Sweet and salty, this salted caramel nice cream gets its creaminess from cool and silky frozen bananas. It's a decadent dessert with no added sugar, no dairy and no ice cream maker needed to make this vegan soft serve ice cream.
Why you'll love this salted caramel nice cream with banana (vegan)
- Creamy - bananas make the creamiest nice cream ever.
- No churn - no ice cream maker needed!
- Easy - only 4 plant-based ingredients.
- Freezing optional - salty, sweet, smooth yet chunky. Eat the vanilla nice cream right out of the blender for soft serve, or freeze for a few hours and enjoy.
- Healthy - made up of high potassium bananas and fiber rich dates. It's also completely dairy free, sugar free and gluten free. A healthy vegan dessert.
Noteworthy ingredients and substitutions
- Frozen bananas - peel and freeze bananas before making your vegan ice cream. It's best to slice the bananas first but if you freeze them whole, let thaw slightly and slice before adding to the food processor. The less ripe the bananas, the less resistant starch and sugars develop making the banana nice cream easier to digest.
- Dates - I like to use Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water if dry. They have a nice sweetness to them and are readily available in most grocery stores. Dates provide a natural caramel flavor, and are high in antioxidants and fiber.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla and dates come together to make a decadent, smooth and creamy caramel, making this vanilla caramel nice cream an incredible dessert with no added sugar.
- Sea salt - adds just enough saltiness to elevate the flavor of the caramel.
See recipe card for all ingredients and quantities.
How to make creamy homemade caramel nice cream
- To start, make sure your bananas are frozen firm. If too hard, sit out for a few minutes before blending. If too soft, freeze longer. Also, if your dates have hardened and dried, pit the dates and soak in hot water for 10 minutes. This will moisten and plump them up. Chop evenly.
- Add the bananas, vanilla, chopped dates and sea salt to food processor or blender.
- Blend until smooth with chunky bits of dates, scraping down sides as needed. About 1-3 minutes.
Note: If you want a really smooth nice cream base with bigger chunks of dates, add the bananas and vanilla to the food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Then, add the dates and sea salt and pulse until well combined and chopped dates are mostly intact.
- Ready to eat if you like soft serve nice cream. Or, place in an airtight container, with a piece of parchment or plastic wrap pressed against the ice cream before adding the lid. Freeze for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Tips, tricks and variations
- Frozen bananas - Freezing bananas in slices makes them easier to cream.
- Soak dates - If your dates are dry, just soak for about 10 minutes in hot water to soften. Drain before using.
- Flaky salt - A sprinkle of flaky sea salt would really elevate this creamy banana nice cream. Perfect as a treat or a decadent dessert.
- Green bananas optional - Using semi-ripened green bananas will result in a less sweet nice cream recipe, but will be easier to digest as less resistant starches and sugars will develop in the banana.
- Creamy and chunky - Blend the bananas a little first before adding the rest of the ingredients to get that custard-like consistency. This allows the bananas to blend into a creamy texture, and the dates to remain a little chunky once they're added.
- Store - If there's leftovers, keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two weeks. To keep ice crystals from forming, press a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap tightly against the nice cream before adding the lid.
Freezing bananas properly will help to make the blending process easy. Peel and slice bananas in coins. Place the coins on a parchment lined baking tray and place in freezer. It will take a few hours for the banana slices to freeze so you may want to start this process the day before and freeze overnight. If they are too soft, they will not blend and cream well.
Either a food processor or high-speed blender work really well to make the vegan ice cream. I've made it in both and it's really personal preference. If your blender is not high-speed, I would opt for the food processor.
- Food processor or high-speed blender
- Freezer safe container
- Parchment paper or plastic wrap
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