Maybe you’re a vegan and you don’t eat any animal products. Maybe you’re lactose intolerant and have a hard time digesting dairy. Maybe you had an uncomfortable experience with the guy who drives the ice cream that comes around your neighborhood and just lost the taste for soft serve ice cream.
Hey, we’ve all been there. Luckily, you don’t have to be any of the above to enjoy this recipe. It’s quick, it fits a wide range of diets, and it’s super healthy.
An interesting thing about bananas: I used to not eat them. Seriously, since I was maybe five until this past summer, I wouldn’t eat straight bananas. I would eat food that was made with bananas (banana bread, banana pancakes, etc.) but I had a hard time getting around the texture. This past summer, I decided to bite the bullet (I was going to say ‘bite the banana’, but you jerks wouldn’t let that one go). I was surprised. Really surprised.
I stopped eating bananas after that for several months because they gave me an AWFUL case of the runs, but I felt proud in getting past a bizarre phobia.
When I started getting back into exercising regularly, and especially after starting my new job, I decided that it would be worth trying bananas again. Turns out, they’ve been a great addition to my diet (with no side effects). Just about every workout blog or fitness website will recommend adding bananas to your diet, either as a handfruit or part of a shake. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and dietary fiber, which help lower the risk of high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease. Potassium also helps reduce bone thinning from urinary calcium loss. Bananas also provide a strong level of vitamin B6 and a moderate level of vitamin C, B2, and foliate. Bananas also have carbohydrates that are converted to sugars during digestion and then transferred throughout your bloodstream to provide energy to the rest of your system; eating a banana an hour or so before a workout provides a good powerhouse of energy without needed to eat a big meal (bananas are a great post-workout recovery snack, too).
Using bananas as the base for dairy-free ice cream is a fun way to get the benefits of the fruit. Plus, this is a dessert you can eat at any time of day, and who doesn’t want ice cream in the morning, sometimes?
You will need:
- 2 ripe medium bananas, peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite creamy nut butter (I used almond here)
- Honey (if honey is not part of your veganism, feel free to use maple syrup or agave nectar
Cut the peeled bananas into coins and space them out onto a baking tray. Put the tray into the freezer for 1-1½ hours. They should be firm but not frozen solid.
Mash the bananas until they reach a texture similar to custard or pudding. I didn’t have a blender so I used a potato masher and a fork, which was fine.
When the bananas are well blended, mix in the nut butter and honey well, until everything is uniform. I added no measurements to the sweetener because I didn’t bother measuring it when I tried this out the first time; a few teaspoons or a healthy squirt from the bottle is a good rough measurement. Place the mixture in a freezer-safe container and let it sit maybe 30-40 minutes. Remove and enjoy. If the mixture starts to go soft, simply refreeze for a few minutes and continue eating.
*note: “Healthy Squirt” is a good or awful band name.
This is just one approach to banana ice cream; feel free to experiment with other ingredients. Try seasonal berries, nut butter and a trickle of jam, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, fresh coconut and com pureed canned pineapple…you’re really only limited by your imagination. Please keep in mind that the banana taste is not terribly over-powering, it’s still there, so something like mint or coffee might not pair as well. Try this next time you’re entertaining some vegan guests, or as a refreshing breakfast treat in the summer.