In the early 1980s, TCBY became the first frozen yogurt chain in the U.S. and introduced Americans to a whole new way to eat frozen dessert. Fro-yo quickly caught the public’s attention and, most likely due to its lower fat content compared to traditional ice cream, it was seen as ice cream’s “healthier” alternative. Whether or not that’s true, frozen yogurt grew in popularity and today, there are multiple chains known for offering a range of flavors, often with toppings like fresh fruit, candy, and chocolate chips.
Thankfully, there are plenty of dairy-free options out there for those who follow a plant-based diet. And since summer is full swing, we thought we’d highlight five places in the U.S. where you can to get your soft serve frozen dessert on. Here they are:
sweetFrog, which was named the #1 frozen yogurt shop in the U.S. by Daily Meal, recently expanded its diverse range of dairy-free soft serve flavors with six flavors of Dole Whip. If you’re not familiar with Dole Whip, it’s a fruity soft serve frozen dessert created by the Dole Food Company that has a huge cult following among fans of Disneyland. Traditionally, it’s offered in the pineapple flavor, but at sweetFrog 340 locations across the U.S., you can grab a cup in the flavors pineapple, orange, mango, raspberry, strawberry, and lemon. According to sweetFrog’s Director of Product Development, Paul Hipsky, “adding Dole Whip to the menu makes so much sense: it’s non-dairy and all the flavors are vegan. It’s also fat, cholesterol, gluten, and lactose-free, so it’s a perfect dessert that anyone can enjoy regardless of any potential dietary restrictions.”
2. Red Mango
Red Mango’s two newest additions to the menu is sure to make a lot of customers happy. Introducing, Caramelized Pineapple and Blood Orange “Fro-No.” Not only is their “Fro-No” completely dairy-free and vegan, it’s also made with real fruit purée (and only five ingredients!) and free from artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors — so, they’re staying true to their mission of offering their customers indulgent treats while keeping it “all-natural.” According to Red Mango’s announcement, the flavors will be available for only a limited time, but we’re hoping that the fro-yo chain considers making them part of their permanent rotation of flavors.
If you’re on the lookout for a plant-based soft serve location that offers something a little closer to traditional ice cream flavors, look no further than TCBY. In 2013, after 32 years of business, TCBY became the nation’s first fro-yo chain to offer dairy-free soft serve made from almond milk. To make this happen, the company partnered with plant-based milk and yogurt company, Silk, to create a Silk Chocolate Almond, a dairy-free soft serve made from their line of almond milk. While the Chocolate Almond soft serve was originally intended to be a temporary flavor at a select few locations, the company received such positive feedback that they decided to make it permanent and nationwide. Not too long after, TCBY added another creamy, dairy-free flavor to the menu with Silk Vanilla Almond soft serve. Hello, dairy-free chocolate-almond swirl!
4. 16 Handles
New York City-based fro-yo chain 16 Handles has long understood the need to offer customers delicious, dairy-free soft serve frozen dessert options. The company goes beyond the traditional raspberry-pomegranate you might find at other chains with unique flavors such as AriZona Lemon Iced Tea Sorbet, Dannon Passion Fruit Orange Guava Sorbet, Peach Sangria Sorbetto, and more. They also offer Yo Soy Vanilla, a creamy soy yogurt-based soft serve that’ll please anyone looking for something a little more like ice cream. P.S. — we hope they make a dairy-free version of their lavender-colored Sweet Taro Pie very soon.
5. Pressed Juicery
Perhaps the most interesting “fro-yo” spot on the list, Pressed Juicery, is a health-focused chain that offers cold-pressed juice, smoothies, and snacks — and at certain locations, they also offer “Freeze,” a fro-yo style soft serve that’s made from the juice of fruits and vegetables, almonds, and coconuts. You can pick up the Greens Freeze, a green juice-based soft serve with dates and coconut added or you can go the more traditional route with flavors like Chocolate Almond Freeze or Vanilla Almond Freeze.
Make Your Own Vegan Frozen Treats!
If you can’t make it to one of the above locations, why not try your hand at making some homemade vegan ice cream? If you’re a beginner, we recommend easy-to-make flavors like this Purple Sweet Potato Ice Cream, this Maple Walnut Ice Cream, or this Banoffee “Nice” Cream. If sorbet is more your thing, try this Mango Sorbet With Banana and Pineapple, this Lavender and Lemon Sorbet, or this Date Plum Sorbet.
Need even more dessert options? Then we highly suggest you check out the Food Monster App. For those who don’t know, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone, and you can follow it on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more. Find more than 8000+ awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions! Check it out.
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