Few things perk me up in the same way a cup of hot, spicy chai does. I love the aromatic blend of chai spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, black pepper), and a steamy mug is always so soothing and uplifting. Since I try to limit my intake of caffeine, chai is a special treat for me … but I enjoy every sip and the kick I get from the black tea.
I first experienced chai (which means "tea" in Hindi) while traveling to India in the '90s. There, chai is part of daily life and sold hot on the streets for pennies, but the best chai is made at home. I used to visit some Indian friends regularly and loved going at tea time, as they brewed a family recipe using freshly ground spices with the perfect amount of sugar and milk. When I went vegan, I would bring soymilk for my cup of tea. At first, my friends were reluctant (why mess with perfection?), but we quickly figured out the best balance of spice, sweetness, and creaminess.
Before becoming a healthy vegan, Starbucks was my go-to spot for chai. A few times a month, I'd stop in and savor a soy chai latte—but often wished it was more spicy and a little less sweet. When I decided to clean up my diet and get sugar and chemicals out of my life, I experimented with a lot of homemade versions of a healthier chai tea (a few of which I'll be sharing on Healthy Vegan!). Hands down, this vanilla-infused coconut blend is my absolute favorite. The coconut makes it creamy, the fresh ginger and vanilla make it wonderfully fragrant, and the date gives it the perfect amount of sweetness. And when comparing the ingredients with a coconut milk chai from Starbucks, you can see which one comes out on top. Enjoy!
What you need:
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 Medjool date
- 1/2 teaspoon chai spice blend (I like Tipu's)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- Pinch sea salt
- 3/4 cup hot water
What you do:
- In a blender, place all ingredients.
- Blend for 30 seconds until creamy and frothy.
- >> Vanilla bean powder (I like Terrasoul Superfoods) is one of my favorite ingredients, and I love it in this recipe. It's a bit pricey, but you don't need much and it adds tremendous flavor to
desserts and hot drinks.
- >> Whirling this recipe in the blender (Vitamix is king!) is key for a frothy, super creamy chai. Plus, doing so allows you to sweeten with a whole food (a date) versus dissolving sugar into the chai.
>> Enjoy a cup of chai on a daily basis? Make a large batch of this Coconut Vanilla Chai, pour into a glass bottle, and keep at home or at the office. It also tastes great chilled during the warmer months.