A leafy green mint ice cream with hidden veggies and fruits – get some of your five a day with this frosty treat! Dairy-free and gluten-free!
Leafy Green Mint Ice Cream (dairy-free, 5-ingredients, vegan)
This mint ice cream recipe relies on SCIENCE..
I detail this below, but in a nutshell, I will say, these are frozen ingredients blended and frozen into ice cube trays and blended again.
No churning necessary. Instead, this is a tricky recipe that depends on ice cube trays. And this one works perfectly.
It is also a bit of an unusual recipe because it is a frozen dessert which includes leafy greens and yet it does not taste like a salad.
Hey, leafy greens are a mainstay addition to healthy smoothies, so why not to healthy ice cream recipes, right? Or to sherberts, sorbets, granitas too! Do you know the difference?
Well pull up a chair, or your screen, haha.
And The Difference between Sherbert, Sorbet, Granita, Ice Cream and Nicecream
Sherbert: Sherbert is also spelled “Sherbet”, both variations are correct according to Merriam Webster. And it is like sorbet with a creamy ingredient added. In the vegan world, the creamy ingredient we add is coconut or cashew yogurt. Or cashew cream or coconut cream or even avocado.
Sorbet: The definition of sorbet is a frozen treat made of only fruit and sugar. And in my world, the “fruit” can sometimes be a veggie😍. Here I made a cilantro sorbet. And let’s kick the sugar to the curb, shall we? It’s best to depend on the added fruit for sweetness.
Granita: And then there is granita, which is basically sorbet only in icy flake form.
Ice Cream: And of course plain old ice cream, which is supposed to have at least 10 percent fat to earn the name.
Vegan recipes typically use either cashews, coconut cream or avocados for that fat. Although recently I have been experimenting with adding sweet potato. And buttermilk squash.
And of course, cauliflower, which we now know we can put in anything – except maybe morning coffee. Not yet anyway.😍
Nicecream: Well, this term generally means a frozen treat that is made with wholesome vegan plant-based ingredients. Often bananas but also coconut cream or other plant-based ingredients.
The “N” stands for both bananas, but also “nice” in that no animal was harmed and the recipe is “nice” and healthy. So I suppose this recipe could also be a nicecream, and so could this my Blueberry Citrus Sherbet and my Cauliflower Ice Cream.
Okay, class, now put away your dictionaries, and let’s move on to science.😂
To blend in those greens and give this recipe the creamy texture needed to call it an ice cream, there are a few tricks.
Tricks to Use Leafy Greens in Mint Ice Cream
Be sure your leafy greens and mint leaves are frozen. I mean crispy frozen. I always keep baby kale and baby spinach and chopped chard leaves frozen in the freezer for many recipes, including smoothies. Then crush them into confetti with clean hands as I add them to a blender.
If you want to turn this into a sherbert, double the amount of crispy frozen leaves to provide the quintessential crystal texture you want in a sherbert or even a sorbet.
Also, your bananas must be very ripe (to be sweet) and must be chopped and frozen overnight.
Finally, you must freeze the yogurt into cubes in ice cube trays – don’t just dollop creamy yogurt into the blender. I often keep plain yogurt or even plain cashew cream or even thick hemp or oat milk frozen in ice cube trays to use for smoothies and these frozen treats.
And for color, the leaves will green it up somewhat, but I also added a tsp or less of ceremonial grade matcha powder. This controls the shade and increases the nutrition.
It’s expensive though – quality matcha powder runs in the $25-$35 dollar range, but it lasts a long time if you don’t mind the investment. Otherwise, leave it off! The green will depend on your leaves and that’s just fine.
My favorite ice cube tray for this recipe is listed in the ingredients. I used a different, large-cube one in this other make-ahead recipe, for smoothies: Make-Ahead Smoothie Ice Cube Concentrates Recipe..
I use a smaller-cubed one in this recipe because this mixture needs to stay frosty even after re-blending and somehow smaller round cubes from this tray help me achieve that – probably because smaller cubes mean you blend in less time.
FAQS about Mint Ice Cream
To Churn or Not to Churn
- What Mint Is Used in Ice Cream?
- I use fresh mint leaves here. The predominant leaves are baby kale or baby spinach. The color really comes from matcha powder. But some people supplement the mint flavor with mint extract, so you choose!
- Do Vanilla and Mint Go Together?
- I don’t add vanilla to this ice cream, but I have heard that fresh vanilla bean in mint ice cream goes well. Apparently the smooth vanilla flavor tempers the sharpness of the mint. Let me know if you add vanilla!
- Is Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Typically Peppermint or Spearmint?
- The commercial version combine both peppermint and spearmint mixed, or vanilla and peppermint mixed. The fresh recipes usually depend on fresh mint and possibly mint extract.
- What can I do With Lots of Fresh Mint?
- Lots of options. You can just sniff it; I often do that. Add it to tea to calm your tummy. Add it to our smoothie. Blend into a salad dressing with balsamic vinegar. Chop into a watermelon salad, or make this mint ice cream recipe.
- What flavors go well with mint?
- Want to mix in something other than chocolate chips? Try anything coffee, fold in whipped cream, add chunks of peppermint or cinnamon chips.
- Want to add more fresh herbs?
- Choose from basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley and thyme
And one last note. I have recently acquired and ice cream maker – you can see it in my nifty Amazon store! — and find that it actually makes the process easier and works well with all my no-churn recipes. So if you happen to have a churn, by all means use it! If you don’t, this method is just fine.
I hope you enjoy this recipe – it is one that depends more on chemistry than ingredients, wouldn’t you say?
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Leafy Green Mint Ice Cream
- 1 cup baby leafy greens (frozen, and crushed - I used baby kale and baby spinach)
- 4 large mint leaves (frozen, and crushed)
- 2-3 bananas (very ripe, chopped and frozen)
- 1/2 cup plant yogurt (frozen into ice cubes or use another banana)
- 1 tsp ceremonial matcha powder optional - makes the green color more even and adds nutrition)(Another awesome matcha brand is Matcha Maiden)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (optional)
- Freeze everything the night before preferably. Clean your leafy greens and mint, pat dry with paper towels, and freeze in an air tight container.
Peel your bananas, chop into one-inch chunks, and store in an air tight container. Try to keep all elements a bit separated so they don't freeze into a block.
Make Ice Cream
- Blend up ice cream ingredients until creamy, but don't blend until warm - some high speed blenders actually warm the low layer near the blades. So blend, get everything combined, and stop blending.If your blender insists, add a bit of plant milk to get things creamy. (My vitamix needed this; my blendtec did not - blenders have their own personality, don't they?)
- Remove any larger specks that don't breakdown so your dessert doesn't look like a salad, haha.
- Fold in chocolate chips or chunks or anything you want to fold in, really.Pour the mixture into ice cube trays.
- Freeze about 2 hours; 1 if you want a very soft serve.
- Then re-blend only the amount of cubes you want to serve. Let them thaw a few minutes to make blending go faster. If you need to add a few drops of plant milk, try not to add more than a tsp or two.
- Scoop the re-blended mixture into ice cream dishes. Sprinkle and enjoy!
- Freeze your ice cream maker container overnight.
- Blend up all ingredients except for mix-ins. Refrigerate for one hour.
- Pour mixture into your chilled ice cream maker container and churn according to your maker's instructions. Fold in the mix-ins when the churning is completed.
- Store the ice cream in an ice-cream safe container in the freezer.
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 biology, immunology and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.