Panna cotta may sound intimidating, but I like to think of it as a raised version of Jell-O. For me, it’s a perfect dessert option: quick to assemble, guaranteed practical and amazing to serve. This version is lighter over the typical whole milk version. Thick Greek yogurt keeps its flavor and creaminess, but with about half the calories and fat of traditional recipes.
If you can make Jell-O, you can make panna cotta. Put the gelatin in a little cold water, then add it to a simmering saucepan of cream and fresh vanilla beans. Gelatin keeps the filling nicely fluffy and wobbly.
Since vanilla is the primary flavor here, it’s worth looking for whole grain. Most well-stocked grocery stores will carry it in the spice section, although it can also be found online and in specialty grocery stores. Cut the bean into slices lengthwise, then carefully open them to reveal the aromatic seeds inside. Use a small paring knife to remove as many seeds as possible, then add the bean and seeds to the cream mixture.
This cranberry and vanilla panna cotta is a great choice for any holiday gathering. Made ahead of time, panna cotta will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Holiday Cranberry and Vanilla Panna Cotta
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 vanilla bean, divided, grated seeds
2 cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
Put cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Leave until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring cream, sugar, vanilla beans and seeds over low heat in a medium saucepan. Whisk gently, being careful not to overheat. Remove from heat, then stir gelatin until dissolved.
In a medium bowl, beat the yogurt until fluffy and smooth using a whisk or hand mixer. Lift the vanilla beans from the vanilla cream mixture, then gradually whisk into the yogurt bowl. Pour mixture into six 1/2-cup cups, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours until firm.
An hour before serving, combine orange juice and cranberry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until berries are broken and liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. to calm down.
To serve, loosen the panna cotta by running a clean butter knife around each of the bowls. Place a plate on top of each bowl, then flip the panna cotta on top. You may have to tap the bowl to loosen the panna cotta completely. Pour cranberry compote on top and serve immediately.
Per serving: 218 calories; fat 8.3 g (saturated 5.2 g); cholesterol 31 mg; sodium 50 mg; carbohydrates 31.7 g; 0.8 g fiber; polysaccharides 29 g; Protein 4.7 g
Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a certified dietitian and yoga teacher. is the founder of Delish Knowledge (delishknowledge.com), a resource for healthy whole-food vegan recipes. In her own training, she helps individuals find their “happy weight.”