Perfect Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream

Enjoy simple and satisfying vanilla ice cream, plant-based style! Our recipe uses only four ingredients and the vanilla bean can be swapped for nuts or berries to make just about any flavor you can imagine! Have fun experimenting, and remember to share with friends!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cashew milk*
  • 2/3 cup date sugar, finely ground**
  • 2 vanilla beans***
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • PREP TIME 60
  • COOK TIME 0
  • Serves 6

Directions

  1. Add cashew milk, date sugar, vanilla beans, and xanthan gum to a high-speed blender and blend until well combined.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled through, at least a couple hours (optional if using ice cream maker).
  3. Once chilled, pour into pre-chilled ice cream maker**** and follow maker’s directions.
  4. Serve once ice cream reaches a smooth consistency.

 

NOTE: This recipe may be used as a master to help you create almost any flavor ‘ice cream’ you can imagine (just omit vanilla beans).

For example, for nut-based ice cream (e.g. peanut butter, pistachio, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread) add 1 cup nut butter (no salt, sugar or oil added) or spread to the mix and blend until well combined.  Proceed with recipe as directed.  For strawberry or raspberry ice cream, puree 1 pound berries, 6 tablespoons date sugar (or 3 tablespoons raw cane sugar/sucanat), and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.  Purée should be more sweet than tart.  Stir purée into the pre-blended base before chilling (for strawberries) or churning (for raspberries).

 

*1 cup soaked raw cashews and 3 cups of water blended in a high-speed blender, then poured into a mixing bowl through a nut milk bag.

**An equal amount of date paste also works, but it will change the final consistency of the ‘ice cream’ (date paste has more water in it, and the final dessert will be more like a sorbet).  If using raw cane sugar or sucanat, decrease the amount to 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. Always ground dried sweetener using a coffee grinder or small high-speed blender.

***Vanilla beans should be sliced in half lengthwise and seeds scraped down the sides.  Add seeds and pods to blender.

****I use a Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker, but a more economical option is one of Cuisinart’s Ice Cream Makers. The main difference is that the Breville maker has a built-in compressor (and it only takes 5 minutes to pre-chill the churn bowl) while the Cuisinart maker requires an overnight ‘freeze’ of its churn bowl.  The Breville maker also allows you to select your desired consistency (for sorbet, gelato and ice cream).  If you do not want to use an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze. You may need to check the amount of time it will take for the ice cream to reach the desired consistency.

Whether you use an ice cream maker or not, once the ice cream is frozen, it will be very hard to scoop.  You should move the ice cream container to the fridge an hour or two before you plan to serve it (or leave it on the countertop for about 30 minutes), and the consistency will be similar to when the ice cream first came out of the maker.  My preference is to use paper ice cream pint containers (each recipe makes 1 1/2 pints).  They will freeze and thaw more evenly, and it is easy to ‘give away’ ice cream to family and friends as you experiment with new flavors!