The Vegans Are Onto Something: Creamy, Satisfying, Non-Dairy Ice Cream

It’s not like vegans have been holding out on the rest of us animal product consuming folks.  For years, I have seen posts about vegan “ice cream” all over the interwebs.  I just assumed, like many other non-vegans, that non-dairy ice cream was a poor substitute for the Real Thing.  Meanwhile, vegans everywhere were giggling over our naivety and enjoying another scoop of rich, smooth, decadent-tasting iced desserts every bit as satisfying as ice cream, but which didn’t leave them feeling heavy, bloated, or over-sugared.

While I am totally down with coconut and avocado bases, the non-dairy ice cream I am in love with at the moment is banana-based, for a few reasons.  First, using very ripe bananas means not needing to add additional sugar because ripe bananas are so naturally sweet already.  Second, bananas contain no fat of their own, so banana-based ice creams almost always contain less fat than their coconut milk or avocado counterparts.  Finally, bananas offer many health benefits.  They are packed with essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6, not to mention a significant amount of dietary fiber.  This dessert leaves me feeling light and… well, healthy, even as it satisfies my persistent sweet tooth.

Banana “Ice Cream” How-To

The method is simple: peel and slice a ripe banana, lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and freeze until solid.  Then you can store the frozen slices in a freezer bag until needed.

To make the ice cream, put the banana slices in the bowl of a food processor with any other desired ingredients, and whiz it up until smooth.  After you start to puree the main ingredients, thin the mixture down — sparingly — with an alternative milk (almond, hemp, coconut, etc.) until you reach the desired consistency.  I think banana-based  ice cream tastes best served fresh, but if your mixture gets a little too soft while pureeing, you can spoon it into a container and firm it up in the freezer before serving.

If you love the flavor of bananas, you can make this ice cream without adding additional flavors.  But why wouldn’t you, when there are so many delicious combinations with which to experiment?  See some of our favorite flavor combinations below.  Each recipe makes two modest servings, or one generous serving.

The peanut butter makes this ice cream rich and filling.  The banana flavor still comes through in this one, which I consider a good thing — I love bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate together!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chunk

1 banana, sliced and frozen

2 – 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

1 oz. dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more)

1 Tbsp or more almond milk

I wasn’t patient enough with my food processor and added a little too much almond milk too soon, so this batch of coconut pistachio ice cream came out with more of a soft-serve texture.  My taste-testers all agree that the banana flavor disappears beneath the coconut.

Coconut Pistachio

1 banana, sliced and frozen

1 – 2 Tbsp coconut manna (a.k.a. “coconut cream”)

1/3 cup shelled pistachios

1 Tbsp or more almond milk or coconut milk

In addition to bringing anti-inflammatory properties to the party, the tart cherry juice concentrate adds a jolt of berrylicious flavor to this faux ice cream, making the banana flavor disappear entirely.


1 banana

2/3 cup frozen strawberries

1 Tbsp tart cherry juice concentrate

1 Tbsp or more almond milk

This entry was posted in Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients, berries, coconut oil (virgin/ unrefined), Dairy-free, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more), Desserts, Gluten-free, nuts, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan. Bookmark the permalink.

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