What is Nice Cream?
Banana ice cream, also referred to as “nice cream,” is a super simple, plant-based version of healthy ice cream made with a base of just 1 ingredient: bananas!
It’s typically made in either a blender or food processor depending on the equipment available and your priorities (total time, hands-on time, quantity, etc.). This soft serve ice cream is even healthy enough to eat for breakfast – NO heavy cream or added sugars, and it is fat-free, dairy-free, vegan, raw, paleo, & gluten-free.
Tips for Success
- I typically use 1 frozen banana per person when making this healthy ice cream
- Use ripe, spotty bananas for best flavour/sweetness
- Peel and slice into 1/2-inch slices instead of large chunks, which can be more difficult to blend
- Freeze in a single layer to prevent large clumps (parchment paper on a baking sheet is the best way to prevent sticking to the pan!)
- If you’re having trouble blending, let the banana thaw for a few minutes. This will allow it to soften and become easier to blend. Alternatively, you could add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time of liquid (milk, almond milk, oat milk, water etc) to encourage blending. But be careful with this method as it’s the fastest way to get runny banana ice cream.
- For true “ice cream” texture vs. soft serve, simply spread into a Tupperware or loaf pan and freeze for 2-3 hours. Then scoop with an ice cream scoop! If too firm, let thaw 15-30 minutes to soften.
- This recipe is honestly taste as you go, so keep playing with combinations until you find one you like. The only clause is if you add liquid you don’t want to add too much or it will get runny.
The flavour options for banana ice cream are endless! For most flavours, you can simply add the flavours after the bananas have already been turned into “nice cream”:
- Vanilla (1 tsp vanilla extract). Hint: I typically add this to all my “nice creams” as a flavour base.
- Green Dream (1-2 tsp matcha + 1 tbsp maple syrup)
- Chocolate (2 Tbsp cocoa powder)
- Chocolate Nut Butter (2 Tbsp cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp nut or seed butter ie. tahini, almond butter, peanut butter etc)
- Peanut Butter (2-3 Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter or choice)
- Protein Packed (1 scoop protein powder + 2 tbsp water or milk of choice)
- Maple Walnut (1 – 2 tbsp maple syrup + ½ cup raw or toasted chopped walnuts)
But for the following flavours, add the fruit at the same time as the bananas:
- Strawberry (1 cup frozen strawberries)
- Double Chocolate (Add 1 tbsp mini chocolate chips per banana)
- Sea Salt Caramel (4-6 soaked pitted dates + healthy pinch sea salt)
Hint: You will notice that this is not as sweet as traditional ice cream, which I love, but if you want it sweeter you can add 1 tbsp of maple syrup for every 2-3 bananas to sweeten it up.
If you’ve ever been to an ice cream shop where you get to choose your toppings, you know there are so many different options! The same applies here.
Some of my favourite topping ideas include:
- Sliced fresh fruit (any will do but I love strawberry banana combo)
- Cacao nibs
- Nut butter
- Shredded coconut
- Toasted Nuts or Seeds (walnuts and bananas are a natural!)
- Slice and freeze bananas in a single layer on a tray for at least two hours.
- Place as many bananas in the food processor or blender that you want. Again, I use about 1 per person but depending on the size of your blender it is easier to do about 3 or 4 bananas at a time.
- If you are making a fruit based nice cream add your frozen fruit with your bananas and blend until you get the consistency you want. It should be like soft serve ice cream, smooth and creamy and may take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to reach this consistency. If you are finding it too clumpy, try adding 1-2 tbsp of liquid to your processor or blender and continue blending. I usually use water but you could add milk of any kind.
- Once you have reached the desired consistency add the additional flavours and either blend together for a more uniform consistency or just stir them in if you want it to be chunkier.
- If you are eating it right away scoop into bowls and serve with a topping of choice! Or place it into a loaf pan and freeze for up to 2 hours to get a harder, scoopable consistency. If you find it too hard to scoop just leave it out of the freezer for 10 minutes for it to soften.
- Most important step: Enjoy!!!