Solving the Dairy-free Ice Cream Dilemma

I love ice cream.  Absolutely LOVE it.  So when I went on an extreme elimination diet for nine months with my son and could not have any dairy during that time, it was rough.  Not to mention going without chocolate pretty much the whole time since we also could not have soy was also ROUGH.  Toward the end I occasionally broke down and bought some dairy and soy free coconut milk ice cream, but at $5 per pint, that option is just too pricey for my budget.  I considered making my own coconut milk ice cream, but it seems complicated and time consuming, and still rather expensive, so I haven’t taken that leap yet.  Now that my little ones are gradually overcoming their allergies, we have gone back to eating dairy ice cream mostly, but I still like to have something to offer my friends and family with allergies, so I was excited to come across a super healthy, simple alternative to traditional ice cream.

I got a free ebook cookbook the other day called 30 Healthy Desserts You Can Eat Every Day by Nathalie Lussier.  Her book contains 30 raw and healthy desserts, just like it says.  Unfortunately for us, most of the recipes use some kind of nut as the main ingredient, and we are still dealing with nut allergies.  Not to mention that my friends who are allergic to dairy are also allergic to nuts.  I almost stopped reading the book halfway through, but I’m so glad I skimmed all the recipes right up to the last one, because there I found this little jewel of an idea- make ice cream with frozen veggies!  In this case she calls for frozen chopped raw zucchini, but I had lots of patty pan squash on hand, so I used that instead.  Patty pan squash has the added benefit of being white, so it looks nice as an ice cream base even if you leave the skin on. =)  Her recipe calls for frozen banana chunks as well, but I’m not a fan of banana flavored ice cream, so I left them out and just used squash.  I think the banana may lend a creamier texture to the ice cream though.

Here is the recipe with my adjustments:

Mint Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream”

Ice Cream Base

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen squash or zucchini chunks (the original recipe calls for 1 cup zucchini and 1/2 cups banana)
  • Dash of mint extract or essential oil (or other flavoring if desired)
  • Drizzle of honey (to taste)
  • Homemade chocolate chips (recipe below)
  1. Chop squash into small chunks and freeze.
  2. Place frozen chunks into a food processor or high speed blender.
  3. Blend until it becomes a nice ice cream texture, but don’t over process or the ice cream will melt.  Mine didn’t become very creamy in my food processor, but it would definitely make great Italian ice.  In a better blender you may be able to achieve a creamier texture too.
  4. Add mint, honey, and chocolate chips and pulse until blended.
  5. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chips

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • Honey to taste
  1. In a small bowl, whisk (or use an immersion blender to speed things up) all three ingredients until they become emulsified.
  2. Pour mixture into an 8 x 8 inch glass pan.
  3. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to harden.
  4. Take out chilled chocolate and break apart using a knife to make chocolate chips.

These are great added to the ice cream or just on their own.  I haven’t tried them in cookies yet, but I may try that soon.   I love that you can adjust the sweetness with how much honey you choose to add, and you know exactly what is in these chips!

My take on this recipe is that even if it’s not quite as creamy as regular ice cream, it’s certainly a quick and easy treat for a summer day, and a delicious way to eat your veggies!

 

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