By Jennifer Provenza at Good Food From The Heart
Whole foods plant based, sugar free or no refined sugar, gluten free, nut free, soy free
This is a tangy, aromatic, sweet, delicious, cooling lemonade. Homemade sugar free lemonade flavored with vanilla bean and rose is perfect for a backyard barbeque, a picnic, a camping trip. You get the picture.
Life Right Now
C is in kindergarten and let me just tell you what a job teaching kindergarten over zoom is! We are so lucky to have an incredible and experienced kindergarten teacher, but it’s still hard on her to be on the computer so much. She is learning a lot though, and cracking me up in the process. Yesterday, her teacher sang a song about melting snowmen. It was something along the lines of “Five little snowmen sitting in a row. One melted and now just four remain.” Well, C turned and looked at me in horror. The teacher goes on, “One melted and now just three remain.” And C looks at me and whispers, “Do you think there will be any survivors?”
We are nearing the end of distance learning before winter break and the girls and I are all ready for a break! So, yesterday, after a long day of zooming and homework, they were so excited to get up on their stools and help me squeeze some fresh lemons for lemonade. I love that cooking together has become such a fun bonding activity for us.
My parents have a fairly small lemon tree in their backyard. But, whoa does that tree produce lemons! My kids absolutely love to go over there and pick them. And I love it because we go home with a grocery bag full of huge, delicious, tangy lemons. Those lemons make for the best homemade lemonade ever! Of course, right now it’s a bit cold out for lemonade (although try telling that to my kids). Luckily, you can also freeze the juice of each lemon in a square of an ice cube tray. Once they freeze, you can transfer to an airtight container in the freezer and use them in the summer.
My whole family loves lemonade, but we didn’t used to drink it very often because it’s so high in sugar. And, literally, if I bought or made it, the whole thing would be gone in a day! I’m so glad I discovered that the sugar free version tastes just as good. My kids don’t notice the difference at all and they are tough customers!
Making This Recipe
I love to use the old fashioned juicer my mom got at a thrift shop, but any kind of juicer is fine. You can easily double this recipe for a crowd.
I also just love adding delicious flavorings to my lemonade. There is a wonderful restaurant near us where we used to get vanilla lemonade and I fell in love. Luckily, it wasn’t hard to replicate at home. For a really true vanilla flavor, I like to use the seeds from a whole vanilla bean. Vanilla beans can be expensive and you will have some black flecks in your lemonade, but the flavor makes it worth it! Vanilla extract will do fine in a pinch though. Use clear extract if you don’t want the lemonade to be discolored.
This is the Stevia I prefer.
I generally use stevia to sweeten my lemonade since my husband can’t have sugar at all, but maple syrup works as well, just know that it will both slightly color your lemonade amber and lend it a bit of a maple flavor. (Not that those are bad things!) The amount of sweetener I listed will give you a pretty tart lemonade, which is how we like it, but feel free to increase the sweetener to taste.
This recipe works fine without the vanilla or rose water, but it tastes so much better with it! The rose water, especially, gives it a beautiful scent and flavor. If your local grocery store doesn’t sell rose water, it’s easy to find online or at health food stores. Also, if you need something else to use the rose water in, it tastes great in cookies, pancakes, and quick breads. Oh, and in lattes. Mmmm….lattes.
How To Make This Sugar Free Lemonade
This homemade vanilla bean and rose lemonade comes together in no time! You don’t even have to make a simple syrup, so there is no cook time. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a pretty container and serve over ice. It goes great with my Vegetable Stir Fry With Peanut Sauce, Brown Rice Noodles, and Crispy Tofu (and really with any main course).
Sugar Free Lemonade With Vanilla Bean and Rose
- 4 lemons juiced
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon pure liquid stevia (or 1/2 cup maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Squeeze four lemons, getting as much juice out as you can. Add the water, stevia (or maple syrup), rose water, and vanilla bean seeds. Stir. Serve over ice.
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