Best Dairy-Free Summer Desserts

Photo: arsheffielf/Flickr.

When the temperature goes up, I find that all I’m interested in consuming are ice-cold beverages and chilly desserts. Food loses most of its appeal (save the odd salad), but a girl can’t live on ice cream and cocktails alone – though in my fantasy life that would be exactly how it would be.

But back to reality: whether you are lactose-intolerant, or just plain not into dairy (I tend toward only consuming it when there’s the option for raw, unpasteurized, straight-from-the-cow-or-goat type), there are tons of delicious, dairy-free desserts worth buying, and all those below were taste-tested by yours-truly (no joke, these are all in my freezer now). Happy Summer dessert season, and enjoy!

Coconut Bliss (and the Trader Joe’s version of it) is a slightly coconutty flavored, richly creamy dessert. Seriously delicious, give it a try! It's gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free and vegan, and I like to mix it with the Cashewtopia (left) for a truly decadent dairy-free experience.

Best flavor: Chocolate (which pairs ideally with the natural coconut base)

Rice Dream makes a frozen dessert based on its popular rice-based beverage. While it doesn’t taste like rice, it definitely doesn’t have the fatty, tongue-coating richness of traditional ice cream. Like Rice Dream milk, it has a bit of a watery texture, but not in a bad way; in the summer it feels like a guilt-free and more refreshing version of a heavier dessert. I find it ideal for rich-tasting smoothies and paired with granola for an afternoon snack.

Best flavor: Creamcicle (great for smoothies with other fruits and totally delicious on its own)

Cashewtopia Gelato, by Organic Nectars is my absolute winner in the non-dairy dessert category. Made from cashew nut milk, it has a crazy-creamy texture and a is very filling, in the way that ice cream is (if you end up eating it for a meal, don’t blame me.) And since it's sweetened with agave, it won't hurt your blood sugar, it's made from all raw ingredients, so retains a ton of the natural ingredients' nutrition, and is all organic. LOVE!

Best flavor: Chocolate Hazelnut (it's a very mild chocolate but that pairs perfectly with the abundant raw hazelnuts in each bite).

Tofutti: I don’t love plain old tofutti all by its lonesome; like the tofu upon which it’s based, it really needs to be paired with something else to really "pop." I like mine with a bunch of berries swirled in (as you can probably tell, I like fruit with my desserts), or made into an ice-cream sandwich. Or you can just buy the famous and beloved Tofutti Cuties, which are mini versions of the traditional ice cream sandwich. Truly a vegan ice cream treat.

Best flavor: Tofutti Cuties Sandwiches