Once upon a time I would drink boba smoothies every single chance I got. When I first met my husband we would go to this little restaurant in Madison that had the best boba smoothie flavors. We probably went there 2-3 times a week, until they closed down. Now living in Texas (for the last 7 years, vegan the last 4), you can’t find a single vegan boba tea option in my city. All of the places here use honey to sweeten their boba and dairy milk for the base of their teas. It’s such a shame. I eventually came to the realization that drinking boba smoothies wasn’t going to happen ever again. BUT my sister was like “why don’t you make your own?” – DUH! I never thought it was possible to do that at home.
Enter Amazon. They sell a ton of dried boba pearls, many of which are vegan-friendly. This is the brand I like to use because they’re quick to make and don’t call for a ton of boiling time like others I’ve tried out (this bundle also includes boba straws). It’s actually just as easy as making pasta. Even easier in fact. No fancy tools needed to achieve the exact same results as restaurants in the area. Plus, this way you’re able to control ever aspect of the process – yeah, I’m a control freak. From the non-dairy milk, to the type of sweetener you prefer. I personally love to sweeten the tea with vanilla or caramel stevia and the boba pearls with maple syrup. It creates this beautiful blend of flavors without being too overpoweringly sweet. Which means you could actually make a refined sugar-free version very easily.
I think this would also be delicious with coconut nectar, agave or bee-free honee. Have fun using whatever your heart desires.
Of course you can take this concept and apply it to any other tea/smoothie base flavor. Using coconut milk ice cubes and blending them with matcha tea or you could even go a step further and make protein powder smoothies as the base. I’m going to give that method a try with soy milk ice cubes and my favorite chocolate peanut butter protein powder for an indulgent drink that’s totally healthy. Maybe with a bit of coconut whip on top, cause fancy. If you want to make this chai variation, remember to make the chai concentrate the day before and freeze it into ice cubes.
If you’re a huge fan of boba tea and not able to find any vegan options where you live, please give this a try. It’s life-changing for those of you that are/were obsessed like me. I cannot wait to hear of the combinations you come up with! I would love to see your recreations and hear your thoughts. You can snap a photo and share it, tagging me @PlantPhilosophy using the hashtag #PlantPhilosophy so I don’t miss it.
Spicy Chai Boba Tea
Yield 2 servings
Using chai concentrate to make vegan chai boba smoothies aka bubble tea!
- Prep ahead by freezing chai concentrate into ice cubes the night before.
In a medium-sized pot, add 5 cups of filtered water and bring to a boil. Depending on the boba you purchase will decide the cooking time. Mine calls for water to come to a boil first. Add ½ cup of dried boba and stir.
Once all pearls float to the top wait 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and cook another 2-3 minutes with the lid on. Quickly drain and cover with ice water to stop the cooking process. Let rest for about a minute.
Transfer strained boba into a jar with 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Give it a stir and let it chill in the fridge, covered until needed.
For a chai tea, fill a pint jar with chai concentrate ice cubes. Top off with a cup of non-dairy milk and sweeten to taste, if desired.
For a chai smoothie, blend equal parts chai concentrate ice cubes with a non-dairy milk until smooth.
Fill each jar with boba before pouring chai tea/smoothie on top.
- Serve immediately with a boba straw, enjoy.
Boba will last in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Courses Beverage, Drink