Aug 15, 2014

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cashew Ice Cream… vegan, oil-free, coconut-free.

Yup, I made my very first batch of vegan ice cream. Yay for my new ice cream maker! Double yay for the creamy goodness of cashews. I was a little intimidated at first. I’d never made ice cream before, but I cannot believe how EASY it is! Just turn the machine on, pour the ingredients in and let it do its magic. Oh and I got this super nifty ice cream container on Amazon. Love it! Miracles of modern technology, that’s all I have to say.

Wait, I do have more to say… First of all, chocolate chocolate chip (yes!) was always my absolute favorite ice cream when I was eating dairy, so I thought I’d dive right in and try it. I didn’t think I could rival Häagen Dazs. But, this recipe works—everyone in my family was amazed at the likeness to the real deal. The mouth feel is not totally the same and, in my freezer, it got really hard. But I just left it out a few minutes before scooping and it was really, really yummy!


As you can see above, the nutritional profile of this “ice cream” is far better than the traditional store-bought variety. I don’t usually include nutrition facts in my recipes because these breakdowns do not analyze for micronutrients, only macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates/sugars and sometimes vitamins and minerals), when, in fact, it is the the micronutrients, such as phytochemicals, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc. that play such an important role in superior nutrition. As you can see, there is still quite a bit of fat in this recipe. But what is in that fat? Approximately 82% of the fat in cashews is in the form of unsaturated fatty acids. About 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Still, these healthy fats should be limited in a plant-strong diet. Dr. Fuhrman recommends no more than 1-2 ounces of nuts and seeds per day as a general guideline, especially if you’re relatively inactive and/or trying to lose weight.

I mention in the title that this ice cream is coconut-free. Why? Because on perusing the web, researching vegan ice cream, so many recipes use canned coconut milk, which contains xanthan gum and other stabilizers. Or they use fresh, young coconut meat… um, not something I can readily find in the Smoky Mountains. The healthy fat in cashews is a great substitute for canned coconut milk and keeps this recipe in the WHOLE FOOD category, thank you very much.


  • 4 cups cashew milk (recipe HERE)
  • ¼ cup + 2 TBS non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • 1 cup tightly-packed medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chips
  • UPDATE: Here’s a tip. If you aren’t adverse to it, add about 1 tsp of vodka to the mix. It will prevent the ice cream from getting too hard in the freezer!


  1. Place the dates in a blender and add enough cashew milk just to cover them.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining milk, cocoa powder and vanilla and blend again until smooth.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture until cold.
  5. Use this mixture as your ice cream base, following your ice cream maker’s instructions.*
  6. Add the chips/chunks at the very end of the cycle, just until mixed.
  7. Freeze and enjoy!
* Don’t have an ice cream maker? No worries. You can also make this ice cream by freezing the base in ice cube trays and then blending it up in a high powered blender or even a food processor would work if you add a bit of cashew or other plant based milk at the start to get it going! Then just mix in the chips or chunks afterwards and before freezing.

Makes about 1½ quarts. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,


14 responses to “Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cashew Ice Cream… vegan, oil-free, coconut-free.”

  1. Sarah says:

    Yay for ice cream!!! Williams Sonoma also has these super cool instant freeze ice cream bowls from Zoku (apparently you can only get them at WS) for those of us who are too impatient to use an ice cream maker. I picked one up a few weeks ago and I love it!!! It fun to mix and stir and watch it become ice cream while you watch!

  2. VALLEY VEGAN says:

    which ice cream maker did you buy ? trying to decide on one.

  3. Helyn says:

    Thanks for that link, Sarah! I never heard of it and will definitely check it out. 🙂

  4. Helyn says:

    I got the Cuisinart ICE-21. Found for $50 on Amazon. It seems to be perfect so far.

  5. Unknown says:

    I made this last night with cacao nibs. We don't have an ice cream maker so I froze in cube trays. Let them soften a little then hand chopped with a spoon since we were staying somewhere without a blender. Wow, this is the real thing! I could even see just eating the cubes like fudgsicle pops. Tha you Helyn!

  6. Helyn says:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback :))

  7. Lynn M says:

    Mmm, this turned out so well! If I were to make a vanilla version and leave out the cocoa, should I still use a full cup of dates or would you recommend slightly less?

  8. Helyn says:

    I'm happy to hear you liked it, Lynn! Yes, I would reduce the dates a bit if you're not using the cocoa. 3/4 of a cup should work.

  9. Jean Lang says:

    Thank you for this yummy recipe! First time I read it, I ordered the cuisinart ice cream maker. Ice cream is my downfall. Grew up and out on Carvel on Long Island. First batch ever of Cashew Milk came out with lots of nut pieces so the texture was coarse. Next batch with proper Cashew Milk made in my Nutribullet was perfect. My grandkids are excited to come over and make healthy ice cream. I'm contemplating making strawberry with frozen organic fruits. Any suggestions on that, Helyn?

  10. Helyn says:

    Your'e welcome, Jean! Sorry for taking so long to reply. I'm out of town… Strawberry with frozen fruit would work great. Just thaw the fruit before you add it to the mix (at the end). Use the same cashew base as above, minus the chocolate of course. You may want to sweeten it with something besides the dates as it will change the color of the base for sure. Up to you on that. Hope this helps and thanks so much for the feedback! Let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to email me too 🙂

  11. Could you please provide nutritional info for this recipe? Thank you

  12. Helyn says:

    Hi Janice! Please see the graphic added above and the corresponding paragraph below it.

  13. Gail says:

    These recipes look fantastic. Cant wait to try. I love the cashew milk (25) and use it all the time.

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