Nice Cream, You Scream, We all Scream for Dairy-Free Ice Cream!
It's been about a decade since I cut dairy from my diet completely. I wish I could say it was for the cows, who I have always felt such love and esteem for, but it was my own selfish digestion that caused that particular dietary change. I have always been lactose intolerant, but in my early-mid twenties, something shifted and milk no longer just gave me discomfort, it began making me violently ill. It was super fun times- not.
Since then, I've spent many moons learning to replace dairy in my diet, and ice cream was definitely on the short list of Things I Need Dairy-Free Versions Of. Over the years, I've met many people who share my dairy discomfort, as well as many vegans who have an ethical repulsion for dairy. Whatever the path, if you find yourself seeking dairy free ice cream options- you are in luck!
Head to the Store
Most grocery stores (even in areas that don't seem "vegan-friendly") have a few dairy-free options. Peta Kids has this great list of common brands that you can find in the grocery store. If you have more options, there are all kinds of ice creams available commercially that are smaller batch. My personal favorite is Nada Moo, which isn't as widely available (I can't get it in my small town), as it's the creamiest. I DID recently find the new Non-Dairy Ben and Jerry's options and they did not disappoint. The peanut butter cookies and cream is my favorite, ideally mixed with the coffee and caramel one. The options in the store these days not only have the non-dairy goodness, but they also come with rice, almond, coconut, or cashew base, so there really is something for everyone. You can also often find vegan sorbets, like Haagan Daz mango or raspberry sorbet.
Make Your Own
My husband and I are both allergic to dairy, so when we got an ice cream maker for our wedding, we were thrilled to try out making our own ice cream! It took a while to get the hang of it though, and we had many flops. Finally, my friend Tara gave me a foolproof recipe:
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
1 small can coconut cream (or just the cream from a second can of full fat coconut milk)
Then you add sweeteners/flavors/add ins of choice.
I like maple syrup, vanilla, and crushed up Newman's O's for a cookies and cream that is perfection.
Really, the possibilities are endless: You can use various extracts or fruit or nuts for whatever flavor you can imagine!
For a Cashew Coconut Blend, you can try the ice cream I used for my birthday ice cream cake. It was so creamy and delicious!
Nice Cream is a term used primarily for blended up frozen bananas and/or other frozen fruit. You can use a quality blender, food processor, a machine specifically designed for it like "YoNanas" or similar, or in my case you can use a Champion Juicer like our Rainbow Sherbet recipe.
There's a million ways to make this, just blending up frozen bananas and other fruit (bananas aren't essential, but make it creamy and sweet naturally). You may need to add a tiny bit of juice or non-dairy milk to blend it, but if you add too much you get a smoothie- so beware. My favorites are banana peach, banana mango, or banana blueberry. You can also blend in peanut butter, cocoa powder, or matcha powder for peanut butter, chocolate, or green tea ice cream.
Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce: This was a huge hit at an ice cream demo my daughter and I taught last night. It's simply 2 parts Brown Rice Syrup and one part creamy peanut butter. It is gooey, sweet, and caramely good. Stir both ingredients together and try not to just eat it all with a spoon. It's nice on top of our ice cream or swirled in.
DIY Magic Shell in either chocolate, green tea, or peanut butter flavor: Mix some warmed coconut oil (just warm enough to be liquid) with either cocoa powder, matcha powder, or powdered peanut butter and then add some maple syrup to taste. It should be like a nice thick syrup consistency, but then when you pour over your ice cream it will harden.
Sprinkles: Let's Do Organic makes great vegan sprinkles that are fun for baking and for topping sundaes
Healthy Toppings: Fun health food toppings like cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, and nuts give the look and whimsy of a classic sundae and give great nutrients as well!
If these aren't enough, check out this list compiled by Buzzfeed:
29 Amazing Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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