It’s getting hot here in Arizona and what better way to cool off than with a big bowl of this Easy Homemade Vegan Ice Cream? I love ice cream. In fact, it’s one of my favorite desserts. Unfortunately the milk and cream in it leave me feeling bloated and not-so-great. And the dairy free options at the grocery store are expensive and loaded in added sugars and additives. That’s why I decided to create my own.
First, I bought a super simple inexpensive ice cream churner. I got the small Cuisinart one on Amazon.
My favorite non dairy ice cream has a cashew milk base so I decided to make my own using some raw organic cashews from Costco. I soaked them in hot water for 30 minutes, rinsed and blended them.
For sweetness I didn’t want to use refined sugar so I used medjool dates. They blend easily and make a perfect sweetener/thickener.
The Health Benefits of Cherries
The star of the show here are the cherries. I bought unsweetened organic dark frozen cherries at Sprouts.
Cherries are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and other nutrients and antioxidants and have some fabulous health benefits:
- First they are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which protects against chronic disease. In fact one review found that eating cherries reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 studies and markers of oxidative stress in 8 out of 10 studies.
- Tart cherries boost recovery after exercise and reduce muscle soreness in athletes.
- Improves aerobic performance
- May improve heart health
- May reduce symptoms of arthritis
- Eating cherries lowers uric acid in the body which can reduce symptoms of gout
- They contain melatonin which has been shown to improve sleep quality
These are all great reasons to add cherries to your diet. In my easy homemade vegan ice cream, I blend the cherries in with the other ingredients and then add chopped cherries in at the end for a real one-two-punch!
Easy Dairy Free Ice Cream: Cherry Cashew
- Ice Cream Maker / Churner
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 4 cups filtered water
- 4 cups frozen tart cherries Separate 1 cup and chop
- 1 cup medjool dates
- 1 tbs vanilla powder or vanilla bean paste
- First soak your cashews overnight in a jar filled with water. Alternatively, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes. Then rinse and drain.
- Place soaked cashews, water, 3 cups frozen cherries, 1 cup medjool dates and 1tbs vanilla in a high speed blender (I use a vitamix.) Blend until smooth.
- Pour mix into a glass container (I used a few large mason jars) and put in the fridge overnight. Your mix needs to be ice cold to work in the ice cream churner. Sometimes I even throw mine in the freezer for an hour or two to make sure it's frosty.
- Make sure the bucket of your ice cream churner is frozen solid (I store mine in the freezer so when I need it, it's good to go.) Pour in your ice cold ice cream mix. Turn the ice cream maker on and churn about 10 minutes or until it turns into soft serve. Right before it's done, pour in your last cup of chopped cherries.
- You can eat it like soft serve or place in a container (use a wide container that you can scoop out of) and return to freezer for a few hours for firm set ice cream.
- If your ice cream gets too hard in the freezer, just let it sit out about 20 minutes before serving.
Molecules. 2010. Cherry Antioxidants: From Farm to Table.
Nutricion Hospitalaria. 2015. Consumption of Cherries as a strategy to Attenuate Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Inflammation in Humans.
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016. Effects of powdered Montmorency tart cherry supplementation on acute endurance exercise performance in aerobically trained individuals.
European Journal of Sports Science. 2019. Montmorency Tart Cherry (Prunus Cerasus L.) Supplementation Accelerates Recovery From Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Females.
Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease. 2012. Evidence for a protective effect of polyphenols-containing foods on cardiovascular health: an update for clinicians.
Journal of Nutrition. 2003. Consumption of Cherries Lowers Plasma Urate in Healthy Women.
European Journal of Nutrition. 2012. Effect of Tart Cherry Juice (Prunus Cerasus) on Melatonin Levels and Enhanced Sleep Quality.