The Veggie Table: Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Make homemade ice cream dairy free by substituting coconut milk for milk or cream.
By: Janel Ovrut Funk
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I scream, you scream, we all scream for…non-dairy ice cream? If you don’t do dairy like me, you may be looking for other cool treats to eat in the dog days of summer. Fortunately, grocery stores now carry a plethora of non-dairy frozen desserts using rice, soy, almond, or coconut milk, and a refreshing fruit sorbet is always dairy free. But ever since I purchased an inexpensive ice cream machine, I’ve been churning my own and the flavor possibilities are endless.

I’ve been starting with a simple vanilla base using light canned coconut milk. It’s rich, creamy, and mild, without that tropical coconut flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans light coconut milk*
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. Then, follow your ice cream maker’s instructions.

*You can also swap out the coconut milk for a thick soymilk like Silk or even soy creamer.

Some of my favorite summer flavors include:
  • Cookies ‘n Cream – Crush about 25 chocolate sandwich cookies before adding them into the vanilla base while churning.
  • Coffee – add one cup of strong coffee, chilled, into the vanilla base before churning.
  • Blueberry Cinnamon – Towards the end of churning, mix in one cup of fresh blueberries and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Chop four Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars into small pieces. Add Larabar bits and ½ cup of dark chocolate chips into the vanilla base while churning.
  • Peanut Butter – Blend one cup of smooth peanut butter into the vanilla base in using a stand or hand blender. Scoops of peanut butter ice cream can be jazzed up with a drizzle of chocolate syrup, or some fresh strawberry slices on top for a peanut butter and “jelly” flavor.

Ice cream machines also easily make refreshing fruity sorbets, like this two-ingredient Pink Grapefruit Sorbet. Don’t have an ice cream machine? Don’t worry! You can try these delectable sorbet recipes without one.

TELL US: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Janel Ovrut Funk, MS RD LDN, loves experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking. Read her food blog, Eat Well with Janel , and follow her on Twitter @DietitianJanel .  Catch up on her previous posts here .

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