Carrot Halwa Trifle (Vegan, Gluten and Soy-Free)

Carrot Halwa Trifle is a modern take on a traditional Indian dessert. Make this easy carrot halwa trifle ahead of time to impress your friends and family.

Carrot halwa trifle is my vegan and western take on the classic Indian carrot halwa or gajar ka halwa. Gajar ka halwa is a traditional Indian dessert made with shredded carrots that are roasted and simmered with nuts, spices, and milk. Gajar Halwa tastes like a moist and spiced Indian carrot crumble. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free.

Diwali, a festival of lights is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated all over India, much like Christmas in the western world. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. People dress up in festive clothes, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in prayers, light fireworks, exchange gifts, have friends and family get-togethers and feast on Indian food and mithai (Indian sweets).

With the Diwali season upon us, there will be lots of Indian sweets around in the coming days. However, the challenge is finding a vegan Indian dessert, as the base for most Indian desserts is ghee (clarified butter), milk, khoya (milk fat) and sugar, of course.

Over the years, I have always served a vegan Sooji Halwa, made with cream of wheat and cacao butter for Diwali mithai. However, this year my husband requested gajar ka halwa for the holiday season. He loves all carrot-based desserts – I make a carrot cake for his birthday every year. And the kids love carrot zucchini muffins, that I often bake for breakfast or for an after school snack.

A good gajar ka halwa involves slow cooking and simmering shredded carrots with milk, sugar, and nuts. As the carrots caramelize, you can smell the sweet aroma of carrots with nutty cardamom and nuts. It totally takes me back to my childhood days.

I tested this recipe with various plant-based milks (almond, soy and cashews) and everyone at home agrees that cashews milk and ground cashews is the way to go. Cashew milk gives halwa the sweetness and creaminess that milk or milk fat gives to a traditional gajar ka halwa.

Let’s talk trifle

  • a healthy dessert, it’s vegan!
  • perfect portion size, individual jars (in this case, votive candle holder) or use a shot glass
  • you can make it ahead of time, stays good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
  • combines two of our family favorite desserts – gajar halwa & vegan cheesecake icing
  • stunning fusion dessert
  • perfect crowd pleaser for any occasion

Carrot Halwa Trifle is a modern take on traditional Indian dessert. Make this easy carrot halwa trifle ahead to time to impress your friends and family.

 

Carrot Halwa Trifle (Vegan, Gluten and Soy-Free)

Carrot Halwa Trifle is a modern take on traditional Indian dessert. Make this easy, vegan, gluten and soy-free carrot halwa trifle ahead to time to impress your friends and family. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Allergens: Tree Nuts
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

Carrot Halwa

  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons

    raw cashews (chopped)

  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios (chopped)
  • 21/2 cups carrots (grated)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground cashews
  • 11/4 cup cashew milk*
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 2 strands saffron

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped)
  • 1 cup

    coconut cream

  • 1 teaspoon guar gum

Garnish

  • 1 cup ground pistachios

Instructions

Carrot Halwa

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cashews and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook until the raisins swell up, about 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Add the grated carrots to the skillet and cook them for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground cashews and cashew milk and mix well. Reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Add coconut sugar, vegan butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron, mixing well. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until all of the cashew milk has almost been absorbed. 

  4. Serve warm or chilled.

    *Soak 1 cup raw cashews in hot water for 15 minutes (cashews can be soaked in room temperature water for two hours or overnight as well - whatever works for your schedule). Drain and rinse. Add cashews to the blender with 3 cups of water. Blend starting on low speed and increasing to high until smooth and frothy, about 40 seconds. Store in a lidded container for up to three days.

Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. In a large bowl, mix vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla with a handheld mixer until creamy. Set aside.

  2. In another large bowl, whip coconut cream and gum until stiff, then carefully fold in vegan cream cheese.

  3. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using, as it will firm up a bit.

Trifle

  1. Prepare 4 tall glasses- add a few scoops of the vegan carrot halwa mixture and press it down a little, top with ground pistachios and with coconut frosting. Repeat until the glasses are full.

    The carrot halwa trifle must be stored in the refrigerator and will stay good for 3-4 days.

BON APPÉTIT!