By Integrative Nutrition
Whether you’re a committed vegan or simply experimenting with a plant-based diet for health reasons, you shouldn’t have to go without ice cream. Making your own traditional ice cream at home can be intimidating – the process includes tempering eggs, avoiding scalded cream, and a host of other fiddly steps.
However, vegan ice cream is much simpler to make than varieties with dairy and eggs and it’s just as delicious. This recipe will make you feel like an ice cream pro in no time. If you’re tired of paying $6-$10 a pint for store-bought coconut ice cream, discover for yourself just how easily and affordably it can be made at home.
This ice cream isn’t just free of animal products – it’s also good for you. It’s sweetened with a moderate ¼ cup of agave nectar, so it isn’t packed full of refined sugar like most ice cream. The base is full fat coconut milk, an incredible source of lauric acid. 50% of the fat in coconuts is in the form of lauric acid, an incredible fatty acid that’s both antibacterial and antiviral.
Coconut milk is also chockfull of vital minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. Basically, this is vegan coconut milk ice cream that could potentially help you avoid getting sick this winter! What could be better?
If you’ve never made it before, ice cream is created in a few steps:
- The removable bowl of the ice cream maker gets placed in the freezer for at least 24 hours before the process begins.
- An ice cream base is made. This is a liquid mixture composed of some kind of dairy product, sweetener, and flavoring agent. The ice cream base is most often heated to dissolve ingredients/create structure.
- The ice cream base is completed cooled, the frozen bowl of the ice cream maker is placed in the ice cream maker itself, and the base gets processed by the machine. This processing simultaneously aerates and freezes the ice cream base. The ice cream is done when it reaches a thick consistency.
- Ice cream that has just been processed is ready for add-ins, such as chocolate chips or coconut flakes. It can be eaten immediately and it’s quite delicious, with a consistency similar to soft-serve. However, if you’re looking for a more traditional ice cream texture, the freshly-processed ice cream will need to be frozen for at least a few hours.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, check out local resale shops before buying one new. They’re one of those trendy kitchen items that many people end up donating, so you can often find a barely-used secondhand model for $5-$20.
Then grab a few pantry ingredients from your local health food store, and you’ll be all set to tackle this dairy free coconut ice cream recipe.
Vegan Coconut Fudge Ice Cream (Makes 6 Servings)
Two cans organic full fat coconut milk (13.66 oz. each)
¼ cup organic agave nectar
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Before beginning, ensure that the bowl of your ice cream machine has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours.
- In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk and agave nectar over medium-low heat until simmering. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and vanilla extract. Begin stirring with a spatula, then switch to a whisk after the chocolate is mostly melted and whisk vigorously to completely emulsify the mixture.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
- Once ice cream base is cool, transfer to frozen ice cream machine bowl and process according to ice cream machine manufacturer’s directions. Enjoy immediately or freeze. After ice cream has been in the freezer for a day or two, it will be quite hard. Thaw at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before consuming for the best experience.
- This is a great coconut milk ice cream recipe “base” recipe for other ice cream flavors. Stir in mix-ins immediately after processing (chocolate chips, toasted nuts or coconut, or swirls of nut butter are all delicious) or add other flavoring components to the ice cream base along with the chocolate chips and vanilla (essential oils, flavoring extracts, cinnamon or other spices, or powdered peanut butter – like PB2 – are all great ideas).
- Feel free to substitute maple syrup or honey (if you’re not a strict vegan) for the agave nectar.
Integrative Nutrition is the world’s largest nutrition school and Health Coach Training Program. Through our innovative, one-year online course, students learn the principles of health coaching, business skills, and over 100 different dietary theories with lectures by the world’s leading experts.