It Takes a Vegan Village: A Compendium of Quick Vegan Ice Creams

by Maria Theresa Maggi on July 24, 2016

banana strawberry basil soft serve

If you’re as old as I am, you might have the memory of hanging out on a front porch on a sweltering summer day waiting for the ice cream truck to round the corner. The desultory arguments about how to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” would melt in a milisecond as we all hit the pavement at top speed to beg for change from our moms to buy a creamy treat.

It hasn’t been sweltering very much here in Portland so far this summer, but that hasn’t kept me from wanting to make good use of my frozen banana stash. Much as I love my classics Banana “Caramel” Ice Cream Sundae and Melting Drumstick Dessert, I was on the lookout for something a little bit different.

That’s when I had the good fortune to find my good friend Cathy Fisher’s  facebook post strawberry banana basil ice cream. If you follow her wonderful blog Straight Up Food like I do, you know she works wonders with simple whole food, making delicious plant-based creations all without oil, salt or sugar. Cathy has taught me a lot about how to simplify my meals and still make them delicious. She’s one of my favorite people and vegan food bloggers, and I always enjoy seeing the dinner plates she posts on facebook nearly every night.  I was intrigued by the flavor combination of this unusual vegan ice cream, and decided to give it a try. You can see her enticing photo and get her recipe here.

I was impressed that Cathy’s ice cream looked so creamy yet was not made in an ice cream maker. But, like my other good plant-based blogger friend Lee, over at Veggie Quest, I didn’t want to wait the two hours required to freeze the blended mixture.  Lee had me laughing out loud and screaming for ice cream in her post Five Minute Vegan Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream, in which she promises a “scrumptious soft serve that tastes like cherry sorbet and chocolate ice cream had a baby.” Once you stop laughing at her great way with words, head on over to her blog and see the mouth watering photos and get the nearly instant recipe.

Inspired by the five minute technique, I decided I would try to adapt Cathy’s banana strawberry basil recipe to fit in that nearly instant mode. It isn’t quite as creamy as the original recipe must be, but the flavor combination would have truly knocked my  socks off if I had been wearing any. I tweaked the ingredients a little based on what I had, so I only used a splash of non-dairy milk. I also added a splash of lime juice to make the flavors pop, and a single deglet date. I think it’s my new favorite soft serve dessert, and that’s saying a lot from a woman who usually requires her banana soft serve be covered in fudgy homemade carob sauce. This banana strawberry basil wonder needs no such topping to taste truly amazing. All the complexity of flavor is wrapped right into the soft serve.

Banana Strawberry Basil Vegan Soft Serve

banana strawberry basil soft serve

the equivalent of one frozen banana, broken into pieces

heaping 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1 deglet date, chopped

a few fresh basil leaves

a splash of lime juice

a splash of non-dairy milk (I used homemade hazelnut milk)

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and wait a few minutes. Turn it on and whir it up until it’s the consistency of soft serve. Spoon it into a dish and enjoy!

Thank you, Cathy, for inspiring me to try a new flavor combination I would never have thought of without your recipe. (Cathy’s patience results in pieces of basil you can actually see without a microscope, so you might want to try her method over mine. Patience pays off.) And thanks Lee, for goading me on in my impatience about not wanting to wait more than five minutes to try this new combo out. When I get around to having some frozen cherries, your chocolate cherry vegan treat is going to have a carob flavored cousin!

And because three’s the magic number, I’m also sending you to The Full Helping’s 10 minute Raw, Vegan Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream. Gena’s recipes are a constant source of inspiration for me; this one is true blue evidence of that. Now that I am lucky enough to have 5 quarts of u-pick blueberries in my freezer, you can bet I am going to whip up a version of this one, too.

Memory sketch of blueberries about to get "tickled" into the bucket on Sauvie Island

Memory sketch of blueberries about to get “tickled” into the bucket on Sauvie Island

If you don’t follow these three wonderful ladies and their blogs, you are missing out. Hop on over and subscribe. It truly does take a vegan village to help keep us all healthy and inspired, and resplendent with frozen summer treats!

Maria (moonwatcher)

ps: And look what I just made with a large peach, 1/4 cup of homemade hazelnut milk, about two teaspoons of good vanilla and a splash of freshly ground nutmeg and powdered ginger:

peach and cream slushie

Peach and Cream Slushie

I whirred it all up in the food processor and then let it freeze to slushie consistency–about 3 hours in my freezer. It takes a bit longer than 5 or 10 minutes, but it sure hit the spot.

Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lee July 25, 2016 at 6:41 am

Maria, this strawberry-basil soft serve looks so good! I’m going to swap the banana for frozen mango (can’t have bananas, so unfair) and make it soon, because I have all the other ingredients on hand. Woo hoo! And of course, thanks for the hat-tip; it made my day!

Also, speaking of laugh out loud, I loved your phrase: “…the flavor combination would have truly knocked my socks off if I had been wearing any.” So perfectly summer and hilarious! 😀


2 Maria Theresa Maggi July 25, 2016 at 8:48 am

Thanks, Lee! And I love the idea of swapping frozen mango for the banana. This is what I love about this blogging process–the kind of creative innovation it inspires, so each person can make a recipe according to their needs. Glad I made you laugh, too. Your sense of humor is contagious! 🙂


3 Cathy July 25, 2016 at 8:16 am

Great post Maria! 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, and glad you enjoyed the ice-cream!


4 Maria Theresa Maggi July 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

Thank YOU Cathy–:) Couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂


5 Gena July 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Maria, thank you so much for including me in your “village”! I love the work of all of the bloggers you named, so it feels like a big treat to have been included among them — thank you so much for that.

And, every single concoction you named sounds wonderful — including that PS at the end! I’m actually not a big stone fruit lover (except in pie!), but I do love peach when it’s combined with ginger.



6 Maria Theresa Maggi July 25, 2016 at 8:31 pm

You’re welcome, Gena! I’ve had my eye on that blueberry ginger ice cream of yours for some time now, so I welcomed the chance to point it out. 🙂 I’m glad these appeal to you. I tend to shy away from stone fruits because too many of them don’t agree with my digestive abilities, but I agree, peach and ginger are a wonderful combo. I was surprised how much like my slushie! Glad it looked good to you too. 🙂


7 Nicole O'Shea September 2, 2016 at 7:16 pm

so much deliciousness all on one page!


8 Maria Theresa Maggi September 2, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Thanks Nicole! 🙂


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