Strawberry Ice Cream – vegan & gluten free

I think I’ve teased you long enough.

I’m finally sharing my recipe for vegan Strawberry Ice Cream. Even though I was allergic to strawberries and dairy for most of my childhood, it’s one of those dishes that just screams “summer!” to me, along with peach crisp, tomato salad, and grill pizza. It’s not so early in the growing season that strawberries are so precious that each one is savored raw, and “how-dare-you-even-suggest-that-I-could-get-sick-of-these!” is a common thought when reading recipes that cook down pints of them. It’s full on Summer, which means beautiful, full-flavored strawberries are everywhere, and it becomes hard to keep up with Mother Nature.

Mr Official Taster was certainly happy for me to give this a whirl, and he likes it better than my vegan sangria fruit ice cream. (I like that one better from a economic/fully use your food point of view, but this recipe is more practical for the everyday). In many ways, my vegan jam ice cream is my favorite frozen creation, but I can understand not wanting to give up/sacrifice/repurpose yummy jam.

ANYWAY, this jam is fairly simple to put together. The hardest part is remembering to plan for 4-5 hours of chilling time for the base and to already have your ice cream maker bowl frozen. I try to keep my in the freezer in case the ice-cream-making mood strikes, but sometimes actual food takes precedence in the space wars.

So go ahead, celebrate summer with this yummy vegan (and gluten free, of course) strawberry ice cream. What dishes scream summer to you? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Strawberry Ice Cream – vegan & gluten free

I have successfully halved this recipe, so if you don’t want the temptation of an entire batch, know that it works. Want to add some yummy bits to the ice cream? Add things like chocolate chips or graham crackers in the last five minutes of processing. If you don’t need to worry about dairy, white chocolate chips seem like they would be delicious. When I made this recipe, I didn’t use the cornstarch the original added, and I also didn’t add any liquid sweetener. I liked it just fine. It wasn’t super sweet, so if you’d like more sweetness, please add it in.

2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey, although I found I did not need the extra sweetness of either option)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 dry pint (2 cups) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (I think an equal or smaller amount of honey would work instead, though I haven’t tried it)

Make sure your ice cream maker’s bowl is thoroughly chilled per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Shake the cans of coconut milk thoroughly to combine before opening. Combine the coconut milk, agave (if using) and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat until all of the ingredients combine smoothly and the mixture is uniformly warmed, about 2 minutes.

Scrape the vanilla bean into the mixture and slip in the pod as well (or add vanilla extract). Cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not to allow the mixture to boil.

Remove the pot from the heat, discard the vanilla bean pod, and pour the coconut base into a bowl. Cool on the counter for 30 minutes, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours — you really do need the base to be very cold before you process it in the ice cream machine.

While the base is cooling, make the strawberry sauce. Mash the strawberries down in a small to medium saucepan. Sprinkle in the sugar and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the berries start to lose their shape and become juicy. Remove from the heat and cool on the counter for a bit. Once slightly cool, blend in a food processor or blender, or with an immersion blender, for just a few seconds until a thick sauce forms (it will be somewhat jammy in consistency). Set aside (or stick in the fridge until you’re ready to go).

Churn the coconut ice cream base and strawberry sauce in your ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions. I’ve never found coconut ice cream to get really hard in a machine – it’s always a bit like soft serve in consistency. Enjoy immediately or spread the ice cream into a large loaf pan (or pie pan) and freeze for a few more hours (or overnight) until the ice cream has firmed up completely. Mine froze super hard, so you may need to take it out 10 minutes or so before you’d like to serve it.