Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits

by on June 28, 2009
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The lightly vanilla-scented tapioca is a perfect complement to the sweet, fresh fruit in this fat-free vegan dessert. They’re also low in sugar and naturally soy- and gluten-free.

 Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits

Red, white, and blue and good for you too!

Silly as they are, those are the words that popped into my head as I sat down to write about these luscious parfaits. I had the Fourth of July on my mind when I started planning a dessert with strawberries and blueberries, but it occurs to me now that these two summer fruits, connected by a layer of vanilla-almond pudding, are more than just a pretty color scheme: They’re nutritional stars, too.

Blueberries routinely top the lists of healthiest foods, their dark blue color harboring antioxidants that are thought to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and even reverse memory loss. But strawberries are also no slouch in the health department; their
phytonutrients are associated with reduced deaths from cancer and protection from rheumatoid arthritis.

Antioxidants and phytonutrients are all well and good, but if you’re looking for a fun and festive dessert for your Independence Day celebration, heath benefits may not be your primary concern. You want something that tastes as spectacular as it looks. Well, let me help you out: These parfaits will be the hit of the party. The lightly vanilla-scented tapioca is a perfect complement to the sweet, fresh fruit. They might be a little time-consuming to put together, but once they’re made, they can chill in your fridge for hours until you’re ready to serve dessert. And here’s a bonus: Besides being loaded with healthy fruit, they’re low in sugar and naturally soy- and gluten-free. Let the fireworks begin!


 Red, White, and Blue Tapioca Parfaits

Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Stirring often while simmering over low heat are the keys to keeping the almond milk from scorching.
Serves: 6
  • 3 cups almond milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (or 1 tsp. arrowroot)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (agave nectar can be used, but it will make the tapioca slightly darker)*
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar*
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained
  1. Have ready: A deep metal bowl and a larger bowl, filled halfway with ice and water, that the metal bowl fits into with space around the sides.
  2. Place 2 1/2 cups of almond milk and the tapioca into a heavy saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Stir well every few minutes, scraping the bottom and sides to prevent sticking. Cook until the tapioca pearls are mostly translucent, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of the reserved almond milk with the cornstarch and set aside. Add the remaining almond milk to the pan along with the sugar and vanilla bean. Increase heat and return mixture to a slow boil. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and pour pudding into a deep metal bowl. Remove the vanilla bean, scraping it down with a spoon to draw out some of its seeds, and place the bowl in the prepared ice bath. Stir it every few minutes until it cools, about 10 minutes.
  5. While the pudding is cooling, cut the strawberries in quarters. Put them in a food processor along with the agave nectar and pulse until coarsely pureed. Divide the puree among 6 small glasses (8-oz. juice glasses or wine glasses work best).
  6. Once the tapioca is cool, divide it equally among the 6 glasses, spooning it gently atop the strawberry layer. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, until well chilled. Add a layer of blueberries to each parfait and serve.
I haven’t tried a sugar-free version, but I can see no reason why stevia couldn’t be used to replace the sugar and agave nectar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/6 of recipe Calories: 145 Fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 33g Sugar: 21g Sodium: 76mg Fiber: 3g Protein: 1.2g

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The lightly vanilla-scented tapioca is a perfect complement to the sweet, fresh fruit in this fat-free vegan dessert. They're also low in sugar and naturally soy- and gluten-free.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 1, 2009 at 9:12 am

Older comments that were lost when the blog was moved to Wordpress:

Catofstripes said…
What a lovely summery idea. I don’t normally do the 4th July (I’m a Bastille Day girl) but I might make an exception for these.
6:51 AM, June 28, 2009

Stephanie said…
This looks wonderful….I will be making these for our fourth of July…thanks for sharing!!
Peace, Stephanie
7:26 AM, June 28, 2009

shelby said…
I’m totally making these! They are so pretty and sound delicious!
8:30 AM, June 28, 2009

Susan Lowry said…
These look so delicious I wish I had the fruit so I could make them for brunch!
9:36 AM, June 28, 2009

Courtney said…
Wow–I have missed tapioca! Do you think that minute/instant tapioca would work in place of the small pearl?

9:44 AM, June 28, 2009

Susan Lowry said…
Oops sorry, there was a typo in my webpage address! I hope it’s fixed now.
9:48 AM, June 28, 2009

Sarah Campbell said…
Very yummy looking! I am avoiding gluten and taking a break from soy so this sounds right up my alley.
10:17 AM, June 28, 2009

Anonymous said…
Wow, that’s my kind of dessert!
Do you think it’d still work if I subbed soy milk and frozen strawberries (we happen to have lots and lots of them)?

10:50 AM, June 28, 2009

SusanV said…
Yes to both questions, Sina!
10:57 AM, June 28, 2009

~M said…
I love the grain-free parfait idea. But instead of tapioca, I’m going to make a chia seed pudding (the texture is similar to tapioca). Chia is AWESOME – healthy, filling (fiber!), protein, and fats. It can also be used to replace oil, eggs, or gluten in a recipe.

Here is an example:
11:16 AM, June 28, 2009

Mary said…
Those are adorable, and they look so sophisticated. I’m so glad it’s strawberry season!
1:09 PM, June 28, 2009

Ricki said…
Canada Day is only red and white, but I’m still going to make this for dessert! 🙂
2:44 PM, June 28, 2009

Marshall said…

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10:45 PM, June 28, 2009

madcapcupcake said…
This is so AWESOME.
12:14 AM, June 29, 2009

EnLaLuna said…
ohhhhhhh it’s a pity we can’t find strawberries and blueberries easily in Spain, and when we do, they are so expensive that we can’t think on them but for a special moment… Here the more common red fruits are strawberries and cherries, and wildberries but only in the countryside not in the city, and rarely commercialized…

I think i’ll try with local fruits…
5:53 AM, June 29, 2009

A said…
Oh I LOVE it!!! Great idea!
10:32 AM, June 29, 2009

Kris said…
Wow, that looks pheonominal! I love tapioca, but never make it because the hubby doesn’t. I think I need to claim some culinary independence and make it for myself!
3:31 PM, June 29, 2009

Bianca said…
OMG! I LOVE tapioca pearls more than life itself! I’m such a bubble tea head…I know I would love this!
4:17 PM, June 29, 2009

Nicole said…
Hi Susan,
These are very cute! I might have to make them for July 4th, with the rest of our menu from your blog (the BBQ seitan, and either the quinoa or kasha salad).

But I wanted to ask about your polenta dish from a few days back, but the comments are closed there because of the DVD contest you ran.

Did you use regular polenta, or the larger “corn grits” polenta? I read in one of Lorna Sass’s books that pressure cooked polenta calls for the corn grits rather than the smaller traditional polenta. Did you use the smaller kind? And if so, did it work??

I have both kinds, and want to make this later this week for dinner. Thanks very much! (We love your blog — I use it so much more than any of my cookbooks!)
5:26 PM, June 29, 2009

SusanV said…
Hi Nicole, I used the “corn grits” polenta, the kind made by Bob’s Red Mill. I hope you enjoy it, as well as your 4th of July meal. Thanks for writing!
5:44 PM, June 29, 2009

Kathryn said…
This looks delicious! I’m not American, but we might be celebrating a little red, white and blue with these this weekend.
12:51 AM, June 30, 2009

Sagan said…
Sounds heavenly!
12:51 PM, June 30, 2009

Jennifer said…
LOVE this idea!!!! I havent cooked with tapioca in a long time!!
3:06 PM, June 30, 2009

Sinclaire said…
I love your blog – most vegan recipes are so concerned about the lack of animal products that they tend to overcompensate with fats, and it’s so nice to see you making up so many different recipes without them! I’m currently making a film on how food affects us and the planet, the trailer is at

We would love to link to your blog and post a couple of your recipes on our site so please let me know what you think
11:40 AM, July 01, 2009

teddy- funwithyourfood said…
HEY! Congrats on the nominations from vegnews magazine!

Everyone go vote 😉

12:51 PM, July 01, 2009

Jaimee said…
This might seem like a stupid question, but where on earth does one buy tapioca balls? I can’t remember ever having seen them anywhere, except the huge black ones for bubble tea. Would Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s have it?
2:27 PM, July 01, 2009

SusanV said…
Jaimee, almost any big grocery store will have them. Look for them somewhere by the Jello and instant pudding boxes. There’s also an instant version, but I haven’t used it and don’t know if it would work with this recipe.
2:29 PM, July 01, 2009

Ariela said…
Perfect for the fourth! I will be making this and wearing an adorable festive dress I saw on the vegan fashion blog GirlieGirl Army

3:36 PM, July 01, 2009

moonwatcher said…
This looks absolutely delicious, any time of the year. . .I’ve been wondering how I could make vegan, low fat tapioca. . .now I know! Thanks!


10:31 AM, July 03, 2009

Free advertising said…
The Strawberry-Blueberry Tapioca Parfaits looks really really good.
I am gonna make this for my family these weekend.

11:31 AM, July 03, 2009

Lauren said…
Hi Susan, the parfaits look so lovely and festive! And healthy with those berries, wow.

Here’s a tip for working with stevia–add it after you’ve brought the mixture to the boil, as it cools down. I add stevia to my craberry sauce after taking it off the heat because it tends to break down under high temperatures. Hope that helps! 🙂
5:14 AM, July 04, 2009

tastestopping said…
These are so festive and fun! My children could plow through a pound of strawberries a day, but tapioca pudding would be new to them. What’s particularly nice is that this recipe fits a lot of diets that might not normally include such a great dessert!

Anyway, I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.

5:24 PM, July 04, 2009

Laura said…
Can I replace vanilla bean with vanilla? If so, how much?
6:44 PM, July 04, 2009

Jackie @ said…
This is a delicious looking treat. What a great idea! We had beautiful fireworks in our area. Happy 4th!
3:06 AM, July 05, 2009

PlainJane said…
Thanks so much for this recipe! I made these for my non-vegan family on 4th and they went down really well. I actually used sago instead of the tapioca and it thickened without needing to use corn-flour. We live in England (but my partner is American) so I don’t know if you can get sago over there…
12:31 PM, July 06, 2009

Josiane said…
What a yummy treat! Fresh berries and tapioca – that sounds like the perfect combo!
11:26 AM, July 07, 2009

lilearthmuffin said…
mmm this looks so good! i bet this would be an amazing breakfast too bad i dont have any pudding on hand. i shall make this tomorrow morning!

8:37 AM, July 11, 2009

Jaz said…
Wow! What a wonderful idea! I Love berries! I would like to try this recipe with the highest antioxidant berry available , the Goji Berries. I will soak them in water to hydrate them since they are sundried. I get them from

This will be the best parfait ever! Thank you so much for your post, its awesome!

Cheers to health and beauty,

9:00 AM, July 11, 2009

alfon said…
not much know about it.. but i like to read this article thanks for sharing

i’m alfon from indonesia
11:32 PM, July 19, 2009


2 Glee January 31, 2010 at 4:17 am

Strawberry and blueberry in one recipe is simply heavenly!


3 Jill, The Veggie Queen July 4, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I love all summer berries and this looks great. I’ve made tapioca with coconut milk (not good on your site) with great success. I wonder if you can do it with coconut water instead, since I love coconut.
Don’t get me wrong, almond is good, too.
What a wonderfully delicious idea. Happy 4th .


4 Karen Bowers July 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm

oh, this was just right for our family 4th of july dinner! everyone loved how festive it was, and the older generation especially appreciated having tapioca pudding. thank you!


5 Amber June 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We’d like to feature this recipe on Made Just Right, Earth Balance’s website for a plant-based diet on Monday. Can you please contact me, Amber,, regarding this?
Thank you!


6 Alexandra Siwek July 6, 2011 at 9:10 am

I am diabetic. This recipe has way too much sugar and carbohydrates. People who are diabetic or counting carbohydrates or sugar should stay away from this, it also has too many calories for us.


7 moonwatcher July 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Hi Susan,

I’ve wanted to make a version of this for the longest time. Today I made my own almond milk (I was amazed at how easy that was and how good it is), and my yard is full of raspberries, so I thought this would be a good time. But I had only about two tablespoons of tapioca–since it’s only me I “thirded” the recipe. It came out very nicely. I don’t know why I thought the ice bath was going to be complicated. It was all really quite straightforward. I will keep experimenting with this template. Thank you!




8 Brandon March 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

This looks great! My wife just went out to get the ingredients to make it! 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!


9 Jennifer June 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I saw this on a 4th of July roundup and just had to pin it. I hope you’ll share your best post of the week on my Friday Flash Blog Linky Party going on ALL weekend at The Jenny Evolution.



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