Journalist, author, and explorer Dan Buettner is one of the world’s leading experts on longevity and the insights he’s gained—taught straight from people in Blue Zones who regularly live to be over 100 years old in good health—have had a direct effect on how he eats at home.
A few rules Buettner has implemented into his own life: minimizing processed foods and sugar, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet, and sharing as many meals as he can with loved ones. And these guidelines apply to dessert, too. On a recent phone call with Buettner, he shared with me that he doesn’t have a big sweet tooth and when he is craving something sweet, he’ll opt for fruit or a few bites of dark chocolate. But the holidays call for something special.
“If I’m making a dessert for a holiday celebration with loved ones, I like to make a coconut cherry parfait,” he says. “It’s delicious, festive, and is still low in sugar and plant-based—which is how people in Blue Zones like to eat,” he says. All the ingredients in his parfait are simple ingredients and not overly processed. “It’s made with coconut milk and silken tofu, which are blended together to form a sweet, thick base,” Buettner says. He also adds lemon zest, honey, and—sometimes—brandy.
Then, he turns his attention to the cherries. “I like to heat them on the stove with maple syrup, which forms almost a glaze, when heated,” Buettner says, adding that it only takes a couple of minutes. Once it’s done, he adds the maple cherries glaze on top of each serving. And with that, the dessert is done! “The honey and maple syrup are the only sweeteners in there—and there’s no animal products in it at all,” Buettner says. (You can easily make it 100 percent vegan by nixing the honey.)
“This dessert is great for the holidays. Everyone loves it!” Buettner says. It also only takes about five minutes to make it, which means you can spend time with loved ones and not stuck in the kitchen. After all, when it comes to living a long, healthy life, community is just as important as what’s on your plate. Keep reading to see Buttener’s coconut cherry parfait recipe.
Dan Buettner’s coconut cherry parfait recipe
1 package silken tofu
1 can coconut milk
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
Zest from one lemon
1 cup pitted cherries
2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
1. Cut the silken tofu into cubes. Add the coconut milk and tofu into a blender with the lemon zest and honey. Also add the brandy, if using. Blend it all together. The texture should be rich and thick.
2. Spoon the blended ingredients into small glasses or bowls, for serving.
3. Add the cherries and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Heat it up on a low heat until the syrup starts to form a glaze-like texture. Pour the maple-glazed cherries on top of the parfait, in each glass or bowl. Enjoy!
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