Chocolate Cherry Nice Cream is so smooth and creamy, you won’t miss traditional ice-cream! Made with only bananas, cherries, chocolate and vanilla, this is a healthy vegan alternative to regular dairy ice-cream. If you like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia flavor, you will love this recipe!
Why this recipe works
- It is way healthier than traditional ice-cream made with cream and sugar.
- It’s dairy-free, refined-sugar free, oil-free, vegan and paleo.
- Made with only a few simple ingredients.
- Nice cream has a texture and creaminess of ice-cream but it’s essentially only made with fruit and a couple mix-ins.
- It’s a fun, kid-friendly frozen dessert that won’t disappoint when you crave ice-cream.
- The cherry chocolate combo is just the best!
What is nice cream?
Nice Cream is essentially healthy ice-cream but made with no cream. The base of nice cream is usually blended frozen bananas with or without add-ins. It’s amazing how much frozen dessert made with only bananas tastes and feels like ice-cream. If you haven’t tried making it yet, think no more!
- Frozen Bananas: I recommend using ripe bananas with lots of brown spots on the skin. Overripe bananas equal best flavor and sweet nice cream. Just peel them, slice and freeze on a flat surface, such as a cookie sheet.
- Frozen Cherries: I buy mine at Trader Joe’s but most grocery stores carry pitted frozen cherries.
- Vanilla: I like to use vanilla bean paste because I like the look and feel of black vanilla beans in the nice cream. If you don’t have the paste, use real vanilla extract.
- Dark Chocolate: use good quality chocolate with high cacao content. I like dark chocolate from Lindt.
- Milk: use any unsweetened plant milk (almond, coconut, soy, oat) or cow’s milk to help blend the nice cream.
How to make chocolate cherry nice cream
Step 1: Freeze the ingredients. Bananas and cherries need to be completely frozen before blending. Freeze bananas in slices for at least a couple of hours.
Step 2: Chop cherries and chocolate. Frozen cherries are quite soft and easy to slice. Roughly chop the chocolate on a cutting board. Place both cherries and bananas in the freezer until ready to be added.
Step 3: Blend the bananas. Place all banana slices in the food processor (or standup blender) with vanilla and a bit of plant milk. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping the engine and scraping the sides, if needed.
Step 4: Incorporate mix-ins. Add frozen cherry and chocolate pieces and pulse just a couple times to fold. If you blend too much, the mix-ins will lose their texture and you will end up with a smoothie bowl.
Step 5: Freeze it! Pour the mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment or wax paper and cover the surface of nice cream with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for at least 4 hours, then scoop and enjoy!
Storage and serving tips
Store nice-cream in the loaf pan covered with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. You can also transfer nice cream to an airtight container. Either way, you can store it in the freezer for a couple months (up to 3 months).
Serve nice cream like you would traditional ice-cream – in a cone or in bowls. When you first take it out of the freezer, it may be quite hard so give it a couple minutes to soften before scooping. I like serving mine in a bowl with an additional square of chocolate.
Yes! Since it’s only made with bananas and a bit of plant milk, there is no fat or added sugar in this frozen dessert.
If you like the texture of soft serve ice-cream, then yes! This nice cream will have similar texture to soft serve or a very thick smoothie right after blending. Personally, I prefer to freeze it for 4 hours and scoop into a bowl.
Yes! For best blending results, I recommend using banana slices but you can actually easily slice frozen bananas because they are still relatively soft. Just slice them on a cutting board using a sharp knife and you’re good to go!
Yes it is, as long as you use plant milk as your liquid and dairy-free chocolate. I usually go for unsweetened almond milk but any plant milk will do. For extra creamy nice cream, try full fat canned coconut milk.
Yes. I find that food processor does the best job blending frozen bananas with minimal liquid but it’s also possible to make it in a powerful standup blender. Just be patient, add a little more milk, if needed (1 tablespoon at a time) and stop the blender to stir and scrape the sides until you end up with the right consistency.
Yes but the texture of the nice cream will be different. Chocolate chips are rounded and rather large. When frozen, they may become too hard. Chopped chocolate provides a nice crunch and adds a lot of chocolaty texture to each spoonful of nice cream. If you want to use chocolate chips, I’d go for the mini ones. Cacao nibs will also work.
No. All ingredients should be frozen (chocolate can be chilled). If fresh cherries is all you have, pit them and freeze for at least 1 hour on a flat surface before making nice cream.
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Chocolate Cherry Nice Cream
- 4 cups sliced bananas frozen
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- ½ bar dark chocolate
- 3 tablespoons plant milk
- Chop the chocolate and frozen cherries into pieces. If you are not making the recipe immediately, place the chocolate and cherries in the freezer until ready to use.
- Place the frozen banana slices in the bowl of a food processor with vanilla and 3 tablespoons of cold plant milk. Process until smooth and creamy.
- Add chopped chocolate and frozen cherries and pulse a couple times until just incorporated.
- Enjoy immediately or transfer into a metal loaf pan, smooth out the surface and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 hours, then remove the plastic wrap, leave for a couple minutes at room temperature to thaw slightly before scooping out with an ice-cream scoop.