Southern-Style Banana Pudding

by on May 8, 2007
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A few weeks ago, E. and I had lunch together at a local restaurant that serves “Southern Style” food. At the end of the meal, E. spied the dessert cart, which contained, among other tempting dishes, banana pudding. E. had never seen banana pudding layered between vanilla wafers before, but I told her that my mother had made it a lot when I was growing up. She looked at me as though I must be the worst mom on earth and said, “Why haven’t you ever made it for me?”

Poor deprived E! Her mother is so busy trying to cook healthy foods that she forgets to make the traditional childhood desserts. In my own defense, I had pretty much forgotten about banana pudding until E. pointed it out. But once she’d seen it, I had to promise her that we’d make a vegan version of it soon.

Southern-Style Banana Pudding

So at the grocery store yesterday, when I found a huge bag of overripe bananas for a dollar, I knew just what I wanted to do with some of them. The only trouble was finding vegan vanilla wafers; I looked through all six of the different brands in the store, and every one of them contained either eggs or milk or both. I finally settled on using something a little less traditional, but apparently vegan: Earth’s Best Organic “Letter of the Day” Cookies:

Earth's Best Cookies

When E. got home from school, we got to work making this delicious dessert together. Of course, I just had to try to make it a little more healthy: I reduced the sugar and used a little pure stevia powder, an herbal sweetener with no calories. To make up for the bulk of the sugar, I had E. mash half a banana and add it to the pudding. If you’d like to make this using the full amount of sugar, I’ve included instructions at the end.

Southern-Style Banana Pudding

Southern-Style Banana Pudding

(click for printer-friendly version)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder
  • 3 cups soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
  • about 5 ounces vanilla cookies
  • 2-3 bananas

Instructions

  1. Mix the cornstarch, sugar, and stevia in a medium saucepan. Stir in the soymilk and begin heating on medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Add in the mashed banana and cook, stirring, for one more minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and rum extracts.
  2. Line the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with vanilla cookies. Slice one of the bananas to cover the cookies. Pour about half of the pudding over the bananas. Repeat the layers of cookies, bananas, and pudding, reserving some of the cookies and placing them around the edge of the dish. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve and enjoy!

Layered Banana Pudding

To make the full-sugar version, make the following changes: Use 3/4 cup of sugar and do not add a mashed banana to the pudding.

You may also use artificial sweeteners; just add the amount that equals 1/4 cup of sugar and proceed with the regular directions.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Makes 6 servings. Each serving, using Earth’s Best cookies, fat-free soymilk, and reduced sugar, contains 290 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (15% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 61g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 132mg Sodium; 1g Fiber.

If you’d like to lighten this up even more, you can leave out the cookies or reduce them to a single layer. Each serving, without cookies and with reduced sugar and fat-free soymilk, contains 184 Calories (kcal); trace Total Fat; (1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 44mg Sodium; 1g Fiber.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Comments posted before the blog moved:

maybepigscanfly said…

How fun! I’ve never had banana pudding either, and now I feel deprived. I hope E enjoyed the desert. Oh and those vanilla cookies you used are too cute!

-Teresa

5:15 PM, May 08, 2007
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Taylor said…

I’m from SC (I think you lived there?), and banana pudding is one of my first memories of cooking with my mother and grandmother. I love it so! Banana pudding = love.

Good on you for making a vegan version for E. I don’t think I would settle for a vegan version, since I eat dairy, though.

5:59 PM, May 08, 2007
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Johanna3 said…

cute dessert! your daughter have a beautiful hair!

8:11 PM, May 08, 2007
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Anonymous said…

I use Anna’s ginger thins when I make my very delicious vegan banana pudding; Anna’s ginger thins are vegan and oh so delicious!

9:33 PM, May 08, 2007
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Veg-a-Nut said…

How cool is that! I grew up with the traditional banana pudding with those nabisco vanilla waffers too. I have not thought about it in years. I love those sesame street cookies. I found them a few months ago. I have them with a strawberry shake (which you can see on my blog) a few nights a weeks or I crush them up with soy delicious vanilla dessert and toasted walnuts or almonds. If you go on their website you can download coupons. I am going to have to go buy some overripe bananas and have this for my Mothers day dessert. Yeepee!

9:37 PM, May 08, 2007
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springsandwells said…

yum yum. banana pudding sounds super delicious. what a nice idea.

12:36 AM, May 09, 2007
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Katie said…

Oh my god. My mom didn’t make a whole lot of things, but banana pudding with vanilla wafers was one of them. I have to try this.

1:51 AM, May 09, 2007
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Alanna said…

Love the extra banana flavor from adding the mashed banana to the pudding itself. Nice!!

6:54 AM, May 09, 2007
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maybepigscanfly said…

I was just looking at the picture of E and I noticed your spice stand in the background. I’ve been lusting for one of those for quite some time now, so I must say I am jealous. Would you recommend getting one? (I definitely use spices/dry herbs a lot!)

thanks,
Teresa

11:26 AM, May 09, 2007
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Anonymous said…

I love banana pudding! It brings back such great memories from childhood! Thanks for the recipe! I have made it before using Mori Nu Mates pudding mix. It is a dairy free powder you blend with tofu and it makes great vanilla pudding for banana pudding. I really want to try it your way though. Maybe that will be this weekend’s dessert. Thank you

11:28 AM, May 09, 2007
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Jen said…

I had never had traditional banana pudding with wafers until I visited some relatives down south! I LOVED that pudding (before I was vegan). I am going to make some of the banana pudding today using your recipe – I want my kids to grow up enjoying that dessert (and have it be a bit healthier, too). I think I can find those crackers at my health food store.

11:48 AM, May 09, 2007
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Ariel said…

Yummmm.. I got hooked on the banana pudding at a local buffet. Hopefully this is close, because most of the food there makes my husband sick, so I don’t expect to be going back anytime soon.

4:27 PM, May 09, 2007
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Webly said…

You’re photos are so beautiful they make a banana hater, me, want to eat it! Beautiful as always.

4:46 PM, May 09, 2007
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Susan said…

My mom used to make banana pudding for my brothers and me all the time. Sometimes she made it with vanilla wafers, other times with graham crackers. I haven’t had it in years, but I’m nostalgic for it now. I also appreciate your healthier version.

5:15 PM, May 09, 2007
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Mary said…

I thought I had commented but I guess I didn’t!

Susan, do you know how this would work for banana cream pie? My boyfriend isn’t vegan and he loves banana cream pie. Think this would work?

7:02 PM, May 09, 2007
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Christine said…

Those Sesame Street cookies are awesome. They come in cinnamon raisin, too… if you’ve never had them, you should definitely try them out. Careful, though; they’re addictive.

7:55 PM, May 09, 2007
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scottishvegan said…

That looks so yum! And I love the little cookies!

9:13 PM, May 09, 2007
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aTxVegn said…

Yum, Susan! I too have fond memories of my mom’s banana pudding, which she still makes today. She uses lots of milk and a carton of cool whip. I hope I can find the cute little cookies so I can try your recipe.

9:37 PM, May 09, 2007
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SusanV said…

Teresa, I definitely recommend getting a spice rack. I actually have 4–and a drawer and that section of the cabinet you can see in the photo are devoted to spices. They really come in handy for finding things fast.

Mary, I think this is heavier than banana cream pie (I haven’t had one in so long), but if you can find non-dairy whipped cream, you can mix it with the pudding just before putting it into the crust. I’d probably use 2 cups of whipped “cream” to make this into banana cream pie.

6:52 AM, May 10, 2007
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Mary said…

I actually have some vegan whip cream. I’ll definitely try that. Thanks!

11:51 PM, May 10, 2007
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Jen said…

I tried to make banana pudding a few weeks ago much like your recipe! Mine ended up a bit… off. Not bad, but something wasn’t quite right. Maybe too much cornstarch? It didn’t have that flavour/texture of the stuff that I remember from childhood. Was yours chalky at all? Maybe I didn’t cook the cornstarch long enough?

Don’t know if you can get them in your area, but Mi-Del makes some delicious vegan vanilla cookies.

http://www.amazon.com/Mi-Del-Vanilla-Snaps-10-Ounce-Bags/dp/B000EPR1KI/ref=sr_1_8/002-1605752-4524003?ie=UTF8&s=gourmet-food&qid=1178891940&sr=1-8

9:02 AM, May 11, 2007
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bazu said…

You’ve made me nostalgic too! This is one of the first “traditional” things Daiku cooked for me when we were dating (I was even more deprived than E! I’d never had banana pudding, meatloaf, souffle, New Orleans red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, etc…). I really appreciate your vegan, healthy version- sounds absolutely delicious!

9:06 AM, May 11, 2007
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SusanV said…

Thanks for the link, Jen. I’ve seen the Mi-Del ginger snaps, but not the vanilla. Next time I’ll look in the natural foods store to see if they have them.

My texture wasn’t chalky, but I cooked it pretty slowly over medium heat. It didn’t boil for long, but it had been cooking for a while to get to boiling. I agree that cornstarch can be chalky if it’s not cooked long enough. Also, some soymilk is chalky, so that could be it too.

9:18 AM, May 11, 2007
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Jennifer said…

I’ve made this twice now, and I absolutely love it! Plus it’s quick and easy, and I always have a lot of bananas in my freezer waiting to be used.

2:15 PM, June 11, 2007
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kikiabom said…

There is a story my brother-in-law tells of a friend of his whose grandmother used to make banana pudding. When the boy went off to war he asked his grandmother to write down her banana pudding recipe so that he could carry it with him on the battle field. When his unit was under heavy fire he would take it out and read it in her handwriting and it would take him back to warm, velvety days in her kitchen with the smell of camellias from her garden filling the kitchen and warm banana pudding just pulled from the oven. His grandmother passed away soon after he came back and he kept her handwritten recipe with him to remind him of her.

Some years later he was in New York, still carrying the battered slip of paper in his wallet, when he was mugged. His wallet and the recipe were stolen. He called his mother and lamented that he would never be able to have grandma’s banana pudding again because he had lost the recipe and did she by any chance have it? And she answered, “Why, everyone has that recipe. It’s on the back of the Nilla Wafer box.”

2:57 PM, December 11, 2007
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mustardseed said…

Hi Susan! If I don’t have a big pot for the oven, can I use a 9 X 13″ baking dish? It’s a little shallow but will it work?

10:49 AM, March 11, 2008
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SusanV said…

Mustardseed, I’m afraid you’ll need more cookies and bananas to fill a dish that long. Do you have a large salad or mixing bowl that you could use instead?

10:53 AM, March 11, 2008
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Angela said…

I made it! OMG, I’m so proud that it turned out well, with taste AND presentation: http://tinyurl.com/2utgf3 – For you to see what it looked like. ^__^ Thank you for creating this! You really should be linked to from VegWeb, this is such an amazing recipe. ;_; Oh flashbacks to the days of unhealthy nummies…

8:59 PM, March 28, 2008
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FoodAllergyMom said…

I just ended up here by accident and I’m so glad I did! All fo my pudding recipes for my daughter with multiple food allergies are made with coconut milk…she hates coconut. I have to make strong flavored puddings to cover up the coconut flavor. I always knew it could be done with say milk but never got around to trying it. Thank you so much! I too am having memories of my southern grandma’s banana pudding. :)

10:07 AM, April 16, 2008
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FoodAllergyMom said…

I just ended up here by accident and I’m so glad I did! I have a great pudding recipe for my daughter with multiple food allergies but it’s made with coconut milk, and since she hates the taste of coconut I have to make puddings with very strong flavors to cover it up. I always knew you could make pudding with soy milk I just never got around to figuring out a recipe. Thank you so much!!! I too am having fond memories now of my southern grandma’s banana pudding :)

10:13 AM, April 16, 2008
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FoodAllergyMom said…

Sorry ’bout that, my first post said it didn’t go through.

2:44 PM, April 16, 2008
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Anonymous said…

Hi,

I made this and it was delicious, however I substituted the (very NOT fat free) vanilla cookies from IKEA because that was what I had on hand and I put a little banana liquor onto the cookies first before layering them into the pudding. I also used the silk lite soymilk and then regular soymilk for the next batch and couldn’t tell the difference. Not for every day certainly but yummy and thanks for the recipe!

4:23 PM, May 12, 2008
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Anonymous said…

god bless *********************

11:13 AM, May 27, 2008
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Jade said…

It was really good! I’ve never had banana pudding before, and it didn’t really sound good. But since I had my wisdom teeth surgery, I could only eat soft things like puddings, jello, ice cream, etc. So this was perfect and it was delicious!

7:04 PM, May 27, 2008
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Anonymous said…

god bless you*******************

12:20 PM, June 11, 2008
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Anonymous said…

I LOVE banana pudding–I make myself a dish of it for my b-day instead of cake. I use almond milk in my pudding, and, if you’re not averse to shopping there, Walmart has 2 different store brand cookies that can be used. One is the “Don’t Forget the Cookies…” and the other is their generic vanilla wafer cookies. The recipes might have changed since I last used them, so check the ingredients, but they are useable and cheap! (Good for a college kid :-) )
Also, I make mine at least 24 hours before I want to eat it (if I can wait that long!) The cookies soften and break up so easily. So delish.

4:24 AM, July 18, 2008
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TRICOTINE said…

One of my favorite deserts! All guilt free now! You are so creative! ;-)

Thank you for sharing your recipes!

I am celebrating one year of Vegetarianism this week, and I still have so much to learn!

4:39 PM, October 13, 2008
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Anonymous said…

Came across your blog looking for a vegan banana pudding recipe. This looks so good! Really nice to see a MS girl sharing vegan recipes! : )

I grew up in MS but now live in TX.

12:56 PM, January 15, 2009
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The Cooking Lady said…

I know this is late in coming, but I just found this recipe through a blog that got it from another blog. But who cares how I found this recipe.

Since going vegetarian I have not made many dishes, for many of them contained processed foods (which we are trying to let go of, if not curtail greatly).

But cooking from scratch is defenitely for me. I am printing this recipe as I type this and will make it the next time I do grocery shopping.

This is comfort food to the max. Yummo!!

1:47 PM, June 08, 2009
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Amey said…

Hi Susan,
We had a vegan potluck last weekend, and someone brought this pudding along. At first, we all thought “meh, banana pudding… not so flashy”.. but THEN WE TASTED IT! It was a huge hit, and we all wanted the recipe. How convenient that it was right here at FFV! So, thanks for another great recipe. My boyfriend is out of town, but I plan on making this for him as soon as he’s home. He’s gonna looooove it!

thanks susan!
:) Amey

7:56 PM, June 19, 2009
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Amber said…

Very good! To the reader who asked if this would work as a pie- the answer is yes. Imagine a black-bottom banana pudding pie. It was delicious!

2:40 PM, July 16, 2009
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Reply

2 Anonymous October 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I just made this today and it never thickened. I even added about 2T more corn starch.

Reply

3 Anonymous December 1, 2009 at 11:47 am

Hi Susan

For a full sugar version, can I skip Stevia, add banana and other fruits and eat like a custard?

Thanks

Reply

4 SusanV December 1, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Sure, you can try that. You may need to add a little more sugar to get it sweet enough.

Reply

5 SusanV January 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

The cookies start off crispy (like animal crackers) but do get soft after being added to the pudding.

Reply

6 Anonymous January 31, 2010 at 12:43 am

This was totally yummy, i made it with almond milk and potato starch (my hubby is allergic to corn). However, mine turned kind of gray, maybe a little lemon juice would have preserved the color? What do you think??

Reply

7 SusanV January 31, 2010 at 11:33 am

I think you're right about the lemon juice, just a little so that it doesn't affect the taste. Also, a pinch of turmeric would give it more of a yellow color, but again, not too much.

Reply

8 Anonymous February 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I'm a southern college kid who was raised on Nana's homemade banana pudding after church every Sunday. I was feeling nostalgic and decided to give this recipe a whirl. It turned out great! I'm tempted to say it's even better than my nana's! Even my roommate had another helping and she hate's bananas.

Thank you so much!

P.S. I've used your recipes several times in the past and I must say I've loved everything I've made so far!

Reply

9 Lauren May 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

As someone who is not really a vegan, I have to say that there recipes are amazing! As I slowly transition to more and more vegan food I just wanted to thank you for your recipes. So many of your recipes are so easy, healthy, delicious and affordable for people like me who cook for one person on a limited budget.

And I am Southern so I always appreciate dishes that nod to Southern cooking without the grease or sugar. I will be making this recipe tonight. :) Thank you!

Reply

10 Kat May 22, 2010 at 1:36 am

A fellow southern colleague and I were just reminiscing about banana pudding with vanilla wafers the other day! I will definitely have to try this recipe for an upcoming potluck.

Reply

11 Nancy Kickertz May 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Is there a reason to use some sugar in the southern banana pudding? Could you just use stevia?
Thanks!

Reply

12 SusanV May 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Stevia lacks the bulk of sugar, so just using it will throw off the balance of ingredients. If you have stevia that’s mixed with a filler to be measure-for-measure comparable to sugar, you could use it.

Reply

13 carrie July 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Hey there! I made this last night and…well I’m not sure what I did wrong, but apparently I have really yummy banana soup D: it never solidified :c

Is there any reason that this would happen? Did I not cook the cornstarch long enough perhaps? Not giving up though! I’m gonna get this right!

Reply

14 SusanV July 2, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Sorry about that! I would guess not cooking it long enough is probably the problem. It should definitely be thick before you take it off the heat. If you try again and it doesn’t thicken, try adding more cornstarch.

Reply

15 Carrie July 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Susan! It worked! :D

I didn’t cook it long enough at all. It also helped that I added the non-milk in at a steady pace, pouring the first cup in and mixing well, then the second and mixing well and so on and so forth. It worked wonderfully and tasted great! Thank you so much we LOVED it! <3

Reply

16 pharaohscat July 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Just wanted you to know that we made this today at our house and it was a great success!!! So tasty – and reminded me exactly of the banana pudding I remember as a kid.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Reply

17 Jamie February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

As a child, I always opted for my mom’s banana pudding instead of a birthday cake. So I’ve been on the lookout for vegan vanilla wafers for years. I just found Back to Nature Madagascar Vanilla Wafers at my local Whole Foods store – totally vegan, whole grain, and they look a lot like the Nabisco wafers of my childhood version.

As my mom did, I used a 9″ glass pie pan, with cookies around the edge as well as in the layers, and I sprinkled cookie crumbs on the top. I used almond milk, and when I encountered problems getting the pudding to thicken, I combined a little of the pudding mixture with some arrowroot powder and mixed it back into the pot. It’s cooling in the fridge now, but the pudding tastes great (the cook gets to lick the spoon right?), so I’m sure I’m going to have a “back to my childhood” experience as soon as the pudding is cold enough to serve.

Thanks for this recipe!

Reply

18 Jill February 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Thank you for this delicious recipe! I made a few changes based on what I had, and wanted to mention that it still came out perfectly! Used arrowroot powder for cornstarch, only 1/3 cup of coconut sugar to sweeten with 2 mashed, over-ripe bananas, and coconut milk drink (So Delicious). I loved it warm and after it set up. It was sweet enough for me, and we didn’t even have any cookies.

Reply

19 Britny W April 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I was so excited about this recipe, but it didn’t turn out for me. I am not sure what I did wrong though cause I followed the directions exactly. It did thicken, but it doesn’t have much of a flavor to it. I did the full sugar version, and now I think I should have still added a mashed banana for extra flavor. :(

Reply

20 Andie May 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Love the pudding! I have been craving banana pudding for weeks, but thought it wasn’t possible without eggs and milk. This has curbed my craving! Thank you so very much for posting this!

Andie

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21 Liz M September 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

That banana pudding was super easy and really good! So nice to have a great recipe to turn to when I can’t eat dairy. My father, who is a banana pudding connisseur and loves dairy, loved this version also, especially after adding regular whipped cream for him!

Reply

22 Radhika Sarohia October 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

This looks great

Reply

23 Radhika Sarohia October 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Finally had some bananas to use up so I made a low-carb version of this today, no wafers and I reduced the amt of cornstarch
Came out well, I also added a bit of cinnamon
Maybe next time I will add some raisins or nuts (pecans or walnuts) too, see how that works
Thanks for the recipe

Reply

24 Kym May 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

My step mom and I were just talking about this the other day! I miss having it, but in addition to vegan, I also have to eat gluten free, so I would have trouble finding a cookie! I hope she loved it and I will be on the look out for a GF version of a vanilla cookie!

Reply

25 moonwatcher May 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

Wow, Susan, that looks really great! I loved cooked or mashed banana anything. And banana with vanilla and a little rum? Sounds over the top lovely. I just might have to try this for a special occasion. Nice that you could do this together. It reminds me of the banana breakfast cake recipe post, in which you wrote about E having the inspiration to use a third banana, which really pushed that cake to over the top delicious. It seems like she has some kind of special banana wisdom that makes sweet treats sing just the right banana tune! It’s always really nice to find a way to make a traditional childhood treat a little more healthy, too.

xo

moonwatcher

Reply

26 Laura June 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I made this recipe a few weeks ago and let me tell you, it was awesome! My whole family loved it, vegans and non-vegans alike! I used Golden Oreo’s because I couldn’t find the ones you used in the recipe. I confess I ate most of it :) It was really delicious. I’m making it again this weekend and I will again hide some for me to consume when I’m by myself, haha!

Reply

27 Melanie October 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

What do you think about using dates to sweeten the pudding? It looks great!

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28 Susan Voisin October 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

Personally, I wouldn’t do it because it will chance the color, taste, and texture, but if that doesn’t bother you, then go for it. You could blend them up with the milk.

Reply

29 Haren February 21, 2014 at 12:58 am

there is a vietnamese tapioca banana pudding that’s made from coconut milk, called ‘Che chuoi’ its very good my boyfriend is Vietnamese and hes made it for me before : ] you should try to make it some time! Chè chuối is a popular dessert from South Vietnam. Bananas are simmered whole until softened in a coconut milk tapioca pudding. It takes less time to prepare than Western desserts, plus chè chuối is made exclusively with vegan ingredients. I’m not vegan, but I don’t consume dairy. So your blog has been very helpful to me!

Reply

30 Matthew K. Wood April 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

When I make this pudding the only thing I will do differently is to use ginger snaps instead. Looks very good, cannot wait!

Reply

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