Posts

This post was created in partnership with California Strawberries. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Strawberry season is upon us and this easy vegan carlota de fresa is the perfect dessert to showcase those sweet juicy strawberries. Carlota de fresa is a strawberry icebox cake that is popular in Mexico, it consists of a silky strawberry-lime cream, and layers of Maria cookies. There’s no baking required so it’s super easy to make!!

Strawberries, tofu, sugar and lime juice in blender

As a child sometimes I would prefer the carlota de fresa or carlota de limon instead of birthday cake, since especially in the summer months this dessert is so refreshing!! What makes this dessert so special is another childhood favorite, Maria cookies. My grandmother used to love having them with her coffee, and I have so many fond memories of snacking on cookies at her kitchen table.

Blended strawberry mixture in a pink bowl

Healthy Snacking:

While we enjoy strawberries in our desserts, there’s another way we enjoy strawberries even more, and that’s snacking on them! I have three kids, and if you have kids you know they want to snack ALL OF THE TIME! What better snack than a big bowl of strawberries with some chocolate hummus or some nuts. Strawberries are full of vitamins and nutrients. Did you know that one serving of strawberries has a full day’s value of vitamin C?? They are also packed with antioxidants, and potassium, folate, and fiber.

parchment paper lined glass baking dish lined with rows of Maria cookies

California Strawberries:

California is the nation’s leading producer of strawberries. Which means that it’s probable the strawberries you are getting from your local grocery store are from California. California’s rich, sandy coastal soils, western ocean exposure and moderate temperatures are the perfect combination for a year-round strawberry growing season. We actually lived in California for about 3 years and we loved going strawberry picking at our local Orange County farm. California strawberries are so sweet and juicy right of the vine!

Parchment paper lined glass baking dish lined with Maria cookies, strawberry cream, and fresh strawberries.

How to Choose the Best Strawberries:

I hate it when I get home from the grocery store and discover that a portion of my strawberries how somehow grown mold overnight. When choosing strawberries look for plump red berries with green leaves. Inspect the box for mold, and try to buy strawberries in the months of April to July when they are season.

Glass baking dish layered with Maria cookies, strawberry-lime cream, and fresh strawberries.

The Recipe: Carlota de Fresa

  • The Gamesa brand of Maria’s is not vegan, but I did find El Mexicano brand at my local HEB. If you can’t find them you can order McVities Rich Tea Biscuits which are vegan and is essentially a Maria cookie.
  • Agar agar is gelling powder similar to gelatin that thickens sauces. You can order agar agar HERE.
Vegan carlota de fresa, strawberry iced box cake topped with sliced strawberries, on a white serving tray with silver colored handles placed vertically
Close up of a slice of vegan carlota de fresa topped with sliced strawberries on a white plate
A golden spoon slicing into a piece of the Carlota de Fresa
a wide shot of a spoonful taken out of a slice of carlota de limon showing the different layers and topped with sliced strawberries on top and surrounded by strawberries

This post was created in partnership with California Strawberries. THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN FIND THE RECIPE FOR THE VEGAN CARLOTA DE FRESA.

It’s strawberry season here in SoCal and there are plenty of places to go strawberry picking. Every year we make a huge batch of strawberry preserves and popsicles or paletas. (To this day I sometimes call lollipops popsicles, because in Mexico paleta can mean both popsicle and lollipop.) The kids love them and so do we.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

Is there really a difference between a Mexican paleta and a popsicle? YES! A popsicle can be made with fruit juice, fruit concentrate, and depending on the brand you buy it can also have glycerine, maltodextrin, guar gum, food coloring, and natural and artificial flavors. A Mexican paleta is usually made with fresh fruit, sugar, and water or milk. They are made locally and sold in paleterias (popsicle shops) and popsicle carts. The flavors vary from region to region according to what is available and in season at each location. Some of the flavors are a little crazy or unusual like sweet corn, avocado, rice pudding, and cucumber and chile. They are well know for being very generously filled with cut fresh fruit.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

Believe it or not, there are some paleterias in the Orange County/LA area where you can go experience first hand what a paleta really is. In the following months I will be posting many paleta recipes so you can make them at home yourself. My grandparents owned a paleteria more than 30 years ago in my hometown and I’m trying to track down pictures and recipes of that time for you.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

In the mean time there is one amazing book by a Mexican chef, Fany Gerson, that should be a part of your cookbook collection. The book is called Paletas. No surprise there!  It has many classic Mexican flavors of paletas, as well as aguas frescas, and raspados. One of the best ones are precisely these strawberry paletas which I have adapted for you. Fany Gerson suggests that if you don’t have special popsicle molds you can use shot glasses, and that is precisely what I did. Keep your freezer stocked this summer with these beauties for a refreshing treat. Enjoy!

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

The Recipe: Strawberry Paletas

These paletas are 100% vegan and use only natural ingredients. I have made two versions, one with just strawberries and one with light coconut milk. They are just the right amount of sweet and they are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

Strawberry Paletas

Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 paletas
Author: Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Strawberries, fresh, hulled, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 cup Cold water
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh

Instructions

  • Place strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle sugar over them. Mix well. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Place strawberries in a medium sauce pot and add 1/2 cup of water and place over medium eat. Simmer softly for 5 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Once the mixture is cool, place in a blender, add the lemon juice, and process to desired consistency. Your paletas can be chunky or smooth.
  • Pour into your molds, snap on the lids, and freeze for at least 5 hours.

Notes

If using shot glasses (like in the pictures) pour mixture into glasses and freeze for 1 - 2 hours. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for 4 more hours. If your strawberries are not very sweet you can add 1/4 cup more of sugar. Recipe adapted from Fany Gerson’s book Paletas.

These strawberry paletas are 100% vegan and gluten-free. They are just the right amount of sweet and are bursting with chunks of strawberries.

Strawberry Coconut Paletas

Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12 paletas
Author: Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Strawberries, fresh, hulled, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 cup Cold water
  • 1 cup Coconut milk, light, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh

Instructions

  • Place strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle sugar over them. Mix well. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Place strawberries in a medium sauce pot and add 1/2 cup of water and place over medium eat. Simmer softly for 5 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Once the mixture is cool, place in a blender, add lemon juice, coconut milk, and process to desired consistency. Your paletas can be chunky or smooth.
  • Pour into your molds, snap on the lids, and freeze for at least 5 hours.

Notes

If using shot glasses (like in the pictures) pour mixture into glasses and freeze for 1 - 2 hours. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for 4 more hours. If your strawberries are not very sweet you can add 1/4 cup more of sugar. Recipe adapted from Fany Gerson’s book Paletas.

 

Subscribe and get a free cookbook

Vegan Tamales Unwrapped