Tapioca Pudding with Strawberry Puree (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Jul 1, 2022| By JOI team


Jul 1, 2022| By JOI team

Tapioca Pudding with Strawberry Puree (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Almond-Base | Breakfast | Cashew-Base | Dairy-Free | Dessert | Gluten-free | Oat-Powder | Snack | Vegan | Vegetarian | 

Tapioca pudding, that old time comfort food, gets a modern twist in this delicious recipe. It's made dairy-free and vegan, but still super creamy (thanks, JOI!) and topped off with a vibrant fruit puree. Dig into this delightful dish anytime of day!

Tapioca Pudding with Strawberries

What is Tapioca?

To answer the question "what is tapioca?" we have to rewind even further. Do you know what tubers are? Yeah, you've heard of potatoes and sweet potatoes. Carrots and radishes. Maybe even taro root and yucca. Seeing a trend? Yep, root veggies are tubers:  vegetables that grow underground, usually the roots of a plant. Well there's another one called "cassava" that's traditionally grown and used in Latin American cooking.

Tapioca is a starch derived from the cassava tuber. It's gluten free! It's sold as a powder or granules (most commonly "small pearl tapioca"). And it's used as a thickener. Think sauces...and puddings, duh. Oh, and it also comes in super-sized pearls and used to make boba a/k/a/ "bubble" tea.

What is Tapioca Pudding?

So, now that we know what tapioca is...it begs the question: what is tapioca pudding? Well, traditionally, it's a sweet custard made with eggs, milk and sugar and thickened with small tapioca pearls. The tapioca provides some chewy texture similar to rice pudding. It's a classic dessert that screams comfort.

How is this Tapioca Pudding Different?

We've given the classic homemade tapioca pudding recipe a shake-up. First, we're using a combination of JOI oat milk (gluten free!) and JOI almond or cashew base to replace dairy milk...but still keep things creamy and delicious. Just a bit more healthy.

Thanks to the JOI bases, we can also rid ourselves of the "eggy" egg issue. You know what we mean.  The whole song and dance around separating egg yolks from egg whites, adding the beaten egg mixture after tempering the eggs and stirring constantly to make sure they don't scramble.  Even the most seasoned of home cooks pale at the thought!

Also, we've replaced sugar with monk fruit sweetener. And topped it with a simple fruit compote to balance out the nutrition and flavors. Plus a smattering of lemon zest and some fresh mint to really make your taste buds pop from the flavor!  Good-bye plain Jane pudding.  Hello jazzed up pudding with POP.

So, now you can enjoy tapioca pudding without the not-so-great after effects of a traditional recipe!

Tapioca Pudding with Strawberry Puree

How can you Customize this Recipe?

This dish is endlessly customizable because you can play with the "base" pudding recipe as well as the toppers.

For the base, feel free to swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract.  Use your favorite sweetener instead of monkfruit.  Or you can add some shredded coconut and substitute coconut milk for part of the water.  Warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice work really well, especially during those cozy cold months.  You can even choose to snack on the hot tapioca mixture rather than letting it get cold!  Instant gratification.

Once you've nailed the easy  "base pudding recipe", the topping possibilities are endless.

  • For a tropical twist, replace strawberry puree with mango, passionfruit or guava puree and top with unsweetened coconut cream.
  • For a winter warmer, use sauteed apples or pears in season.
  • For crunchy bits to complement the chewy tapioca, try sprinkling with your favorite seeds, nuts or cocoa nibs.
  • For a time saver, skip the fruit puree and use fresh fruit instead.
  • For a colorful twist, try adding a bit of turmeric (yellow!) or blue majik powder (yes, blue!) to the pudding base.

How to Make Easy Fruit Puree:

Making a fruit puree is easy.  And it adds an extra level of flavor and wow-factor to an otherwise humble pudding.

Basically, all it takes is stewing some fresh fruit with a bit of extra sweetener (optional!) and some lemon juice to make the berry flavor pop.  Keep it chunky or run it through the blender for a silky texture.

Make extra puree and use it all week long!  Try it on yogurt, ice cream, and pancakes or waffles!  Top an angel food cake or pound cake with fruit puree, or swirl it into a cheesecake prior to baking.  

Tips for Best Results:

  • The strawberry puree is tart. This is to balance out the sweetness from the tapioca pudding. If a sweeter puree is preferred, add more during the cooking process.
  • For a creamier tapioca pudding, add more JOI almond or cashew milk base.
  • Tapioca pudding will thicken as it cools.  Be sure to cover with plastic wrap (touching the actual pudding) so that a skin does not form on top.


Tapioca Pudding

Here's the Recipe:

Strawberry Purée

makes ~ 1½ cups


  • 1 pound of strawberries (washed, hulled & roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon monk fruit sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice


  • Place all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat for 5 – 8 mins until strawberries are softened and at your desired consistency.
  • Use a potato masher to crush the softened strawberries.  Or run through a blender for a completely smooth consistency.
  • Turn off heat and set aside or refrigerate. Strawberry puree will thicken as it cools.

      Tapioca Pudding

      makes ~ 4 servings


      • 3 cups + 3 Tablespoons of water
      • ½ cup small tapioca pearls
      • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons JOI oat milk base
      • 4 Tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (or sweetener of choice) to taste
      • ½ teaspoon sea salt
      • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 Tablespoon JOI almond or cashew plant base
      • lemon zest (optional)
      • mint leaves for garnish


      • In a large saucepan, add 3 cups water, tapioca pearls and oat milk base. Whisk until well combined and let it sit for at least 1½ hour.
      • After about 1½ hours, add the sweetener and salt. Stir to combine.
      • Place saucepan over stove. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent the tapioca pudding from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
      • When the mixture comes to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low and keep stirring.
      • Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
      • When the tapioca mixture has thickened and the pearls have become translucent, remove tapioca pudding from heat. Total cooking time after presoaking the pearls takes about 10 mins.
      • Add the almond milk base and 3 Tablespoons water. If using lemon zest, add it at this time. Stir until well combined.
      • Scoop into individual serving cups/jars. Top tapioca pudding with some strawberry puree.
      • To serve tapioca pudding cold, refrigerate jars of tapioca pudding. For warm/hot tapioca pudding, serve immediately.
      • Right before serving, garnish with mint leaves and lemon zest if desired.

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