When picturing my perfect summer day, ice cream is front and center on the agenda. Barefoot in a swimsuit and coverup, hair still damp from swimming, racing the heat to consume every last drop of melty goodness before it slides off of the cone… it’s what summer dreams are made of.
That said, if you’re a sundae supporter and fro-yo fanatic like me, an adult-onset dairy allergy can be quite the buzzkill. When I could no longer tolerate dairy, I was forced to take my sweet tooth in a different direction. Nonetheless, I’ve been surprised at the whole new world of sweets that I discovered. If done right, dairy-free desserts can be just as decadent and satisfying without compromising on creaminess or flavor.
Lately, I’ve been on a mission to concoct the perfect homemade vegan ice cream using just my blender and freezer at home. So far, this vegan mango ice cream recipe has been the ultimate hit. With coconut milk, mangoes, basil, and maple syrup, the ingredients scream summer and make for an easy, mouthwatering treat. It’s also dairy-free, refined-sugar free and seriously addictive without any fillers, artificial flavors or preservatives in sight (unlike most of the store-bought versions – the ingredients lists on many of them can be scary.) Dare I say, this ice cream is straight up healthy on the dessert spectrum.
This mango and basil vegan ice cream is the healthier dessert you need in your life this season. It’s creamy, sweet, refreshing, and so simple that you’ll make it over and over again.
Ripe mangoes are one of summer’s biggest gifts. Right now they’re at their peak flavor, and offer the most creamy, delectable base for a frozen dessert. I chose to blend up the frozen fruit with some coconut milk, and gradually added more fruit to reach the thick consistency I prefer for my ice cream. If you don’t have enough frozen mango, adding in a little frozen banana could also work here. For the coconut milk, I usually grab the canned kind (I used Trader Joe’s brand) because it is extra creamy and rich in flavor. To sweeten things up, the maple syrup brings a velvety texture and the perfect dose of natural sugar to the mixture. Finishing it off with the chopped basil adds a subtle flavor that is perfectly refreshing.
My sweet tooth runs deep, and homemade ice cream is a favorite family tradition at my house. Over the holidays, we always look forward to firing up the ice cream maker to churn up all sorts of flavors like mint chip, dark chocolate, cookies ‘n cream and more. While I love the ease and smoothness these little machines offer, I’ve realized blenders are the unsung heroes of homemade ice cream. You can whip up soft serve in a matter of seconds, and skip the churn and freeze steps all together (because we all know that when you want ice cream, you want it right now). Ever since I finally purchased my vitamix, I’ve been addicted to all the new possibilities for blending, puree-ing and concocting. Having a good blender around is really worth the hype. I’ve made frozen cocktails, dressings, sauces, puddings, soups, smoothies, and now ice cream in this thing. Like I said, you can even eat the ice cream right away after blending it if you prefer more of a soft-serve.
If you do choose to go the freezer route, respect. I applaud your patience and self-control. This is the hard part, because you’ll want to sneak some bites every time you check on it as it hardens. After a few hours the ice cream tends to get pretty hard, so it’s important to let it soften before serving. I’ll set it out on the counter for about 20 minutes until it’s a scoop-able consistency. When you’re ready to eat, scoop it onto your ice cream vessel of choice. I’ve tried it in both a cup and cone, but I’ve found it’s a little bit easier to eat with a spoon.
This ice cream is ultra creamy, sweet, and delicious all on its own, but sometimes you just need a little something extra. I chose to top mine with some fresh basil, a handful of berries and a drizzle of honey. If you try this one out, give the recipe a rating below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!