This Coconut Milk and Cashew Ice Cream is a healthier alternative to ice cream made with heavy cream, corn syrup, and sugar. It is sweetened with a little bit of honey and flavored with vanilla extract. I topped mine off with strawberries and pistachios, but you can use whatever you like as toppings. Either way, it is a delicious summer treat that you can easily make for your family.
This ice cream recipe was supposed to be published on National Ice Cream Day, which was on Sunday. I had written a fun and cheerful post about how much I love cashew-based ice cream and scheduled it to go live on the blog early in the morning. But then, on Friday night the coup happened in Turkey. I spent the whole weekend reading and watching the devastating news. Needless to say, I am very worried about what is to come for my country and its people.
Thankfully, my family and friends are fine, but we are all scared and saddened by what happened and is continuing to happen. No one knows what is next for Turkey’s future, but it is obvious that it will get worse before it gets better. I do not know why is it so hard to live in harmony and respect each others’ differences. All I can do at this moment is to hope and pray for a more tolerant, compassionate, and peaceful future for the world and humanity. Thanks so much to all of you, who reached out to check on me and my family’s wellbeing.
Quite honestly, while I was witnessing the most devastating thing that happened to Turkey in my adult lifetime, I couldn’t get myself to publish a cheerful post about ice cream. But as they say, Show must go on. We have to find courage to continue with our lives and do our best to find a way to produce and be useful in some shape or form. I believe that food has healing powers and it has a magical way of bringing people together. I hope that I can find courage in life and continue to contribute to this cause in my humble ways.
About this Cashew Coconut Ice Cream:
I have been using cashews in my cooking for over a year now. Though it has been a popular ingredient for centuries in South Asian and South American cooking, as veganism became popular in the western world, cashews started taking their place in the pantries of modern world cooks as well.
Originally from Brazil, they are rich in zinc, magnesium, and selenium. But what I love about them the most is the fact that they add a rich and creamy quality to sauces (just like in this Green Cashew Sauce), desserts (especially fillings and ice creams), and dressings. This ice cream recipe is made with a combination of soaked cashews and coconut milk. It is flavored with vanilla extract and sweetened with honey.
The recipe below assumes that you use a regular blender to blend cashews and coconut milk. You can use a food processor as well. However, just keep in mind that it may take a little longer for the cashews to be completely smooth.
If you have a powerful blender (like Vitamix), you can skip the straining part. Once you have the coconut-cashew mixture ready, bring it to a boil in a saucepan and let it simmer for 10 minutes. After that stir in the vanilla extract and honey.
Once it is completely chilled, all you have to do is to churn it in your ice cream maker. You can serve it immediately, or for a thicker and creamier consistency, let it freeze for 15 minutes in the freezer before serving.
I topped mine off with some fresh strawberries and crumbled pistachios, but you can use whatever fruit and nuts you have or eat it just by itself.
Either way, this homemade coconut milk and cashew ice cream is a delicious and healthier alternative to sugar and heavy cream loaded ice creams that are sold in supermarkets.
Coconut Milk and Cashew Ice Cream
- ¾ cup unsalted raw cashews soaked 2-6 hours in 2 cups water
- 2 cans unsweetened and full-fat coconut milk divided (13.5 – fluid ounce)
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons good quality honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth (or nut milk bag, if you have one). Place it over a medium-size bowl.
- Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in your blender*. Add in 1 ½ cans of coconut milk and salt and blend in the highest speed until completely smooth. Pour it into the strainer lined with cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard or compost any of the remaining solids. However, you should be left with a very little amount of solids. Stir in the remaining coconut milk.
- Transfer the mixture into a saucepan (with a tight fitting lid) placed over medium-high heat. Whisking frequently, bring it to a boil. Then cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent sticking.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and let it cool on the counter. Once it stops steaming cover it with a lid or stretch film and place in the fridge to cool completely.
- Churn chilled coconut mixture in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. It should take no more than 20 minutes for it to freeze.
- Transfer to a container and let it sit in the freezer for 15 minutes. Scoop into bowls and serve immediately.
- Any leftover ice cream can be stored in an airtight container and frozen. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is adapted (with minor changes) from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well cookbook.