I spent a few post-college years convinced that I was lactose intolerant. This was pre-gluten diagnosis, and because wheat belly was not yet a well documented symptom, I just assumed that feeling sick after eating baked pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, and greasy pizza was because of the dairy, and not the vehicle that transported it into my mouth.
Ironically, the things I was most scared of eating were ice cream and bisques. So my consumption of black raspberry scoops in summertime and creamy tomato soup come winter shrank to very lame proportions. Of course, minus the bread bowls and waffle cones, I probably would have been way better off designing my meals around these items instead of peanut noodles and banana bread. But you live and learn. And in the process, I’ve made up for a lot of lost time on the ice cream front.
I wish I could say that sitting on my couch with a pint and a spoon was limited to the times I’ve wanted to embody a 90’s breakup cliché. But now that Charlie is in my life, this behavior is no longer a product of heartbreak. It’s just your average Tuesday.
There’s an amazing little ice cream shop near Charlie’s house in Rhode Island that makes a particularly mean scoop of black raspberry. For his birthday last fall, I had my friend Meredith purchase some dry ice and stealthily lug 16 quarts of Grey’s back to New York City as a special surprise. I may have overestimated everyone else’s enthusiasm though. And as a result, for months, we had many pounds of ice cream sitting in the freezer, just begging to be included in our next Netflix marathon.
Ever since we finally rid ourselves of the last container, I’ve been trying not to keep ice cream in the house anymore. It is summer, after all. And while Charlie likes to say he’s working on his “beached whale bod,” I’d like to keep things a little bit more balanced on the healthy hedonism continuum. So I was very excited when I recently discovered the e-Book Kind Ice Cream for You, written by the talented Virpi Mikkonen of the gorgeous blog Vanelja.
I met Virpi at the Saveur Blog Awards, where her site took home the golden pepper mill for best design, and was excited to learn that gluten-free, healthy eating has taken hold in Finland, where she lives and writes. Her e-Book, which is in English!, applies her own healthy hedonism philosophy to ice cream. Most of the recipes are made with nut milk and natural sweeteners. She also tells you how to make everything using the blender or freezer method if you don’t have a Cuisinart ice cream maker.
To feed some of my frozen treat cravings, without having any excess lying around the house, I decided to give her strawberry banana vegan ice cream recipe a try. The brilliant part is that all you need is frozen fruit! And made in my little mini prep processor, it was the perfect amount for one or two people.
You simply pulse frozen strawberries and bananas until a thick crumble forms. Then, add a splash of almond milk and puree until you get a smooth texture. My ice cream was surprisingly creamy, if a little on the soft side—even more reason to eat the whole thing right away on the couch.
To take things up a notch, I topped my strawberry-banana ice cream with a little warm peanut butter “fudge,” sweetened with maple syrup. It was the perfect play on a big kid PB&J.
I may not be officially intolerant of it, but I think my stomach and my beach bod will thank me for integrating this fruit-based vegan ice cream recipe into my repertoire instead of the usual pint of black raspberry. If you’re looking for even more healthy homemade ice cream options, consider downloading Virpi’s book. Use the discount code PHOEBEICECREAM and you’ll get 15 percent off!
Vegan Strawberry Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter “Fudge” Sauce
For the ice cream
Add bananas and strawberries to a Cuisinart food processor or blender and pulse until a crumble forms. Keep on pulsing until the bananas start to form a smooth texture. You might have to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. Keep on pulsing until you get a smooth and creamy ice cream texture. Add the syrup and almond milk and blend until everything is combined, adding more milk if necessary.
Meanwhile, make the “fudge:” Heat the peanut butter, maple syrup, salt and almond milk in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, adding more almond milk if necessary to make it drizzle-able.
Scoop the ice cream into two bowls and top with the fudge. Garnish with additional strawberries or crushed peanuts and enjoy!
This ice cream is best eaten immediately! Because it's a softer texture it tends to melt rather quickly. You can always pop the blender back in the freezer for a few minutes if you need to get it to firm up a bit.