Ice cream doesn’t usually bring to mind the phrase “healthy dessert.” But what if you could have your ice cream and eat it too? Enter: nice-cream. A heavenly blend of fruit with just a touch of plant milk to bring it together. No added sugar. No fat. No artificial anything.
Mango is not only delicious; it is super-nutritious. Very high in vitamin C, good source of copper, folate and vitamin A, E and several B vitamins. Packed with polyphenols (antioxidants). Contains magnesium, potassium, and the antioxidant mangiferin, which all support healthy heart function. Mango has digestive enzymes, water, dietary fiber, and other compounds that aid various aspects of digestive health.
Banana is probably the cheapest fresh fruit you can buy. Provides a fair amount of fiber. Great source of potassium which helps regulate blood pressure. Like all fruit and vegetables, it contains antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage to your cells.
Unless you live in a tropical zone where ripe mangos are readily available, I recommend using frozen mango chunks. Frozen fruits and veggies are allowed to fully ripen and are frozen shortly after they’re harvested, which means they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as freezing “locks in” many of their nutrients.
Bananas should be just ripe (yellow all over) to very ripe (a few brown spots) so that they provide enough sweetness to your nice-cream.
For the nice-cream to come together you need a bit of liquid. I like soymilk, but you can use any plant milk or dairy milk you like. You need only about ¼ cup.
Vanilla extract adds a pleasant tropical smell that complements tropical fruits like mango and banana. By all means, get the real stuff, not an artificial vanilla flavoring. I am partial to Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract personally. It’s the best out there, hands down.
Maple syrup is optional. Bananas and mangos provide enough sugar so that you shouldn’t need to add a sweetener, therefore I suggest you try the recipe without it. The only time it might be necessary is when your bananas are on the low end of ripeness. Again, if you are using maple syrup, use the real stuff!
How to make mango nice-cream:
Slice and freeze your bananas ahead of time. They need at least one hour in the freezer, but overnight is better.
Do yourself a favor and use a food processor. With the possible exception of a professional style blender such as Vitamix, most personal smoothie blenders will not work as this recipe has very little liquid. You will either A. destroy it or B. become extremely frustrated.
It helps to process the fruit first to break it down into smaller pieces, then add the liquids. On the other hand, I’ve made this recipe placing all ingredients at once in the food processor and it worked just as well. Please make sure you stop periodically and scrape the sides down to mix evenly.
How to eat mango nice-cream
Once you are done blending, your nice-cream should have the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. If you can’t wait, eat it right away. If you like it more firm, place it in a freezer-safe container for a few hours. I love these special ice cream containers from Tovolo. Like any ice-cream, it is best to take it out of the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to soften before you attempt to scoop it out.
Top with anything that strikes your fancy. To keep in the tropical theme, coconut flakes or cacao powder are great additions. But if your child likes a gummy worm on it, who are you to stop him?
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- Peel bananas and slice them about 1/2" thick. Lay the slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place it in the freezer for a minimum of an hour until they are frozen.
- Place frozen banana and mango chunks in a food processor. Do not use a smoothie blender as it will not blend properly
- Once the fruit is crumbled, add soymilk or other plant milk and vanilla (and maple syrup if using). Process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides from time to time. The consistency should be thick like a soft serve ice cream.
- Eat immediately or transfer to a freezer safe container for future use. If freezing, take it out 15 minutes prior to eating to let it soften.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.