Have you ever tried gajar halwa? It’s like Indian rice pudding, but it’s made with carrots. It was one of my favorite Indian dessert recipes growing up – especially on Diwali – but it typically is made with milk. I was reminded of this favorite Indian dessert on our recent trip to India! Since I’m lactose intolerant, I created a dairy free gajar halwa recipe that’s simply delicious. I hope you’ll give it a try!
A healthy Indian dessert recipe
Gajar halwa is made with shredded carrots. It traditionally also includes sugar and milk, but this recipe is made dairy free. Instead, you’ll blend raw cashews with water to make a homemade cashew milk. Next you’ll add dates which will serve as the sweetener. Without the inclusion of refined sugars, this is a healthier gajar halwa recipe. With the combination of these few ingredients, you’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin A in a delicious dessert that won’t send your blood sugar levels through the roof!
Shortcuts to this easy carrot halwa recipe
- I shredded my carrots by hand, and let me tell you that this took a lot of elbow grease. To make it easier, either run your carrots through your food processor or even purchase shredded carrots from the grocery store.
- You can use store bought cashew (or other nut) milk, but honestly, making homemade cashew milk is so easy AND tasty. I generally make another batch for us to drink since it’s so simple and so good!
- If you wish to use sugar instead of the dates, simply add 3/4 cup of sugar towards the end of the cooking process and skip the step about adding dates. But I truly don’t think you’ll miss the addition of the refined sugars if you follow the recipe as written with dates included.
Steps to make Dairy Free Gajar Halwa:
- Shred carrots with a grater, or use a food processor to speed up the process. Alternatively, you can purchase shredded carrots and use them.
3. Drain soaked dates and add to cashew milk and blend. This will serve as the dairy free base for this Indian dessert recipe.
4. Heat coconut oil in a large pan until heated. Add almond slices and cook for a couple of minutes; add cardamom and cook for one more minute stirring frequently. Add carrots and cashew milk and cook stirring frequently for 20 minutes, adding a few minutes if needed. Below is what it will look like when it’s done cooking.
Should gajar halwa be served hot or cold?
Dairy free gajar halwa can be served hot or cold. I personally enjoy it warm, but many people enjoy it chilled. This Indian dessert is often served at weddings and other special occasions, but can also be made and enjoyed as an everyday dessert or snack. It can also make a tasty breakfast!
Gajar halwa is an Indian carrot pudding recipe. This is a dairy free halwa version; it's vegan friendly and a delicious Indian dessert!
Shred carrots in a grater using the smallest holes. To speed up the process, shred them in a food processor or purchase shredded carrots.
Add water and cashews to a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
Drain soaked dates and add to blender. Mix cashew milk and dates until combined.
In a large pan, heat coconut oil over low-medium heat. When melted, add almond slices and cook 2-3 minutes. Add cardamom and cook for 1 more minute.
Turn heat to low and add shredded carrots and the date-sweetened cashew milk. Cook, stirring frequently to avoid letting mixture catch on the bottom, for 20 minutes. At this point, you can decide if you want to keep cooking longer. Eventually (in just a few minutes) the liquid will continue to evaporate - but if you like more of a pudding texture, simply remove from heat. If you keep cooking, keep stirring frequently. When satisfied with texture, remove from heat, stir and let cool. Top with additional sliced almonds if desired.
I use a Vitamix and highly recommend it.
Store carrot halwa in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. I topped mine with some sliced almonds, but you can also use pistachios, raisins or even dried coconut shreds. I hope you enjoy this Indian carrot pudding recipe. If you are inspired, check out these additional ethnic dishes!
Additional Indian recipes