.
- Once mixture begins to bubble remove from heat and add 1T vanilla.
- Mix and store in a container in refrigerator until set.
- Grate or rough chop dark chocolate bar. (optional)
- Serve cold, option to sprinkle with dark chocolate.
What's the nutrition like for this gluten free banana pudding?
Bananas (Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Potassium)
Did you know that while bananas are high in carbs, they're also high in pectin which helps regulate blood sugar? This is great for avoiding unwanted blood sugar spikes! Bananas are also an excellent source of potassium which may help lower blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of heart disease and support kidney health. Bonus – they're one of the most budget-friendly fruits out there!
Coconut Milk (Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, Selenium, Folate)
Made of the white flesh of coconuts mixed with water, coconut milk may help reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and viruses and fight stomach ulcers. While coconut milk is very high in fat, it may actually support weight loss and a healthy metabolism. Why? Because much of the fat is medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs behave differently than other types of fat. They go to your liver and are used for energy. The amount of MCTs found in coconut milk may not be significant enough to have a noticeable impact though.
Peanut Butter (Vitamin E, Folate, Copper, Magnesium, Niacin)
High in protein, peanuts are legumes rather than actual nuts. They're a great source of folate and vitamin E. Make sure to get peanut butter that contains only peanuts and perhaps a bit of salt to maximize the nutrition. Peanuts are high in fat, relatively high in protein and naturally low in carbs. Most of the fat in peanuts is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, or “healthy” fat. Peanuts are also a great source of antioxidants.
Pure Maple Syrup (Manganese, Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Calcium)
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup contains 165% of the recommended dietary intake for manganese and 28% for zinc. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, reducing blood sugar spikes.
Dark Chocolate (Antioxidants, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Potassium, Zinc)
Full of nutrients and antioxidants, dark chocolate is good for your heart and may even help lower blood pressure. Interestingly, consuming chocolate with milk may interfere with how well your body absorbs the antioxidants, making dairy-free chocolate an excellent choice.
Any tips for success for this coconut cream pudding recipe?
Coconut cream is an excellent replacement for heavy cream but there are a few tricks to keep in mind.
1. Please, please buy full-fat coconut milk! This recipe really doesn't work with light coconut milk. It simply won't set, meaning it will be runny instead of having a decadent pudding-like texture.
2. Choose your brand wisely. I talk more about this here, but I've done a fair amount of experimenting with different brands of coconut milk. It may not matter as much if you're making a curry but for desserts, it makes a difference! I find that coconut milk with a higher percentage of fat, and those that contain guar gum, work the best. My favorite brands to use are 365 Organic Coconut Milk, Native Forest and Thai Kitchen.
3. Chill Overnight. For any recipe where you need to separate the coconut cream from the liquid, chill in the fridge at least overnight. And whatever you do, don't shake the can! That will mix everything together, perfect for using coconut milk as a liquid but not so much for separating the cream. (Pro tip – if you love dairy-free desserts, just always keep a can of coconut milk in the fridge so you don't forget this essential step!)
Can I make this into a Paleo banana pudding?
Yes! You can easily adapt this recipe into a Paleo banana pudding. The only ingredient that isn't Paleo as-written is peanut butter since peanuts are technically legumes. To make it Paleo, simply use almond butter or your favorite Paleo-friendly nut butter of choice!
What are some variations on this dairy-free pudding recipe?
The easiest way to mix it up with this dairy-free pudding is to change the toppings.
Feel free to get creative, but here are a few ideas that sound great to me!
- Crushed peanuts (or slivered almonds for the Paleo version)
- Fresh raspberries
- Sliced strawberries
- Sliced bananas
- Shredded coconut
- A sprinkle of cinnamon (either on top or when you mix!)
If you're serving this for a get together or special occasion, set up a topping bar and let everyone make their own concoction!
Is peanut butter banana pudding a good make-ahead dessert?
Absolutely! This is actually a perfect make-ahead dessert because you need to completely chill it before serving anyway.
Make the whole thing ahead of time and store it in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, simply add any desired toppings and you're all set!
What are some other gluten free pudding recipes?
I'm so glad you asked 🙂
I have a few favorite gluten free pudding recipes. I also included a mousse and parfait because, while not technically puddings, they'll give you that same cool, creamy deliciousness you're looking for.
- Paleo Chocolate Pudding: This one uses coconut milk too, but it also gets a lot of its creaminess from one of my favorite secret ingredients – avocado! Just don't tell your guests what's in it before they taste 😉 My paleo chocolate pudding is also sweetened entirely with dates. It's definitely a dessert you can feel good about!
- Blueberry Chia Pudding: With only 4 real-food ingredients, this healthy dessert recipe is as simple as it gets! It looks beautifully festive though, especially if you layer with fruit in a champagne glass, which is my favorite way to serve!
- Cherry Mousse: Frozen cherries give this creamy dairy-free dessert a great fruity flavor. It's super creamy with both coconut milk and avocados!
- Mocha Mousse: Do your kids eat all the dessert before you can get a bite? This totally grown-up mocha mousse is the perfect solution. And with only 5 ingredients, it's quick and easy enough to whip up during nap time!
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If I’m using an entire can of heavy coconut cream as opposed to scooping off the coconut milk, any idea what the measurement would be?
I’m not sure it will turn out the same because it likely has more liquid in it. I’d try 1/2 of the can and see how it goes!
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