Summer time screams ice cream, but of course now that I’m plant-based, regular ice cream is a no go. Yes there are now vegan ice creams you can get at the store, but they are loaded with fat and sugar, which while plant-based is not HEALTHY. Which is the goal of being WHOLE FOOD plant based! This Nutella inspired “nice” cream is no churn and doesn’t require a special machine – just a good high speed blender!
Soak your hazelnuts & blend separately
I saw this recipe from Dr. Fuhrman, but after I made it I had to make adaptations to it. My Vitamix motor started making a burning smell, so that’s not good! I changed up the order the ingredients are added and even soaked the hazelnuts for a while, instead of just throwing everything in at once. You’ll want to keep the blender on low for a while once you add the frozen bananas, so it will break them up without heating up the motor. Then gradually increase the speed, using the plunger (if you have a Vitamix) to push down the ingredients. Or stop and use a spatula to push down the ingredients as needed.
Freeze banana chunks ahead of time
Frozen bananas are the healthy base and why it’s called “nice” cream because it is nice and healthy for your body!
First, you will want to have frozen bananas at the ready. That’s really the only advance prep you are going to have to do ahead of time. Make sure you choose ripe bananas that are already starting to brown on the outside – they will be much sweeter! Peel the bananas, break into chunks (at least thirds), throw in a ziplock bag, and freeze over night.
Once you try this recipe, you are going to want to keep a big stock of frozen bananas on hand all the time! Plus, you can use frozen bananas, dates, & milk as the base of any “nice” cream recipe, as Dr. Fuhrman calls it. You can add any other fruit to flavor it – berries, cherries, peaches, mango – the sky’s the limit on combinations!
You can also use different kinds of nuts, like cashews, pecans, macadamia, but I really like the hazelnuts because it’s kind of like a Nutella Ice Cream!
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Make sure your hazelnuts haven’t gone bad
My other tip – and this is an important one – is to make SURE your hazelnuts are fresh. If you are buying them in bulk, taste them first if possible. I bought a batch at Kroger one time, didn’t taste them, and threw them in the recipe and found out very quickly that they were rancid and I had to throw the whole recipe away. You will know if they are bad by tasting one first.
I tried to buy them in bulk recently at Whole Foods, but they were out so I had to settle with a sealed plastic container and hope for the best. I tasted them when I got home and they were good! Nuts can be expensive, so if they are bad, just return them. Hazelnuts aren’t as popular as other nuts like cashews and walnuts, so they tend to sit on shelves longer so you have to be more careful.
Cut your dates in to chunks
Lastly, I always cut my dates into quarters. I do this to check for any pit fragments and also to help them blend easier. The last thing you want is to have pit fragments in your creamy ice cream! I use the less expensive California Fancy dates, instead of the Medjool Dates. You can usually find them in bags near the raisins in most grocery stores.
No churn, but gotta have a high powered blender
You will definitely need a high powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. I have made “nice” cream with my old Ninja Professional, but I didn’t put hazelnuts in it, so I can’t promise it will be super smooth and creamy, but that is a cheaper way to go instead of a regular blender which the motor will probably burn out from the frozen bananas on the first try….
If you are at the beginning of your whole food plant based journey, know that you will not regret investing in a good high-powered blender. I use my blender almost every single day and sometimes more than once! I really enjoy my Vitamix – I was hesitant about getting one at first because of the cost, but I can hands down tell you it is worth it and you really don’t know what you are missing until you get one! No more raspberry seeds stuck in the teeth or tiny chunks of nuts remaining. It’s also super easy to clean by blending half a container of warm water & drop of dish soap. Rinse with warm water and it’s ready to go again!
If you are looking at saving money check out refurbished models on Amazon – they are as good as new!
Freeze to firm up
After you finish blending your ice cream, you will probably want to enjoy it right away, but it will be a little thinner consistency like a mousse. Or you can freeze it to firm it up a bit. Because it doesn’t have a high fat content like regular ice cream, it will get really hard, but then you can just thaw it a bit in your microwave for about 30 seconds on defrost.
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear your comments below!
You might also like:
Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream
- High powered blender like a Vitamix
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
- 1/4 cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 frozen ripe banana chunks
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 fancy dates (or 2 medjool dates), pitted & quartered
- Place milk & hazelnuts in a high powdered blender and let soak for 15 minutes. Then blend until nuts are pureed.
- Add the rest of the ingredients & blend until smooth and creamy.
- You can serve right away – it may be a little thinner or you can freeze until it is a little more firm.
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