Plant-Based Valentine Vegan Gummies

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Written by Stefanie Hamami
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Cambria Glosz

Cambria Glosz, MS, RD
Nutritional Reviewer

Attention all plant-based candy lovers! So many brands have been coming out with their spin on plant-based candies and chocolates, using dairy-free milk and omitting ingredients like gelatin, which is derived from animal collagen. 

We thought we’d throw our hat in the ring with these vegan gummies just in time for Valentine’s Day. Any excuse to use a cute heart mold, right?

Our version of Valentine’s vegan gummy candy is super simple and ready in 25 minutes! With little fridge time and just a handful of ingredients, these are perfect for a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat—and great for kids and adults alike!

What Are Vegan Gummies?

Did you think your favorite gummies were free of animal products? Turns out they’re not. 

Gummy candy is truly a lesson in reading your ingredients! 

Traditionally, store-bought gummies are made with ingredients like gelatin, red 40 (which can be derived from crushed beetles—ew!), and processed sugar. Delicious candy and other sweet treats can just as easily be made without these ingredients, and we were up for the challenge. 

Gelatin is made from animal collagen, therefore disqualifying it as a vegan or plant-based ingredient. It’s what makes candy, well… gelatinous (hence the name). If you follow a plant-based diet but still want that gummy texture, we’ve got you covered. 

It turns out there is a plant-derived ingredient called agar agar powder that can also create that familiar gelatinous texture without the animal byproduct. 

Agar agar powder comes from seaweed and serves as a vegetarian thickening ingredient. It comes in powder form and can be added directly to the other gummy ingredients. As a bonus, it has no obvious seaweed smell or taste, so it blends well with whichever flavors you try.

Now, don’t ask us who figured out that seaweed could be turned into gummies, we’re just glad they did!

Our Vegan Gummy Candy Ingredients

Here are the vegan ingredients in our Valentine’s gummy candy:

Agar agar powder

Agar agar is a flavorless powder that comes from red algae and acts as a non-animal substitute for gelatin, making it perfect for vegan gummies. 

Although it is made from seaweed, there is nothing in the flavor that gives it away—its neutral taste makes agar agar a seamless gelatin-free replacement for gelatin that is used in many vegan recipes, from gummy bears to sour candy.

Maple Syrup

This is our sweetener of choice. You could also use agave syrup or date syrup—just don’t use honey to keep it vegan! 

If you want to make this vegan gummy recipe low-sugar, you could try using a liquid monk fruit sweetener, but we have not tried this.

Fruit Juice

This is the fun part! You can choose as many types of fruit juice as you like and even mix and match. Think of the flavors you would normally pick out of a bag of gummy bears and make a whole batch of just that flavor!  

We recommend choosing juice that is made from 100% juice to keep these gummy candies as nutritious as possible. Some examples include cranberry, pomegranate, cherry, grape, orange, or strawberry if you can find it.

Silicone molds

We opted for a mini heart mold for Valentine’s Day. You can use any shape you prefer (vegan gummy bears or Swedish fish would be so cute!), but we recommend going for silicone molds for easy removal and handling. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cuter Valentine’s Day snack than these plant-based and heart-shaped gummy candies. You can make a large batch with a variety of flavors, bag them up, and give them to your favorite people! We think they’re a great addition to a kid’s lunchbox or can be enjoyed as a post-dinner sweet bite. 

Be sure to tag us in your recipe creations on social media. We would love to get inspired by your flavor combos! Enjoy!

Plant Based Valentine Gummies

Plant Based Valentine Gummies

Our version of Valentine’s vegan gummy candy is super simple and ready in 25 minutes! With little fridge time and just a handful of ingredients, these are perfect for a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat.

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Set Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Servings 6
Calories 31 kcal

Ingredients

  

  • ½ cup fruit juice of choice (we used grape and orange, but cherry, pomegranate, strawberry, and cranberry would be festive for Valentine’s Day, too!)
  • 1 tsp agar powder
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)

Instructions

 

  • Take out a different saucepan for each flavor. Combine maple syrup, agar agar powder, and juice of choice and mix until combined.
  • Bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Transfer to a bowl for further cooling.
  • Using a dropper (most molds will come with them), drop the mixture into your gummy bear or heart mold.
  • Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Pop out of the mold and enjoy your sweet treat!

Notes

  1. This makes a lot of gummy hearts! Make them all at once, as the mixture will eventually solidify in the bowl if you don’t drop it into the mold shortly after cooling.
  2. The texture is going to be different than a gummy made from gelatin. It is closer to the consistency of Jello.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 31kcalCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 7g

Keyword gummies, Valentine’s, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Vegan Gummies FAQs

Is plant-based candy good for you?

Candy is a treat or dessert, even when plant-based. However, not all candy is created equally. As we previously mentioned, most store-bought and conventional gummies (and candy in general) contain artificial colors, refined sugars, and other highly processed ingredients. Making your own candy allows you to control the ingredients and eliminate some of the ingredients used to keep store-bought candy shelf-stable and long-lasting. 

Our plant-based gummies have just 3 ingredients: agar agar powder, maple syrup, and 100% fruit juice. This is a much more nutritious alternative to a classic gummy candy. You don’t have to be plant-based to appreciate these cute vegan gummies!

What are vegan gummies made of?

Plant-based gummies (like vegan gummy bears, sour candy, vegan gummy worms, or vegan fruit snacks, for example) are different from regular gummy candies because they do not contain gelatin. As gelatin is an animal product, gelatin-free gummies are vegan-friendly. 

A typical vegan gummy bears recipe might use agar agar instead of gelatin, which is a plant-based thickening agent made from seaweed that gives a similar chewy texture. Although we haven’t tried these, other potential gelatin-free alternatives for vegan gummy candy are potato starch, pectin, cornstarch, arrowroot starch, guar gum, and carrageenan.

Are gummy bears vegan?

It depends on the brand. Some brands of vegan and vegetarian gummy bears are gelatin-free, while others are not—you have to look at the label and see if they contain gelatin. 

For example, a popular healthy candy brand, Smart Sweets, uses gelatin in their gummy bears but not other products (like their Sweet Fish and Peach Rings).

Why is citric acid in vegan gummies?

Some gummy candies use citric acid to add a tart or sour flavor. It’s also used in some vegan gummy bear recipes to improve the texture by providing firmness and elasticity.

Is gelatin made from animal bones?

Technically, yes. Gelatin is derived from collagen, a structural protein found in the connective tissues, bones, and skin of animals. Although collagen has many essential benefits to human health, if you can’t get past the ick factor, opt for vegan and gelatin-free alternatives, like agar agar powder.



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