Chocolate ice cream that's actually healthy? Yes, please. 


Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

If you've never made ice cream from frozen bananas, your life is about to change. How can something so simple be so absolutely delicious? All I can say is thank you to the genius who invented the freezer, as when ripe bananas meet cold temperatures, pure magic happens. They turn rich and creamy, and are an incredible base for homemade ice cream that will make you question why you ever needed the fat-sugar-chemical-laden storebought stuff in the first place.

I love a bowl of soft-serve banana ice cream before a morning yoga class, as a special afternoon treat, or as a nourishing dessert. Since I always have a bag of frozen bananas on hand (they transform my daily fruit smoothie into a dreamy shake), making a quick bowl of this wonder breakfast/snack/dessert can happen whenever I'm feeling the need for something luscious (let's just call that every day). And because bananas—which have the distinction of being the world's most popular fruit—are packed with potassium, fiber, and vitamin C, there is no guilt in this ultra-healthy pleasure.

Blending bananas with cacao powder, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and cayenne into a Mexican-inspired treat is my favorite way to eat this ice cream, but there are endless flavor possiblities. Think chai spice, mint chip, peach pecan, and chocolate cherry (I'll be sharing all of my favorite blends in future posts!). This recipe is easy to scale up, and would make a great base for a make-your-own sundae bar for kids or a party. I like to keep it simple and clean, but if I let my gourmet side go wild, I could top with fresh berries, toasted nuts, whipped coconut cream, or chocolate sauce. Hmmm, I'll save that for a special occasion and enjoy this Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream just as it is. Buen apetito!

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 2 frozen bananas, cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspooon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • Pinch sea salt

What you do:

  1. In a high-speed blender, place all ingredients.
  2. Starting at a low speed and working up to a high speed, blend ingredients until a creamy consistency.
  3. Serve immediately as a soft-serve ice cream, or freeze in a sealed container for a firmer, scoopable consistency.

Healthy hints:

  • >> I make my banana ice cream in a Vitamix (get hooked up with free shipping here!), my all-time favorite kitchen appliance. I actually purchased one of those new fruit soft-serve machines, tried it once, and returned it—my Vitamix did a better job, and it was much easier to clean.

  • >> Bananas should be frozen when brown spots start to appear and you can smell them ripening. You want them nice and sweet, but not too overripe! I fill ziplock bags with about a dozen bananas, and keep several bagfuls in the freezer.

  • >> I always use cacao (versus cocoa) powder, as it's raw, less processed, and packed with antioxidants. Cacao nibs are simply chopped-up cacao beans which add superb flavor and texture to ice creams, smoothies, and raw desserts.