A rich creamy dairy-free chocolate blender ice cream recipe that does not use bananas! The perfect homemade ice cream and it contains MCT-rich coconut milk that helps you control weight!
Chocolate Blender Ice Cream (vegan, banana-free)
Though outside is a bit spring-chilly, my mind has long moved on to summer desserts so today was spent perfecting an ice cream treat, blender ice cream to be exact. In fact, specifically, this is the fastest route possible to healthy blender chocolate ice cream, a recipe that doesn’t need an ice cream maker.
A traditional way to make plant-based vegan ice cream is with frozen bananas. While I respect that fast method, we have an intolerance to bananas in our family so we must also find alternate routes.
And we have!
A perfect substitute is full fat coconut milk. No, it doesn’t make the ice cream taste like coconuts. I’ll get to that in a minute.
So, before I decided on coconut milk, I fished around for a thickener. The obvious would be avocado. But I didn’t have any on hand.
Then my neighbor suggested cashew butter. And she was right! I made my own, but I could have easily used a quality brand like Whole Foods 365 or Barney Butter or ONCE. Don’t skip this ingredient, if you can help it. It really makes a creamy difference.
But let’s go back to the star ingredient which helps make this ice cream like ice cream. The coconut milk.
All About Unsweetened Canned Coconut Milk
In this recipe, and most that call for “coconut milk”, they are referring to canned coconut milk, or milk fresh from a coconut. Rarely do recipes call for the processed coconut milk now appearing along side almond milk in the refrigerated sections or room-temperature boxed milk sections of most grocery stores. So make a note about that please.
When you buy canned, typically you want to buy brands that are free of other ingredients, including guar gum. Although admittedly this is a hard ingredient to avoid in canned coconut milk these days. Why? I don’t know.
For this recipe, however, a brand with guar gum is fine. Where that ingredient becomes troublesome is when you are trying to make coconut whipped cream because the guar gum sometimes interferes with the whipping texture.
And with this recipe, you don’t have to refrigerate the can before the recipe. You want to shake up the can at room temperature. For some recipes calling for coconut cream, you would refrigerate the can overnight to separate the coconut cream (solid) from the milk (liquid).
Now the big question is does this ice cream taste coconuty? It depends.
It depends on the brand of coconut milk you use. Lite coconut milk never imparts a coconuty flavor to recipes, but you need full fat here to make the ice cream creamy. However depending on the can, the strength of the coconut flavor can vary even within brands. Also, if your cashew butter is strong in flavor that might over power any coconut flavor.
If you really want to kick any coconut flavor to the curb though, you could try powerful flavor additions such as cold-brew coffee or even cayenne pepper to move it into Mayan chocolate territory.
How Healthy is Coconut Milk?
Unsweetened canned coconut milk is high in saturated fat, which normally would not be good for you, however, coconut’s saturated fat is special. It is made up of something called MCTS that are easy for the body to transform into energy.
Studies done on MCTS (medium-chain triglycerides) show consumption actually supports weight-loss without trying, especially belly fat, primarily because of their ability to boost energy and help you feel full.
And calories are relatively low, however you should still be aware that the recommended amount of saturated fat you should eat a day is about 13 gms, about the same amount in one cup of this coconut milk. This recipe uses about 3 cups, so you decide how much of this ice cream to eat per day!
And the nutrition in this ice cream doesn’t stop there of course.
Cashew butter is one of the healthier nut butters, with most of its fat being heart-healthy unsaturated. And most processed cashew butters – especially quality brands like Whole Foods 365 – contain little to no sugar, and less additives than, say, peanut butter.
Of course, you can always make your own nut butter – it’s pretty easy. Just blend raw nuts until the oil is released and they turn into butter. Just be sure you are buying a quality brand of nut.
How to Make Homemade Ice Cream
This easy ice cream recipe can also be made without an ice cream maker. The end result might be somewhat less creamy. See my no-churn method below:
To make it no-churn, simply pour the blended mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for 1 hour. Blend again, and pour into a loaf pan to freeze for a few more hours or until you reach the texture you want. You can do this a few more times if you have the time to increase the air in the blend, and thus the creaminess, or just let it freeze overnight. The next day, let it thaw 20 minutes before trying to scoop.
I hope you enjoy my summer ice cream recipe prelude! We clearly did, haha.
Want to share this recipe on Pinterest? Maybe use this image..
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Blender Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe (vegan, banana-free)
Makes 2-3 cups
- 4 tbsp cold coffee (or less) (to overpower any coconut flavor and turn it into mocha chocolate - add 1 tbsp at a time and stir the mixture. Stop if the texture is becoming too watery)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to overpower any coconut flavor and turn it into Mayan Chocolate - you should taste-test and add more if you'd like)
- Chocolate Chip Cookie - mix in chunks of vegan chocolate chip cookie dough (my vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe here.)
Make Ice Cream
- Don't chill the can of coconut milk overnight or it will separate into liquids and solids. Keep it at room temperature and shake hard before blending.
- Blend up all ingredients until smooth. If you intend to add coffee, do it now.
- Spoon mixture into ice cube trays, and freeze for at least 1 hour. Blend the cubes again and pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan. If you intend to add mix-ins, such as chips or cookie dough chunks, do it now.Cover and freeze another 3-4 hours or until you reach the texture you want.
- Once frozen overnight, let thaw 20 minutes before scooping.
- Top with homemade chocolate sauce or a melted chocolate bar! Enjoy!
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.