I’m sharing this recipe because there’s a chance that one day someone who’s adventurous (crazy?) like me, who loves to throw ingredients normally expected in savoury dishes into sweet desserts, just might love this little ice cream recipe as much as I do.
Chocolate + fresh basil + coconut milk + sweetener = the best darn dairy-free ice cream that you’ll never get to enjoy at an old-time ice cream parlour – but totally should.
Now before you go thinking that this is some kind of “imposter” dessert, I promise it’s not. It’s a real dessert. It just happens to have fresh herbs in it.
And in a word… it’s HEAVENLY. Seriously, it’s sweet, herbaceous, floral and it happens to be green. I consider it the perfect antidote to an overwhelmingly hot summer day. (For me that’s any day where the temperature soars above 25°C… for you, maybe it’s when the temperature soars over 40°C). We haven’t had too many days like that this summer but I’m not throwing out my ice cream scoop yet.
Dairy-free ice creams like this are a soft-serve texture when they come out of the ice cream maker. However, you can scoop and then freeze them for a short while to firm up. Homemade ice creams don’t generally freeze well long-term, meaning that if you freeze this overnight, it’ll be hard as a rock. I’ve tried adding alcohol before but so far haven’t achieved the magic formula to keep a coconut milk-based ice cream scoop-able after a long stint in the freezer.
If this happens, you can rescue your rock-hard ice cream in one of two ways:
- Remove it from the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes, then stir and mix it together until it’s the right consistency.
- Break it into large pieces, toss it into the food processor, and then pulse it for a minute or two until it’s creamy and soft again.
I prefer the second tactic myself… mainly because I’m impatient when it comes to food but also because the result seems to be creamier this way.
You’ll still have to eat this ice cream quickly, but I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that once you get your first taste.
Here’s how to make my (not so crazy) dairy-free Basil Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:
Basil Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- One 400-ml can of full-fat coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp raw honey
- 3 Tbsp whole fresh basil leaves tightly packed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- Optional: 1/2 tsp spirulina powder
- 1 small I used the Giddy Yo Yo "Vanilla Bean & Salt" flavour, good quality chocolate bar
Add the coconut milk, honey, fresh basil, vanilla and spirulina (if using) to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Refrigerate the ice cream base or place it in the freezer until cold.
Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into small or large pieces depending on your preference. I chopped mine very finely.
Add the ice cream base to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.
When the ice cream is almost fully churned, add the chocolate through the chute and the machine will gently incorporate the chocolate in to your ice cream.
Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency or place it the freezer for an hour to firm up.
I added spirulina to make this really green but it’s completely optional. Spirulina is a micro-algae with impressive nutritional cred but it won’t affect the taste of this dairy-free ice cream in this measure. It will add iron, essential fatty acids, high amounts of amino acids relative to its size (it’s about 60-70% protein by weight), and various other minerals and vitamins, such as B vitamins. It acts as a potent detoxifier so as with many superfoods, it’s a good idea to start with a small amount to see how you react.
Always read and follow the instructions on the label and note any contraindications. Spirulina is generally not recommended for anyone with a severe iodine or seafood allergy, hypothyroidism or if you are pregnant or nursing, so consult a health care provider before use if any of the above apply or if you have a medical condition.
If you omit the spirulina, your ice cream will be a pale green colour instead of the emerald green of mine.
If you have some moringa powder left over from making this Cool as a Cucumber Smoothie, you could swap it for the spirulina and put it to good use in this ice cream!
So if you’re feeling bold, daring or maybe just restless and longing to try something new, make this ice cream.
It’ll help curb your sweet tooth AND you’ll get to give your basil plants a long overdue haircut.
Life is a plate… Eat up!