5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato

This week I realized it’s the middle of August. I haven’t posted an ice cream recipe. #gasp!

If you know my work, you know ice cream is my favorite treat. Favorite. If there is another dessert to be had – cake, pie, cookies – it better be paired with ice cream!

In my early cooking days I watched a lot of Bobby Flay cooking episodes (I learned a lot about flavor combinations from his and a few other key cooking shows). I’ve heard him express a similar sentiment about ice cream, that he would choose ice cream anytime over any other dessert. Yes. Exactly.

5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

I do buy a lot of vegan ice creams. Coconut Bliss is one of my favorite brands (hello salted caramel chocolate), but I’m also very fond of Amy’s, So Delicious, and Nada Moo. There’s something special about making your own ice cream, though. It tastes – well – homemade. You can customize to your sweetness and ingredient preferences, and you can taste the love!

Tricky thing is most homemade ice cream recipes require an ice cream maker, and many of us don’t have this appliance (or we may not want to pull it out any given day)! I have a full ice cream chapter in LTEV, but most use the ice cream maker. This Chocolate Gelato needs no ice cream maker. It benefits from a high-speed blender, but more of us in the vegan and plant-based world have a rambo blender!

This is also one of those gem recipes that just “came together”. I tested it one day as a pudding, throwing a few ingredients together, and using dates as the sweetener (with my chocolate chia pudding in mind). It literally took 5 minutes to make. I decided to freeze it, just to see how it would turn out. To my delight it froze beautifully.  With 5 simple ingredients, and 5 minutes of prep (excepting freezing time), I was happy to retest. And retest. And retest. ;)

I think I’ve said enough. Time to make the ice cream! Happy scooping…

5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato - by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen. #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Chocolate Gelato

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This is by far the easiest frozen dessert I’ve ever made. It doesn’t require an ice cream maker, and it’s still scoop-able after freezing! It tastes so good after blending, you can opt to enjoy as a chocolate mousse or pudding straight away – or freeze to a soft-set for gelato.

1 cup refrigerated coconut cream (from can of regular coconut milk, see note)
1 cup (packed) pitted dates (see note)
1 cup frozen banana pieces
3 TB cocoa powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder or seeds from one vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (see note)

In a high-speed blender (I use Blendtec and the twister jar), combine all ingredients (see note if using a standard blender). Puree until very smooth. Transfer to a container to freeze (see note for mousse/pudding ideas). It will take 4-5 hours to freeze to a firm set, but will soft-set like a gelato in less time (about 2-3 hours). Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Coconut Milk Note: Use regular coconut milk (rather than light) from a can in this recipe. Before using refrigerate it overnight, or for a few days. The thick cream will rise to the top and be easy to scoop and measure. Use only the thick cream.

Date Note: Dates must be soft to easily puree. Some pitted dates can be old and dry. If your dates aren’t soft, try presoaking them in non-dairy milk for a half-hour or so until they soften.

Vanilla Note: I prefer the flavor of vanilla seeds or pure ground vanilla bean, but you can also use vanilla extract if you want to add that touch of flavor.

Blender Note: A standard blender may have difficulty churning the dates and frozen bananas into a smooth mix. You might want to first process the bananas and dates in a food processor, adding a small amount of the milk and then transferring to a blender to achieve a smoother puree.

Idea: As a mousse, try serving topped with fresh fruit or layered in a parfait glass with Vanilla Cashew Yogurt!

Share your feedback anytime about this recipe, love to hear from you!

And thanks to Emma for assisting with food photos!

27 Responses to 5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato

  1. Danielle says:

    Was wondering if I can eliminate the banana or you need it? I was also wondering when you refrigerate the milk overnight will it prevent the ice cream from getting icy?

  2. Danielle says:

    Recipe sounds delicious!! Was wondering if I can eliminate the banana I don’t love tasting banana?…. I also have been having a hard time with my ice cream it’s been very icy.. Is the problem solved by refrigerating the coconut milk beforehand??

  3. Amanda says:

    This is seriously amazingly yum! LTEV is our fave cookbook and whenever someone asks me about family friendly plant based recipes I send them straight to your website. Thanks for sharing Dreena :-)

  4. Jacky Hood says:

    I made this for my friend’s bbq and it was a huge success! I used cacao as I prefer that to cocoa and doubled the amount called for. Delicious! And soooo easy! I have a ninja blender and left it to blend for a few mins. Worked well. Thanks!!!

  5. Maggie says:

    This recipe sounds amazing and dreamy! I do not have an ice cream maker and have been lusting after vegan ice cream concoctions all summer. I hope to try this out soon!

  6. Tamara says:

    Hi, this would sound great, except for the bananas. Any suggestions for replacing those?
    Thanks!

  7. Vanesa says:

    This sounds so delicious! Thank you
    I. Have a question: how much coconut milk do you refrigerare overnight to get 1 cup Of coconut cream?

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Vanessa, I use 1 can, they can vary in terms of how well they separate – I find the Thai Organic brand works very well!

  8. Nina bean says:

    Dreena, Thank you for another inspiring recipe.
    Looking forward to trying it.
    Nina

  9. Cheryl says:

    Hi Dreena
    Just a question about your books.
    I see you have 3.
    Does the book: Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family
    have all the recipes in it that are in your other books?
    Just wondering if I need all 3 or this one covers most of your recipes?
    Thank you:)

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Cheryl, I have 4 printed cookbooks and 1 ebook. They all contain original recipes. Let Them Eat Vegan is quite popular (as is eat, drink and be vegan). LTEV uses all whole foods ingredients, no white flour, no processed meat substitutes, etc. ed&bv also uses mostly whole foods (as do my other books), but a few processed exceptions. My ebook is also entirely whole foods, and is also oil-free and has photos for all the recipes (my printed books have a selection of photos). Hope that helps some!

  10. Anne Ricci says:

    Hi Dreena, great recipe. I also use coconut milk and banana to make popsicles for my kids, it’s a great combination. I’ll make your gelato today and I think it will be a hit :)
    Anne

  11. Christine says:

    I was wondering if I could use coconut cream instead of opening a can of coconut milk and taking the cream off the top.
    Thanks it looks good

    • Dreena says:

      Yes, I think that should work fine, Christine! It’s essentially what we get from refrigerating and skimming the cream from regular coconut milk. If you use cream of coconut, it’s often sweetened, just to note that would play into overall sweetness. Enjoy, enjoy! :)

  12. germaine says:

    Hi. What if you are allergic to coconut? Is there another option? Soy milk perhaps? I love ice cream. Love it. However I have so many allergies it’s hard to find anything that I can eat without almost killing myself.

    • Dreena says:

      Germaine, I wouldn’t sub standard soy milk as it doesn’t have the same fat content. You could try a soy creamer instead, or better, a blend of non-dairy milk with cashews to make a cashew cream. Have you ever made a cashew cream? This would work best.

  13. Lynn says:

    I just made this and I’m eagerly waiting for it to freeze. :) I didn’t have any coconut cream so I used a cup of silken tofu. I expect it may take a bit longer to soften up to a scoopable consistency given the lower amount of fat, but either way I love the sweet and chocolatey flavor! Thanks for all your inspirational posts, Dreena – you’re certainly keeping us well-fed! :)

    • Dreena says:

      Awesome! Def let me know how it turns out, Lynn. Agree, it will likely be harder after freezing, and more icy without the same fat content. But wondering how the flavor works for you, fill us in when you can. Thanks for that sweetness. :)

      • Lynn says:

        I’m no ice cream connoisseur, but it seemed to turn out just fine! Less creamy no doubt than your version but still very good!! It was in the freezer for about 16 hours before I tried it, and by then it was firm but still easy to scoop. I will absolutely be making this one again! :)

  14. Kelly says:

    Hi Dreena! This looks amazing! Question: What brand of coconut milk do you use? I’ve had a terrible time lately trying to find a brand where the cream actually separates. I’ve been buying full fat coconut milk and refrigerating but no luck with getting it to separate. Help?

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Kelly, good question – yes, one of my fave brands is Thai Organic – it separates very well!

      • Kate says:

        Thanks for asking this. I’ve had awful times lately. I tried full fat non-guar gum coconut milk. I tried coconut creme by itself in a can (was sweetened) and a whole host of different brands with no luck.

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