We found this beautiful, blush-hued treat on Simple-Veganista. The combination of cherries, dark chocolate, and whipped bananas is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping calories in check. Unlike conventional ice cream, this vegan ice cream has 60% less fat, no added sugar, and only 4 ingredients.
Cherry season only comes around once a year, so consider buying a little extra to freeze and use later. It’s a good idea to pit your cherries before freezing to make adding them to any future recipes a simple proposition.
As with banana bread, you’ll need fairly ripe bananas for this recipe. The bananas shouldn’t be completely black, but they should definitely be covered in brown speckles. Peel and cut your bananas into half-inch slices and freeze in a bowl. If you don’t cut the bananas before freezing, you may end up with unappetizing watery separation in your ice cream.
Chocolate chunks add a soft, satisfying crunch. I suggest roughly chopping a bar of plain, organic 70%+ dark chocolate with a chef’s knife. Avoid serrated knives as they’ll make your bar crumble into a fine chocolate dust. Even a straight edge will produce some chocolate dust, just save it to sprinkle on top of your ice cream later. When choosing your chocolate, make sure the only fat in the ingredients is cocoa butter. Also known as stearic acid, it’s one of the reasons dark chocolate is said to be heart-healthy.
Banana Cherry Chocolate Chunk Vegan Ice Cream
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Freeze time: 6 hours
- Total time: at least 6 hours and 15 minutes
- Serves: 5
- Sealable, freezer-friendly container
- Blender or a food processor
- Optional: cherry pitter if using fresh cherries
- Ice cream scoop
- 2 medium organic bananas, cut into quarter to half-inch slices and frozen
- 1 ½ cups of organic cherries, pitted and frozen
- Splash of unsweetened organic coconut milk, almond milk, or other non-dairy milk (hemp milk is great choice)
- ¼ cup of organic dark chocolate chunks, cacao nibs, or raw chocolate chips
- Add banana slices, 1 cup cherries, and a splash of the non-dairy milk to the blender or food processor.
- Blend until creamy, it should be a nice and even pink color.
- Scrape unblended ingredients down the sides as needed. You may need to add another splash of non-dairy milk to reach the desired consistency.
- Add in chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup cherries, pulse until combined.
- Freeze until solid, about 6 hours.
- Before serving, top with shaved dark chocolate, cacao nibs, raw chocolate chips, or your extra chocolate dust from earlier.
Health Benefits of Cherries, Chocolate, and Bananas
Not that you need an excuse to eat more cherries, but these stone fruits are powerful superfoods. Buy tart cherries when you can, they have higher levels of vitamin A, B, C, E, K, beta-carotene, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids than sweet cherries.[1, 2]
Cherries might also help you get a better night’s rest, as cherries have the highest known level of melatonin of any food. People have reported experiencing more restful sleep when they drink cherry juice concentrate. The particularly high concentration of phytonutrients and antioxidants in cherries make them ideal for muscle recovery after intense exercise.
Dark chocolate offers many health benefits and several studies published in the last two years have found it may even support brain health. Consuming the flavonoids in dark chocolate seems to have a positive influence on working memory, abstract reasoning, visual-spatial memory, and other measures of cognitive performance. A daily serving of cocoa flavanols may also sustain brain function in older adults. In one study, the subjects displayed clear improvements in executive function and semantic memory.
Bananas are a wonderful snack for everyone, but they’re especially beneficial for young children. Daily consumption of bananas (and apple juice) correlates with a lower incidence of asthma in children under the age of five. Bananas are a good source of potassium and a diet rich in potassium is associated with a lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, developing cardiovascular disease, and having a stroke. Preservation of bone density and kidney stone reduction are a few other perks of a high potassium diet.
I hope you enjoy this guilt-free indulgence! It’s delicious and the health benefits are a sweet bonus! Try it and let us know what you think!
- “Tart Cherries: Summary of Current Scientific Literature.” N.p.: National University of Natural Medicine, 2011. Web. 26 July 2016.
- Pigeon, Wilfred R., et al. “Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Medicinal Food 13.3 (2010): n.pag. Web. 26 July 2016.
- Krasovskaya, Valeriya, et al. Antioxidant Properties of Berries: Review of Human Studies and Their Relevance in the Context of the European Food Safety Authority. Amsterdam: n.p., 2012. 26 July 2016.
- Crichton, Georgina E., Merrill F. Elias, and Ala’a Alkerwi. “Chocolate Intake Is Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.” Appetite 100. (2016): 126–132. Web. 27 July 2016.
- Alonso-Alonso, Miguel. “Cocoa Flavanols and Cognition: Regaining Chocolate in Old Age?” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 101.3 (2015): 423–424. Web. 27 July 2016.
- Okoko, B J, et al. “Childhood Asthma and Fruit Consumption.” Original Articles: Allergy and asthma: from child to adulthood 29.6 (2007): 1161–1168. Web. 27 July 2016.
- LD, Megan Ware RDN. “Bananas: Health Benefits, Facts, Research.” Medical News Today. Medical News Today, 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 27 July 2016.