Vanilla Coconut Smoothie Bowl is like decadent creamy vanilla ice-cream that’s entirely plant-based and only takes 4 simple ingredients to make. Using real vanilla beans gives it a wonderful flavor and visual effect. Try it as dessert, snack or even breakfast.
Ice-cream for breakfast? Um, yes, please! This smoothie bowl truly is like ice-cream in every way. It’s thick, it’s creamy and it’s flavorful. Made with frozen bananas and real vanilla beans, it is naturally sweetened and speckled with beautiful black dots of vanilla. Its exquisite creaminess comes from full fat coconut milk that’s frozen as ice-cubes. I recently learned this wonderful smoothie bowl hack and it’s a true game changer!
While this bowl is not a low-calorie food, personally, I feel really good about eating it because it’s made with simple, natural ingredients, sweetened naturally with bananas AND it’s gluten and dairy-free. Serve it in a natural coconut bowl for a truly decadent and guilt-free dessert or snack.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Frozen Bananas: freeze the bananas when they’re ripe. Slice them or cut into chunks – it will make blending easier.
Canned Coconut Milk, Frozen: the best way to freeze coconut milk is to use full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s at room temperature and shake the can well. Open the can and pour into an ice-cube tray (a silicone ice-cube tray works best). Freeze overnight.
Unsweetened Almond Milk: you can also use any other unsweetened plant milk, such as coconut, soy or oat milk. Plant milk is used to help the frozen ingredients blend and to add extra creaminess.
HOW TO MAKE VANILLA COCONUT SMOOTHIE BOWL
STEP 1: Freeze bananas and coconut milk. It’s best to do this the night before or for at least 5 hours.
STEP 2: Get all ingredients ready. If you’re using a vanilla pod, scrape the beans out before taking the bananas and coconut milk out of the freezer. You want to make sure they are frozen solid before blending.
STEP 3: Blend, blend, blend. See my tips below on how to make a perfect smoothie bowl.
STEP 4: Add toppings and serve! Scoop the contents of your blender into a bowl (I love this coconut shell bowl) and top with your favorite fixings (I like toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips).
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SMOOTHIE BOWLS
Making a good smoothie bowl that’s thick and creamy can be a little tricky but there are a couple simple rules that will make it perfect every single time.
- Use a powerful blender. A good blender is essential for making your smoothie bowl thick and ice-cream like. Vitamix is my favorite for heavy duty blending but Ninja has a really nice blender with a smoothie bowl maker that works very well, too.
- Freeze the ingredients. This is key! If you freeze the fruit, vegetables and sometimes even liquids (like in this recipe), your smoothie bowl will stay perfectly thick and will not turn into a thin, watery smoothie.
- Start with a small amount of liquid and add more later, if needed. A little liquid goes a long way! You want just enough plant or dairy milk to help the blender process all the frozen ingredients. Even if it looks like the mixture is way too thick at the beginning, as you keep blending, it may turn out you actually had enough. I usually start with 1/3 plant milk and keep working until most of my ingredients are blended through. If it still looks crumbly and too thick, I will add a bit more milk.
- Place softer ingredients on the bottom of the blender jar.
- Be patient! Don’t assume you need more liquid if the mixture looks super thick at first. Just keep blending using a tamper and if needed, turn off your blender and stir the mixture to get anything that got caught under the blade. It will eventually become smooth and creamy.
CAN I MAKE THIS SMOOTHIE BOWL WITHOUT BANANA
Yes! You can’t really taste bananas in this smoothie bowl (coconut and vanilla dominate the flavor) but if you don’t want to use bananas, simply replace them with an additional can of coconut milk frozen in ice cubes. You will need to add some sweetener because most of the sweetness comes from bananas. Start by adding 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and only use ¼ cup of plant milk to start with. Since maple syrup is liquid, you want to make sure the smoothie bowl doesn’t get too thin.
HOW TO SERVE VANILLA COCONUT SMOOTHIE BOWL
This Vanilla Coconut Smoothie Bowl can be enjoyed in its own (especially when served in a super cute coconut shell) but let’s be honest: It’s all about the toppings! The possibilities are endless: try it with fresh fruit, nuts or chocolate.
Toppings that would go well with this smoothie bowl:
- Your favorite granola (great for breakfast!)
- Dark or milk chocolate chips (I like mini chocolate chips)
- Nuts (halved or chopped peanuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or sliced almonds)
- Shredded dried coconut, raw or toasted
- Fresh or dried fruit (sliced bananas, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, cherries or mangoes)
- Dark chocolate shell (melted dark chocolate with a bit of coconut oil)
- Seeds (hemp seeds or chia seeds)
No time to make it now? Pin it for later!
MORE GLUTEN AND DAIRY-FREE DESSERT RECIPES
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Smoothie Bowl
- Dark Chocolate Chickpea Blondies
- Avocado Raspberry Brownies
- Chocolate, Cherry & Banana Oatmeal Cookies
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Vanilla Coconut Smoothie Bowl is like decadent creamy vanilla ice-cream that’s entirely plant-based and only takes 4 simple ingredients to make.
2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1 can of full fat coconut milk, frozen in ice-cube tray (see note)
1/3–1/2 unsweetened almond or oat milk
1 vanilla bean pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean pasta or pure vanilla extract)
- The day before making the smoothie bowl (or earlier), freeze the bananas and coconut milk. Peel and slice the bananas, lay them out flat on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. Shake the can with coconut milk really well, open and pour into an ice cube tray. Place in the freezer overnight or until completely frozen.
- If using a vanilla bean pod, lay the pod on a cutting board and flatten with your finger. Make a slit in the middle of the pod lengthwise not cutting all the way through. Open the pod carefully and scrape the vanilla beans out with the back of the knife.
- Pour 1/3 cup almond or oat milk in a bowl of a high speed blender.
- Add bananas first, then coconut milk cubes and scraped out vanilla beans (paste or extract).
- Blend the mixture using the tamper to move the solids around. If needed, turn the blender off, stir and blend until smooth and ice-cream consistency, adding more plant milk, if needed.
- Serve immediately on its own or topped with toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips.
The best way to freeze coconut milk is to use full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s at room temperature and shake the can well. Open the can and pour into an ice-cube tray. Silicone ice-cube tray works best because it’s super easy to pop the coconut milk cube out when you’re ready to use them.
Vanilla beans from a fresh pod will give you the best results but if you don’t have one, use vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. 1 vanilla bean pod = 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or extract.
Go easy on the liquid! Start by adding 1/3 cup almond milk (or other plant milk) to the blender and blend with the frozen bananas and coconut milk cubes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time. If you add too much liquid right away, you’ll end up with a smoothie that’s not as thick as a smoothie bowl.
- Category: breakfast, dessert
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to make a vanilla coconut smoothie bowl, vanilla smoothie bowl, vanilla coconut smoothie bowl, dairy free smoothie bowl