This Panna Cotta is a great Valentine's alternative to a box of chocolatesSo, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…are you ready? Somewhere along the line, (thanks, perhaps, to mass marketing from the Hallmarks and Godivas of the world) this day became more about sweets and gifts than a true celebration of love.

If you’re diabetic, the notion of receiving a box of chocolates as a Valentine’s Day present is probably less than thrilling…so why not enjoy a sweet treat that won’t throw off your entire weekly meal plan instead?

Try this Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries from Diabetic Living. It’s perfect to enjoy with a Valentine or all on your own.


  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 of a vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla**
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Whole strawberries (optional)


  1. For panna cotta, in a heatproof 2-cup glass measure, sprinkle gelatin over the cold water. Let stand for 3 minutes to soften. Scrape vanilla beans from the pod into the measuring cup; add the pod. Place in a saucepan of simmering water. Cook and stir over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in half-and-half and the 2 teaspoons sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod and stir mixture. Pour into two 6-ounce martini or champagne glasses or 6-ounce custard cups. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or until firm.
  2. About 1 hour before serving, in a small bowl, combine vinegar and the 1 teaspoon sugar. Add halved strawberries, tossing to coat. Cover and chill, tossing strawberries occasionally. Drain strawberries before serving.
  3. To serve, spoon strawberries over panna cotta in glasses. If desired, top each dessert with a whole strawberry.
  4. *Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda Granular, Equal Spoonful or packets or Sweet 'N Low bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 2 teaspoons or 1 teaspoon sugar.
  5. *Sugar Substitutes: PER SERVING WITH SUGAR SUBSTITUTE: same as above, except 105 cal., 17 g carb.
  6. *Sugar Substitutes: Exchanges: 1/2 other carb.
  7. *Sugar Substitutes: Carb Choices: 1


  • ** If using vanilla, add it with the half-and-half and omit the standing time.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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