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Creamy, smooth, and a little cheesecake tangy, this vegan cannoli dip is made with silken tofu, cashews, powdered sugar, and some special ingredients to give it the true flavors of authentic cannoli filling without a cannoli shell. Give a dip with some apples, cookies, pretzels, or my personal favorite – waffle cones!
I was on the quest for a fun dessert dip to take to a holiday event that everyone would love – the vegans and the not so vegans – and remembered a cheesecake type of dip we used to make when I was a child. It was like a vegan cannoli recipe, except that it was a dip. Ah-ha, I thought, I could veganize it! Perfect!
I remembered how the creamy chocolate chip covered dip was ceremoniously set in the middle of a crystal serving tray surrounded by cookies, pretzels, and pieces of waffle cones. So I asked my mom about it.
Well, as it turns out, her special cream cheese cannoli dip was simply a traditional cannoli filling she made that got a little too liquidy and so she turned it into a great dip instead. The best part about her dip was that no cannoli shell was needed! I had to give it a try…
Well, challenge accepted – I thought I had better give that a try…and make it vegan for me of course! And that’s how I started on my quest to make the perfect vegan cannoli dip! (And no…we don’t need to go to the bother of making a cannoli shell to enjoy the same cannoli flavors.)
Reasons to love this vegan cannoli dessert dip recipe
- tasty with a little sweet and a little tang
- could be gluten free if your ingredients used are also gluten free – any optional cookies may not though
Table of contents
- Reasons to love this vegan cannoli dessert dip recipe
- Pin now to save for later
- Ingredients needed to make vegan cannoli dip
- How to make a vegan cannoli dip that will knock their socks off!
- Topping and serving suggestions
- How to store
- For more recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen to add to your festive table:
- The printable recipe card for vegan cannoli dip
- A totally unnessesary but amusing story
Pin now to save for later
Ingredients needed to make vegan cannoli dip
- raw cashews
- silken tofu
- powdered sugar
- coconut oil
- juice and zest from a lemon – you won’t use the whole thing
- vanilla extract
- vegan lactic acid (optional but of pretty please use this!)
- dairy-free mini cocolate chips
- high speed blender (or food processor)
- toppings and dippers like sprinkles, more chocolate chips, fruit, cookies, waffle cone pieces
A note about some of the ingredients
The first challenge was to come up with a vegan cannoli recipe. I wanted just the right creamy smooth tang as a basic cannoli filling and knew I could do it with the help of some special ingredients for a vegan dessert method that really works!
The cashews – with a safety warning
First of all, you MUST MUST disclose that this cannoli dessert cuisine contains nuts and soy. Both are allergens – particularly the cashews! Cannoli dip doesn’t typically contain nuts so someone might not suspect or think to ask.
This is always a responsibility when one shares vegan recipes. Many do contain ingredients that are not suspected as being allergens such as nuts or soy. Never try to disguise your vegan food. Be proud of it! (Off my soapbox now…)
Use raw (not roasted) unsalted cashews. You will need to soak them first for about 30 minutes in very hot water. If you choose to use the roasted salted cashews you buy at the grocery store, then soak them overnight and triple rinse to get rid of the salt.
The silken tofu
Silken tofu is different from the ordinary soft/firm/extra firm tofu you typically see in vegan recipes using pieces, chunks, or slices of tofu. Silken tofu is very soft – almost like a firm greek yogurt.
One might use the standard tofu when making vegan cheesecake or tofu ricotta. And if I were making an actual cannoli – you know, the kind you use a pastry bag and pipe into cannoli tubes to make a filled cannoli- I might use regular soft or medium tofu to make it firmer.
But this cannoli dip is much softer and smoother than that. Almost the consistency of vegan sour cream.
Someone asked why I just didn’t use vegan cream cheese. Well, it would have been so much easier as a vegan recipe developer to do that. I just didn’t like the inconsistency in the vegan brands of cream cheese and wanted this dip to turn out perfect every time. Plus, vegan cream cheese is freaking expensive!
AND while this is not exactly a whole foods plant-based recipe (because of the processed sugar), it is a little on the healthier side because we use tofu instead of processed vegan cream cheese.
The coconut oil
When I was first working on developing this recipe, I used whipped coconut milk to try to firm it up. I found that while it worked great for the first day, whipped coconut milk tends to break down after a day or so and the other ingredients weighed it down. And my vegan cannoli dip became a sad cannoli mush…
Coconut oil is used when you make this recipe to firm the dip in the fridge so while it will be soft, it won’t be too runny. Use refined coconut oil if you don’t want any coconut flavor and virgin if you don’t care about a little hint of coconut.
You definitely don’t want to use regular vegetable oil for this recipe because it won’t do anything to help firm it up.
Make sure you use the coconut oil that becomes solid when chilled – not the type that is liquid even when chilled. (The idea is so that it will help the vegan cannoli filling to become more solid when chilled.) It’s okay if it is melted and at room temperature before going into the blender. Just please don’t use hot oil in this recipe! It will take forever for it to become solid enough to enjoy.
Oh please, pretty please buy a package of vegan lactic acid if you are going to make this recipe. You will only use a little bit but it gives this non-dairy dip just the right hint of vegan cream cheese!
You can save the leftovers to use in vegan cheese sauces, vegan ricotta, vegan cream cheese, and ranch dips – anywhere you need a little cheesy tang. And the vegan friends you serve will thank you so much for presenting a dish with that slight cheesy tang.
You can often find dairy free semi sweet or dark chocolate chips at the grocery store. Just read the ingredients on the labels. If you are unable to find any there, you can find many brands on Amazon. Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips are my favorite. The mini size is perfect for this or any vegan cannoli filling or dip recipe.
The powdered sugar
You don’t want to use regular sugar – the granulated kind – in this recipe. The texture will be way off. The powdered sugar blends in so smoothly. Also, if you are vegan you may want to consider the source of your powdered sugar and use an organic brand. Personal choice here.
How to make a vegan cannoli dip that will knock their socks off!
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Start by soaking the cashews in very hot water for at an hour. If you aren’t using a high-speed blender or food processor, then you will need to increase your soaking time to hours. You will know cashews are fully soaked when they are soft when you scrape one with your fingernail.
The silken tofu
The silken tofu DOES NOT need to be pressed. In fact, you will end up with a mushy mess if you try to press silken tofu in a tofu press.
Simply open the container and allow the liquid to drain. I then remove the soft block and pat it dry with some paper towels. While the cashews are soaking, I allow it to sit on more dry paper towels to remove a little more moisture.
The lemon juice and zest
Zest and juice the lemon. Measure out what you need. You won’t be using the entire amount. But save what to don’t use in case you’d like to add in a little more at the end for personal taste.
Step 2: blend the ingredients
You will be blending all of the ingredients except for the mini chocolate chips.
To a high-speed blender (or food processor), add the drained silken tofu, the soaked cashews, powdered sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and salt.
And then for the love of making a great vegan cannoli recipe please pretty please add in a little lactic acid too!
I realize that more than a few people are going to balk at buying another “weird” vegan ingredient. Other options are to taste afterward and add in a little more lemon zest, OR a half teaspoon apple cider vinegar. OR follow the lead of my blogging friend, Meggan from Cooking on Caffeine, and blend in a little sauerkraut. You can read about it on her delicious pumpkin cheesecake recipe.
Put it all (besides the mini chocolate chips) into your high-speed blender or food processor and blend blend blend!
You will know your vegan cannoli filling dip is finished when it’s nice and smooth and slightly thickened. This will thicken up more when chilled.
Step 3: Chill
Scoop all that delicious vegan cannoli dip into a covered container and allow to chill for a couple of hours in the fridge. You don’t want to serve immediately because the flavors will fully develop after chilling overnight. But if you are impatient, give it at least three hours.
Step 4: Taste add the chocolate chips
Give a little taste test
After chilling is the time to give your vegan cannoli dessert dip a taste and add a little extra for personal preference.
Adding in some powdered sugar
If you decide to add in a little more powdered sugar then you will need to use a hand mixer to fully blend. Or you could just sprinkle powdered sugar on top if you only want a little extra sweetness.
Some people might like to stir in a little more vanilla extract. I would definitely only add in a half a teaspoon more though.
For that tangy taste
You can also add in a little more lemon juice or zest, possibly some apple cider vinegar if it’s not tangy enough and you didn’t use the lactic acid. (But please use the lactic acid powder – and thank you so much!)
Adding the chocolate chips
I like to add the mini chocolate chips to this recipe right before serving. They tend to get hard in the fridge and I think the overall texture of this recipe is better if they are not so hard.
Simply fold in with a spoon- no need to use a hand mixer to mix in the vegan chocolate chips.
Topping and serving suggestions
Transfer to a fancy clean serving bowl after stirring in the chips and extras.
Some fun toppings
Definitely top your vegan cannoli dessert dip with more chocolate chips. The mini size is really the best size for this recipe. You can also shave a bar of dairy-free chocolate on the top. My favorite brand is Hu chocolate bars- (plus they make great stocking stuffers!)
Sprinkle on some festive sprinkles. I get my vegan sprinkles from The Baking Time Club whose entire line of sprinkles is all vegan. Fancy Sprinkles also carries some vegan sprinkles and will clearly say on their website if they are.
Chopped pistachios or crushed pistachios would also look festive and be a delicious topping for this recipe.
Here is the fun part! I like to serve with apple slices, pretzels, and cookies. You can find dairy and egg-free options at the grocery store. Just read the labels. But what I really like best are big pieces of broken waffle cones. Sugar cones work too – but waffle cones are the best.
Other serving suggestions
While this vegan dessert dip is too soft to pipe into a cannoli tube or a cannoli shell, you can spoon it into a sugar cone along with some berries for a fun hand-held dessert option!
How to store
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Depending on the expiration date of your tofu, you can keep this covered in your refrigerator for about 5 days. If it separates a little then just stir it together before serving.
For more recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen to add to your festive table:
Thank you so much for checking out more delicious vegan recipes!
- Gingerbread hummus
- Creamy Kalamata Olive Tepenade Dip
- Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate in the Instant Pot
- Cranberry Bliss Bars
- Puff Pastry Apple Cranberry Studel
The printable recipe card for vegan cannoli dip
Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me to no end if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy
Creamy Vegan Cannoli Dip
- high-speed blender
- 1½ cups raw cashews
- 14 ounces silken tofu
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil see notes
- 1½ teaspooons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons lactic acid
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
- Soak the raw cashews in very hot water for about 1 hour. Drain.
- Open and drain the silken tofu. Do not press it but gently dry with a paper towel. Allow to rest on a dry paper towel while you are preparing the other ingredients.
- Add the soaked and drained cashews along with the drained silken tofu to a high-speed blender along with the powdered sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, lactic acid (link in comments). and salt.
- Blend for 2-3 minutes till nice and smooth.
- Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours. It will set up when chilled. If can be eaten right away BUT is better when it sits overnight and the flavors have a chance to meld together .
- After chilling stir in the chocolate chips. (Reserve a few to sprinkle on top for decoration.) Spoon into a clean serving dish to serve.
A totally unnessesary but amusing story
I know that people don’t like the blaa blaa blaa that accompanies most blog posts. I try to put only the relevant information in the main post. Once in a while, though I have a story that’s just too amusing NOT to share!
I made this vegan cannoli dip to take to a work holiday event. Never do I ever make vegan recipes to take and share unless I’m pretty confident they’ll go over well even with the non-vegans. I feel like we get so much judgment sometimes.
Another rule is that I never make anything to take and share if I am making it for the first time. Just in case…
Anyway, I knew how delicious this vegan cannoli dip was and knew that it would be received well.
Of course, I never ever hide that my food is vegan. In fact, I will often print out the recipe and place it beside the dish in case anyone is curious.
Any MOST importantly, I always make a big note to place near this dish warning of any allergies.
Most people are very receptive to trying plant-based food. In fact, I find that people are a little curious. It’s always a great source of pride for me that I’m able to make tasty recipe recreations that surprise people. (Though I never ever hide that my food is vegan. Especially when it contains hidden allergy foods!)
I can’t say I’ve ever “turned” anyone vegan though. In fact, if that is your goal, you will be sorely dissapointed! It is just to five exposure to the idea and to promote plant-based or vegan food is just as tasty as the non-vegan variety.
One woman who is pretty verbally anti-vegan saw the recipe and the dip AND the sign saying it contained cashews and soy (she admitted that later). Tasted the dip AND said how tasty it was! To several people!
But when someone pointed out how crazy it was that it was vegan and so good, you should have seen her turn her nose up and with a huff walk away. Whatever…I don’t take it personally.
But here is the funny part. Someone else told me that they saw her sneak into the staff room, get in the fridge and scoop out a big spoonful, along with some cookies to take back to her office to enjoy in privacy! And THAT my friends is my sign that this is a tasty delicious dip that even the non-vegans can enjoy!
And that is my amusing story.