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Since we all know dairy isn’t the most healthful food choice out there today, it’s probably safe to say we’re all just fine with using dairy alternatives, even when it comes to ice cream. Considering we don’t consume the milk of any other living creature, it only makes sense that we should also spare the cows from the crazy notion while we’re at it too, wouldn’t you agree?

Everyone loves ice cream, but there are no rules that say it has to come from a cow to be considered ice cream. Ice cream is a frozen dessert that has a creamy, silky texture. Not a drop of cow’s milk is needed to create that, friends.  In fact, there are some dairy-free alternatives that not only taste better but are also much better for you (think no cholesterol, added sugars, lactose, or animal excretions.) Are you on board yet?

These foods below create awesome dairy-free desserts because when blended, they turn into a silky, dream concoction that’s just divine after a little freezing time. Plus, they’re a much healthier alternative than those dairy-free ice creams at the store, often filled with gums, stabilizers, and even added sugar that doesn’t do your body a whole lot of good.

These foods on the other hand, will give your body and taste buds something to really be excited about! The best part is, they require no ice cream maker whatsoever. The trick is to use your blender to make homemade ice cream, along with a few tips and tricks below.

1. Cashews

Cashews are one of the simplest foods to make non-dairy desserts with. Yes, they are high in fat, but their fats are healthy for you and are also effective at creating that silky smoothie ice cream texture you desire.

To make: Blend 1/4 cup soaked, raw cashews in a blender with 1 cup of your choice non-dairy milk, a sugar-free, natural sweetener such as stevia, perhaps a little cinnamon if you like, and even a dash of vanilla extract. Blend and freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray until frozen solid (about 8-12 hours.) Blend the frozen cubes in your blender with just a splash of non-dairy milk (a high-speed blender works best for this) and spoon out the ice cream with a spatula into a parfait glass. Serve and enjoy!

You can also make your own “cream” with cashews, since they have a mild, fatty, and very neutral flavor that works well in a variety of dairy-free recipes.

Try out The Best Raw Vegan Ice Cream Ever for another ice cream recipe using cashews in place of dairy.

2. Bananas

Everyone probably already knows how to make banana ice cream, but if not, it’s time you learn! The banana ice cream technique is a great way to prevent having to throw away bananas once they turn brown since the ripe ones make the best ice cream!

To make: Freeze some really ripe bananas into a baggie (peeled and then chopped or sliced.)  Once frozen (which takes about about a day), blend the frozen bananas in your blender or food processor with a splash of non-dairy milk and any flavorings such as vanilla, cacao, etc. Scoop the mixture out in your favorite ice cream bowl and enjoy!

You might also like this Effortless Nut Butter Ice Cream, which uses both bananas and cashews to create a delightful dessert. Or, if you’re into something more decadent, the Ultimate Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich can also be made using frozen bananas.

3. Avocados 

Ripe avocados are much like bananas in their ability to create a creamy, silky texture once frozen and blended. However, since avocados aren’t naturally sweet like bananas, you’ll need to add some healthy sweetener such as liquid stevia (vanilla flavored works great here.)

To make: Blend a peeled avocado (either in halves or slices) with 2 cups of your choice non-dairy milk, sweeteners of your choosing, a little vanilla, and some raw cacao powder or cocoa powder for a chocolate flavor. You could even add some acai berry powder, blueberries, and some goji berries for a berry-flavored dessert if you like. Get creative! Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray, let it freeze overnight (or 8 hours) and then blend the cubes with a little more non-dairy milk (a high speed blender works best here) and scrape out the mixture with a spatula into your favorite ice cream dish. Eat up!

You might also enjoy this raw chocolate mousse using avocado and cacao as the star ingredients!

4. Coconut Cream

Coconut cream can be found at any health food store, but it’s not the same as coconut butter or oil, so be sure to buy coconut cream. Coconut cream is like a mix between coconut butter and coconut milk. It’s sold in health food stores wherever canned coconut milk is sold, usually packaged in Tetrapack containers, and often made by organic suppliers. You can also use coconut milk if you like, but will need to refrigerate it overnight to let the cream separate from the liquid in the milk. Another option is to use fresh coconut cream, which you can scoop out from a whole, young white coconut. These can be found in the produce section if you’d like to go this route.

To make: Blend 2 cups of coconut cream in a blender with a cup of ice cubes (or frozen non-dairy milk ice cubes), a little vanilla, some stevia, and some cinnamon if you like. Once blended well, scoop into an ice cream bowl and serve!

Try out this Lavender Coconut Ice Cream, which is a delicious way to enjoy the benefits of coconut in your dairy-free desserts. Or, you might even try blending some coconut with a top secret ingredient to make a basic Coconut Ice Cream.

5. Pumpkin

In the mood for a little pumpkin pie spice ice cream? It’s so easy to make ice cream with! Just like bananas and avocados, pumpkin has that smooth, and slightly dense texture that’s perfect when blended to make ice cream.

To make: Just scoop out some pumpkin puree into some ice cube trays, freeze for 8 hours, and then blend 2 cups of the cubes with a cup of non-dairy vanilla milk. Add some liquid vanilla stevia, some pumpkin pie spice, and blend again (preferably in a high-speed blender.) Scoop out into your favorite ice cream dish and serve.

This amazing Pumpkin Ice Cream and Brownie Parfait is a great way to use your pumpkin ice cream. Also be sure to check out more of our favorite ways to use pumpkin if you’re craving even more pumpkin goodies!

*Bonus Tip*

For a really simple dairy-free dessert, you can also blend some  plant-based protein powder with some non-dairy milk, stevia, and a little vanilla. Freeze into an ice cube tray, and blend again in your blender once frozen with a little more non-dairy milk to get it going. Eat it as a thick milkshake or scoop it into a bowl to eat like ice cream. Check out some other yummy things you can do with non-dairy milk for more ideas.

As you can see, these desserts need no ice cream maker, though you could certainly use one if you like. To use your ice cream maker, just follow the directions above for each food, but pour the blended ingredients into your ice cream maker and skip freezing the ingredients into an ice cube tray and then blending again.

For more dairy-free inspiration, check out all our articles and tips on ways to ditch dairy for good.

What’s your favorite foods to make non-dairy desserts?

Image Source: Effortless Nut Butter Ice Cream

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