Packed with a sweet, smooth flavor with just the slightest tart finish, this eye-appealing Cranberry Vanilla Bean Nice Cream is made with nothing more than frozen fruit and real vanilla bean. It’s low in sugar, completely fat-free, and rich in nutrients such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and manganese. Enjoy this as a healthy, fat-free and natural alternative to ice cream; you can make it in just minutes in your blender or food processor with no ice cream maker needed!
Well, we’re into a brand new year and I have to say, I’m ready for one, what about you? This year has been filled with a host of ups and downs. Family cancer scares which never seem to stop (more on that later), job changes, making hard decisions, celebrating successful personal triumphs, finally finding the answer to healing my gut, and so much more. I know many of you have also had your struggles this year along with many personal and professional triumphs. I think all of these call for a celebration, even those that weren’t so fun to go through at the time. They make us stronger, they give us perspective for the future, and they help us appreciate the better days even more.
And I can’t think of a healthier, tastier way to celebrate than this Cranberry Vanilla Bean Nice Cream! I even made this for my birthday on New Year’s Eve!:)
Plus, this month is Veganuary where more and more people trying eating vegan fare the month of January. So, I thought it would be nice to share a fun and easy vegan recipe with you to provide you with a fun, seasonal and cruelty-free treat to enjoy!
Have you heard of nice cream? It’s basically just dairy-free ice cream made from fruit that’s called nice cream because it’s cruelty-free meaning it has no dairy or other animal ingredients. Typically made with bananas since these sweet and starchy fruits transform instantly into ice cream once frozen and blended, nice cream can be made with almost any fruits you want such as berries, peaches, frozen apple cubes (also very good,) frozen watermelon or cantaloupe, frozen grapes, or even frozen greens with fruit added to make a smooth, ice cream-like consistency. For this recipe, I’ve used nothing more than cranberries, frozen bananas, and vanilla bean for a touch of decadent flavor!
Speaking of cranberries, I stocked up pretty heavily on these frozen seasonal delights this year since I’m a bit obsessed. I bet many of you have leftover cranberries from the holiday season too, am I right? If not, don’t fret. You can make this with any berry, but I figured I’d try them out in a super simple nice cream recipe that we can all enjoy a healthy dairy-free dessert!
Cranberries have a super tart taste with a sweet and rich finish, and the bananas will balance them out by providing a decadently smooth texture and super sweet flavor. Just be sure you use very ripe (heavily speckled) bananas since underripe bananas can be hard to digest and hurt your tummy. If the peel is a little tough to remove at the top of the banana, they’re not quite ripe yet! (You can also speed up the ripening process by placing them in a bag with an apple overnight or for a day or two.)
I like to blend my frozen bananas first, then add the cranberries and blend again. You can stir the vanilla bean in last like I did, use as a topping or blend them in with the cranberries. Either will work. I used my Vitamix S30 for this recipe, but you can use any high-speed blender or a food processor to make this!
Feel free to use frozen or fresh cranberries in this recipe, or you can even use another type of frozen berry if you don’t happen to have cranberries on hand.
Cheers to a beautiful, yet light dessert that’s not only good to your body but also cruelty-free!
- 2 chopped, frozen bananas (about 2 cups worth), frozen at least 12 hours
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cranberries plus extras for topping
- tiny pinch (1/8 tsp.) real vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean extract
- 1-2 tsp. water (or non-dairy milk) to help the bananas blend better.
- Toppings: additional cranberries or other berries, sprinkle of vanilla, buckwheat groats, etc.
- Add the frozen bananas and water to your high speed blender or a food processor first. (It's best to break them down before adding the cranberries.)
- Process (or blend) until you get an ice cream like consistency (about 20-30 seconds). Use the tamper if using the Vitamix, and if you're using a food processor, you may need to stir in between.
- Stop the machine and add the cranberries.
- Process/blend again just enough to break them down but where there are still small pieces of cranberry specks. This provides a pretty color!
- Scrape the nice cream into a bowl, parfait glass, and top with vanilla bean or extract, then stir in. (You can also leave the vanilla bean on top as a pretty topping or just mix it in when blending the cranberries.)
- Top with additional cranberries if desired.
- You can also cover and freeze this for later use. Feel free to make multiple servings for instant nice cream in your freezer whenever you want it!
- If you're using a Vitamix, use the tamper and be sure not to leave the water/non-dairy milk out which will help it break down the bananas a little easier.
- Feel free to sub in other frozen berries in place of the cranberries, but do give them a try if you have any on hand. They're excellent!
Nutritional highlights of this recipe:
- Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants that combat inflammation and reduce the risks of bacterial infections in the kidneys and intestinal tract. They’ve also been shown to prevent the H. pylori virus and enhance heart health by improving arterial flow. Cranberries are also extremely low in sugar (if that’s a concern) with only 2 grams per 1/2 cup. Plus, they have 2 grams of fiber per cup and are completely fat-free!
I like the Whole Foods brand of frozen organic cranberries which are sold near the acai packs in the freezer aisle usually in the freezer door section away from the other types of berries and fruits. They’re available from August through February in most stores. Stock up while you can!
- Bananas are one of the best foods for your nerves, heart, and muscles. High in potassium (as most of you know), bananas are also a wealth of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and prebiotic fiber to feed good gut bacteria. They’re one of the best foods to relax your nerves, reduce high blood pressure, enhance muscle contractions, and aid in digestion so long as they’re ripe. While high in sugar, a banana a day is a great addition to your healthy regime. Just be sure they’re speckled so they don’t give you a tummyache!
- Vanilla Bean is packed with magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin B6. Out of over 200 varieties of orchids known to man, only one type produces the vanilla bean! They’re also rich in nervous system-boosting benefits that improve blood pressure and overall nervous system function. Finally, vanilla bean is one of the most classic foods to increase the libido and boost your mood. In smoothie and porridge recipes, they help increase the sweetness and add a special touch without the need for any refined sugar whatsoever!
I buy raw vanilla bean powder which lasts almost 6 months in my pantry since I use very little per recipe. Be sure to buy USDA certified organic brands if possible.
Tip: You can also split this into two mini servings and store in the freezer for ice cream at your disposal whenever you want!:)
What’s your favorite flavor of nice cream?