There’s a good chance you’re reading this because you are curious as to how I got these tasty little pudding cups (PUDDING!) to be green without using dye. And rightfully so. Curious minds want to know how to take a traditional Halloween party treat and update it to make it healthy, kid-friendly, and lick-the-cup good. Or is that just me? In any case, it can be done, friends. For the crunchy among us, we can make these spooky Frankenstein cups without using traditional food coloring.
As a former English teacher I feel it is my duty to state that I am aware that Frankenstein’s monster indeed had no name and that Frankenstein himself was the scientist, not the monster. HOWEVER, for the sake of my Pinterest Graphic and the title of this blog post, I felt that “Naturally Green Frankenstein’s Monster Pudding Cups for Halloween” just sounded far too confusing/pretentious.
On with the deliciousness! Remember pudding? Something about it just feels so lunchroom circa 1996, but doesn’t it just feel so right? I’ve updated this classic vanilla pudding recipe to be lighter and healthier, but still with all the thick, creamy pudding flavors you remember.
So how exactly do you make pudding green without using food coloring? The answer is…spinach! Hey, don’t knock it till you try it. I mean, think about it. People add spinach to their smoothies for a little veggie boost and it works because once the spinach is blended up with the other ingredients, it’s virtually tasteless. When thinking about this recipe, I figured if it worked for my Banana Yogurt Melts, it had to work here. And luckily, it so did.
Naturally Green Frankenstein Pudding Cups
- Clear plastic cups (I used 9 oz Solo Cups)
- A thick Sharpie
- A Blender (I swear by the Ninja Blender)
- Plastic Wrap
- Large Ziploc Bag
- Rolling Pin
- 1 ½ cups Unsweetened Almondmilk (such as Silk)
- 1 ½ cups Unsweetened Coconutmilk (such as Silk)
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
- 1 ½ cups white cane sugar (I like Wholesome or Florida’s Crystal)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 whole vanilla beans (or 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 TB softened butter (use Earth Balance to make recipe dairy-free)
- 12 chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Back to Nature)
In your blender, combine both milks with the spinach and blend on high power until the spinach is completely dissolved into the milk. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add in the (very) green milk and the egg yolks. Whisk everything until combined.
Slice the vanilla beans down the center and scrape out the seeds. Take a second and smell that fresh vanilla, because it’s incredible. Put the seeds and the pods in the pan.
Now, turn the heat to medium and whisk gently as the pudding heats. Give it about 5 minutes to start heating up and getting bubbly. Don’t rush it by turning the heat up otherwise you’ll scorch the bottom of the pudding.
Once it starts to bubble, let it bubble for about a minute and then remove from the heat, take out the vanilla bean pods and gently fold in the butter.
While the pudding cools in the pan for a minute, draw the faces (or have the kids draw the faces!) on the plastic cups. Divide the pudding among the cups (I used 4, 9 oz cups). Cover with plastic wrap, being sure to press against the surface of the pudding so it won’t develop a skin.
Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. While the pudding is chilling, throw the cookies into a Ziploc bag and crush using a rolling pin.
Once the cups are cooled, top with crushed cookies, and serve to excited children (or parents).
This pudding recipe is slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Dinnertime Cookbook (so you know it’s good)
- The PW uses 3 cups whole milk in her recipe. I didn’t have whole milk so I used a combo of almond and coconut. Whole milk will definitely produce a thicker, more creamy pudding.
- If you want to get super crunchy, you could use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. It works the same way to thicken the pudding. I also used Back to Nature “oreos” – but Newman O’s are also a fav.
- On the flipside, you could also totally use regular old food coloring and Oreos, it is Halloween after all. You could probably even use store-bought pudding mix with either method (spinach or dye)
- Whole vanilla beans can be expensive, but sometimes you can find them at TJ Maxx for cheap!
- These are best served the same day, although they still tasted good the day after. Plan to make them in the morning so the cups have time to cool, and then add the cookies at the last minute so they don’t get soggy.
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