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Embrace a plant-forward holiday season with this cherry and chocolate pavlova

If you're looking for a delicious new dessert to try, serve this show-stopping cherry and chocolate pavlova at your next holiday gathering.

This holiday season, impress your guests by swapping your traditional dishes for plant-powered versions.

Not only are plant-based foods compassionate to animals, but also have a lower impact on the environment, are better for our health, and can even save us money!

If you're looking for a delicious new dessert to try, serve this show-stopping cherry and chocolate pavlova at your next holiday gathering.

Rather than egg whites, this recipe utilizes an often-discarded ingredient – aquafaba – the liquid from a can of beans.

We recommend using the aquafaba from chickpeas for its neutral colour and flavour. Due to its high protein content, aquafaba acts similarly to egg whites and can easily be whipped into a delicious meringue. For a creamy topping, we use the thick cream from a can of coconut milk, rather than traditional dairy cream. 

This recipe can be enjoyed by people with dairy or egg allergies, or those who avoid animal products for ethical reasons. And here’s an added benefit – this recipe costs only $0.68 per serving to make!

Next time you open a can of chickpeas for a chickpea salad, hummus, or falafels, be sure to save the liquid and make your own pavlova to share with your family and friends. 

Tip: You can also save the cooking water from chickpeas if you prefer to cook your own dried beans at home; if the aquafaba is not thick enough to gel when cool, cook it down before you use it.

Here is the recipe:

Plant-Based Cherry and Chocolate Pavlova

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 75 mins + several hours or overnight to dry meringues 

Servings: 6 pavlova

Cost per recipe (6 pavlova): $4.10
Cost per serving size: $0.68 


  • ½ cup aquafaba (brine from canned chickpeas)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup cherries 
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2- 400-ml cans coconut milk refrigerated overnight, thick cream only
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate, shaved
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C) 
  2. Whisk aquafaba with hand mixer for 8-10 minutes until very stiff, then mix in apple cider vinegar, vanilla and sugar (2 tbsp at a time), until sugar is completely dissolved and meringue looks smooth and shiny with stiff peaks. 
  3. Spread the whipped aquafaba onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in the shape of a large 1” thick rectangle for a single meringue, or into 6 - 5” round meringues (placed as far apart as possible as they will spread as they bake). Place in the oven, lower the temperature to 212°F (100°C) and bake for 75-80 minutes until firm. 
  4. While the meringues are baking, in a small pot dissolve the ¼ cup caster sugar in ½ cup of water over low heat. Add the cherries, let simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat, stir in the pomegranate molasses with the cherries and let cool. 
  6. When the time is up, do not open the oven door. Turn the heat off and allow the oven to cool with the meringues inside. Let them sit in the oven for one hour up to (ideally) overnight to set before serving. 
  7. When the meringues have set, begin assembling. 
  8. Open the coconut milk and scoop out the thick cream. Set aside the liquid for another use, such as a smoothie. Whisk the creamy coconut fat for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth. 
  9. Gently spread 3 tablespoons of the whipped coconut cream on top of a meringue. 
  10. Strain the cherry syrup and add a spoonful of cherries on top of the whipped coconut cream.
  11. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings and more cherry syrup as desired.

We wish you a happy, healthy and plant-powered holiday season!

About The Author:

Makayla Dewit is the Forward Food program specialist at Humane Society International/Canada. Forward Food helps institutions and businesses across Canada increase their offerings of delicious and nutritious plant-based options that are better for animals, the environment, and human health.

Whether you are a food lover, a chef, a restaurant owner, a foodservice operator or simply someone curious about plant-based options, HSI/Canada wants to support you on your journey to bring plant-based food forward. Visit the Forward Food website to learn more about the benefits of plant-based foods and gain access to a wealth of free resources, such as our packet of nearly 200 plant-based recipes.

It's time to savour the flavours, enjoy the health benefits, and contribute to a more ethical and sustainable future—one tasty plant-based meal at a time.