Mango Nice Cream
Ice cream is nice, but nice cream is nicer. Add in the delicious tropical sweetness of mango and you’ve got a vegan dessert recipe that everyone will love. Not only is this recipe tasty and creamy, it’s also easy to whip up at a moment’s notice because you only need three ingredients and a blender or food processor. So, when friends drop by or you have an intense late-night craving for a sweet and frozen treat, you’ll know just what to make. Not only are we sharing on of our best recipes for making dairy-free ice cream in a hurry, we’ll also give you tips on how to make your own nice cream recipes up on the fly.
What is Nice Cream?
To be considered nice cream, this frozen treat is typically made with plant-based milk, fruit based, and has little to no added sugar making it a lower calorie and lower fat ‘nicer’ alternative to traditional ice cream. Many people also find that dairy-based ice cream products aren’t so nice to their digestive systems, making this a great option.
Most recipes you’ll find use bananas as their base. This is because bananas are sweet enough to provide all or most of the sugar in the recipe, and they get creamy and thick when blended. If you don’t like or can’t have bananas, you can swap them for other fruits like peaches or for plain frozen cauliflower plus a tablespoon of sweetener per cup of vegetables.
Nice cream is a popular Paleo-friendly option because there’s no need for added sugars. It also fits many Keto diets that allow for naturally occurring sugars, and even works for the Whole30 diet if you add in a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter for some extra fat and protein.
How to Make Mango Nice Cream
Choosing nice cream over dairy-based ice cream doesn’t just help you stick to a plant-based or vegan diet, it’s also easier on your body and can save you time. Traditional ice cream recipes, even those that are dairy-free, require two things most of us don’t have – an expensive ice cream maker and hours of waiting.
With nice cream you can have it on the table in 5 minutes. If you don’t already have some, just grab some frozen fruit from the store and your Unsweetened Milked Cashews™ and you’re ready to go! You also have more flexibility when it comes to how much you make, while homemade ice cream is usually made by the quart. Mix up a single portion to satisfy that late night sweet tooth or blend up a larger batch for a crowd.
Mango is a nutritional powerhouse, offering your full daily needs for Vitamin C in just one cup. You also get 35% of your daily allowance of Vitamin A, which is a tricky nutrient to add to your diet. The 3 grams of fiber (12% of your recommended daily value) per cup of mango help you feel full longer and may improve your digestive health. (Nutritional info via the National Mango Board).
There are also antioxidants in mango that can help better protect your body from damage caused by free radicals, which are usually created when your body is exposed to things like smoke, radiation or pollution. By incorporating antioxidants into a well-balanced diet, you can potentially help protect your body from certain health issues and even keep your hair and skin looking younger longer.
Bananas contain pectin which helps moderate your blood sugar levels, reducing the impact of the sugar in the fruits you choose for your nice cream. They’re also a great source of potassium, add in another 3 grams of fiber, and provide a boost of Vitamin A that helps support a healthy immune system and strong vision. With no fat, cholesterol, or sodium content, bananas are a natural fit for almost any healthy diet.
Getting started will seem like making a smoothie. Add some of your milk to your blender first along with any other liquids you might be adding like vanilla, then add your frozen fruit. This will make it easier to get the blades running smoothly sooner. Because nice cream is much thicker than a smoothie, you may have to stop your blender or food processor a few times and scrape down the sides or stir things around.
The consistency you’re aiming for is close to soft serve ice cream, where all of your fruit has been incorporated and your nice cream stays put when you tip the blender pitcher back and forth. If you prefer a firmer nice cream, try popping it in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set. And don’t forget about toppings! All your favorite vegan-friendly ice cream toppings will taste great on nice cream, including flakes of coconut, chocolate syrup, and chopped nuts.
Nice cream is endlessly customizable, so feel free to get creative and have some fun. It is nice cream after all! Some of our favorite ideas include:
- Dropping the mango, doubling the banana and adding 1 tablespoon of natural cocoa powder for a tasty chocolate treat
- Swapping the mango for other frozen fruits like strawberries, pineapple, cherries, or mixed berries
- Splashing in some vanilla or zest from a citrus fruit
- Adding a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter for an even creamier texture that is slower to melt
We’ve chosen Unsweetened Milked Cashews for this recipe because the neutral flavor of the plant milk goes great with the mango and banana. The unsweetened is also best to control the amount of sugar you’re consuming, while the fats in the cashews are can support good heart health and may help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. You can learn all about cashew milk here.
Tips for Better Nice Cream
How to freezer your own fruit
Clean, peel, and cut the banana and mango into smaller pieces for the freezer (once they’re frozen it’s much more difficult to peel). To keep them from sticking together too much, arrange the pieces on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching and place in the freezer. Once frozen, toss them into storage containers or freezer bags with the air pressed out. For the fastest prep time try doing larger batches, measuring out portions of the frozen fruit and storing them in separate containers or bags.
Choosing the right blender
The stronger the blender, the less your nice cream will melt as it’s mixed. Weaker blenders generate a lot of heat that makes it hard to keep your nice cream frozen during processing. Food processors also work well for this kind of recipe.
Preventing icy or hard chunks in your nice cream
Icy nice cream comes from using frozen fruit that spent too much time in the freezer. Try freezing your own fruits and keeping them well-wrapped so they don’t develop freezer burn and use them within a year.
How to get a firmer nice cream
Firmer textures come from increasing the fruit content and reducing the liquid component. Swapping to a powerful food processor instead of a blender will help you achieve a good mix with minimal melting or added liquid. You can also try freezing your nice cream for about 15 minutes to help firm it up more.
How to store nice cream
Nice cream tends to freeze solid and lose its texture when stored for more than an hour or so in the freezer. Try spreading the portion into an ice cube tray for freezing and blending those cubes again with a few splashes of unsweetened cashew milk to bring back that soft, creamy texture.
- ¼ cup Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Cashews™
- 1 cup Mango, frozen & sliced
- 1 Banana, frozen & sliced
- Add the frozen fruit to a blender or food processor and just enough of the cashew milk for the blades to run. Start with a little at a time and add more as needed.
- This will be thicker than a smoothie, so you may need to stop your blender and scrape down the sides a few times to get everything smooth. Blend until well combined.
- The consistency should be about that of soft-serve or custard and when you tip your blender pitcher back and forth it should mostly stay put.
- Enjoy as is, or pop in the freezer for 15 minutes before serving for a firmer nice cream!
Share Your Nice Cream Successes with Us
Whether you’re whipping up nice cream for a dinner party or just a late-night treat, we want to see your creations. Tag your photos and videos on social media with @elmhurst1925 so we can enjoy it right along with you! Don’t forget to order plenty of Elmhurst® Unsweetened Milked Cashews™ from our website so you always have some on hand when a craving or nice cream recipe inspiration strikes.