Yes to Yummy

Healthy Nutella Swirl Ice Cream (vegan, gluten-free)

April 2, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page



That’s right! As of today, it’s been exactly one year since I first started my blog. And to celebrate, we are having my favorite dessert: ICE CREAM.


I’m so proud that I’ve been able to keep my baby alive for a year–and not just alive, but growing.

One year ago, I was a fourteen year-old girl who had barely baked with coconut flour before and knew next to nothing about grass-fed meat and food photography. I was on Tumblr, posting simple recipes for roasted chicken and vegetables.

Today, I am an almost-sixteen year-old girl who can make a twenty-layer crepe cake out of coconut flour, does work for a pasture-raised/grass-fed animal butchery, and has a giant light box on a table downstairs just for food photography. I have my own website, and I’m here today posting a recipe for COMPLETELY vegan ice cream that will knock your socks off.

And I wouldn’t be here without the help and care I’ve gotten from all of YOU! There are quite a few people that deserve special mention, and I’m here to give credit for where credit is due. So, thank you very, very much to…

  • My ninth grade biology teacher, who has eaten everything I’ve brought her from the very first dessert recipe I ever posted (chocolate chip banana cake) and provided me with such kind positive feedback.
  • The rest of my wonderful teachers, who are always happy to be taste-testers and don’t seem to mind much when I zone out in class and try to brainstorm new recipes.
  • My friends, who help me get rid of giant batches of cookies and cupcakes and always understand when I prioritize making dinner over hanging out.
  • My grandparents and family, who have graciously gotten me a 16-cup food processor, bright yellow ice cream machine, blowtorch, and various other necessary (and unnecessary) kitchen gadgets to fuel my creativity.
  • Clinton Robbins, who, after I decided I could not possibly work with WordPress, designed this beautiful website from scratch for me based on the exact layout wanted.
  • Bagus Shafara, who brought the logo I doodled one day in class to life on the internet.
  • Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo, Mel from The Clothes Make the Girl, Simone from Zenbelly, Arsy from Rubies and Radishes, Joanne from Just Eat Real Food, Hallie from Daily Bites, and Adriana from Living Healthy with Chocolate who have given kind words, shared my recipes, let me guest post, sent me wonderful links and cookbooks, and provided me with constructive advice for my blogging adventures.
  • Alison Held, who always helps to point me in the right direction and inspired me to explore deeper into real-food eating.
  • The crew at Craft Butchery, who gave me my first job ever and the opportunity to talk to lots of people about local, sustainable food, as well as provided every single piece of meat and poultry ever featured on this blog.
  • Natalie Wester, the Clean-Eating Teen, who is the best friend in the entire universe as well as a daily inspiration for recipes and healthy-eating.
  • My parents, who are two of the greatest people in the entire world and always give my failed dishes and desserts a try, clean up my gigantic messes, and comfort me when it feels like everything I touch turns to burnt sweet potatoes.

And…most importantly…to all of you for reading and trying my recipes! I hope you’ll stick with me as I continue to cook, bake, and experiment with ingredients familiar and unknown. I love ALL of you! <3

But you’re in it for the ice cream, right? I figured as much. It’s pretty hard to ignore.


Ice cream was the first dessert I ever ate. My parents didn’t give me sweets until I was two years old, and the first treat that ever passed my lips was vanilla ice cream. I guess you could say I’ve been addicted ever since.

This fact became even more apparent this summer, when I spent a month in Nice, France. There was an ice cream place called Fenocchio, and oh boy, was I obsessed. I might’ve eaten ice cream for lunch once. And perhaps dinner, too. Hey, it’s a good source of protein, right? No judging.


My only problem with ice cream is that it can be very, er, heavy. And I don’t tend to do too well with a lot of dairy at once, as I know is the case for a lot of you, too, so for the past year, I’ve been tinkering with a dairy-free ice cream recipe to share.

The first time I tried was awful: I used frozen fruit and coconut milk, and it was really icy and barely had any flavor at all. That went to the trash almost instantaneously. The second time, I followed a recipe for Carrot Cake Ice Cream, and while it was tasty, it used guar gum, which I try to avoid if I can. Since then, I have been playing with different amounts of cashews and coconut milk to create a rich, creamy base that wouldn’t become a rock in the freezer.

Last June, I published a recipe for Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, which was very good, as I recall. But it wasn’t vegan: I used egg yolks to add more fat and thicken the base. With the exception of a simple banana ice cream blended up on a whim last summer (which a five year-old could also make), I haven’t really made much other dairy-free ice cream, but I’ve been wanting to try again.

Last weekend, I was getting my hair cut, talking to the wonderful woman who styles my hair about our various successes and failures with ice cream without, you know, the cream. Suddenly, an INTENSE craving hit me, and I knew what I had to do: I had to make ice cream, right then and there.

So, I made vegan ice cream, and it kicked BUTT.


Sorry, I just had to.

In fact, it was so good, that I made it again this weekend. And this time, it kicked even more butt than last. And–wait for it–it was VEGAN!!!

I think this is the perfect recipe for a celebration. Your family will love this ice cream, and you’ll love the fact that it’s a LOT better for you than a lot of the frozen treats you can buy at the store or Friendly’s. (It tastes better, too!)


Are you ready to get in on the madness? I am. Let’s go.


First, soak 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews overnight in a warm water bath. I prefer whole cashews because they have less of a likelihood of their oils being close-to-rancid when you buy them, but pieces should be fine, too.

Whatever kind of cashew you use, PLEASE take care to soak for at least 8 hours, and preferably longer. This will really help make the ice cream super-thick and creamy.

In the morning, drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Put the cashews in the blender with 2 1/3 cups of full-fat coconut milk, 2/3 cup of raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup or honey), 2 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 heaping tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and blend on the highest speed possible until completely homogeneous, about five minutes.

A note about the ingredients: 2/3 cup of coconut nectar IS a lot of sugar, but sugar prevents the ice cream from getting icy in the freezer. The alcohol in the vanilla extract, the starchiness of the arrowroot, and the chemical properties of the salt all lend a helping hand, too.

Once those ingredients have come together nicely, pour in 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil and blend for a minute longer. (The oil will help give your ice cream a “creamy” mouth feel.)


Transfer the contents of the blender to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the mixture starts to vigorously bubble, and make sure you whisk constantly.

Pass the ice cream base through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass container, and stick in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours to cool down. (You can also do this in the fridge overnight, but I was very impatient.)


When the ice cream base has cooled, pour it into your ice cream maker and ice cream-ify it based on your manufacturer’s instructions. It took me about 20 to 25 minutes to get the texture I wanted (like soft-serve), but it could take you shorter or longer depending on your machine. If in doubt, longer is always better.

While the ice cream is churning away, make the Nutella swirl!

You didn’t think I was going to use store-bought Nutella, did you? I hope not.


In the bowl of a food processor, crush 1 cup of dry-roasted hazelnuts until creamy and buttery, about 2 minutes in my monster food processor, but probably closer to 5 minutes in your average device.


To the newly-formed hazelnut butter, add 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of coconut nectar (or maple syrup or honey), 1/4 cup of your preferred non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond milk), and a generous pinch of salt. Process until everything comes together in a smooth, chocolaty nut butter, about a minute or two longer.


When the ice cream is almost ready (but not quite), add in 1/3 cup of chopped dry-roasted hazelnuts and 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips or dark chocolate pieces.


Let the add-ins incorporate for a few minutes, then stop the ice cream machine. Transfer your rich, creamy ice cream to a wide, deep glass dish and use a spatula to spread it out.

Using a large spoon, gently spread the Nutella swirl in thick stripes up and down the top of the ice cream.


Cover tightly with plastic wrap and a lid (if you have it), and freeze until solid, about 3 to 4 hours.

Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping and dying of bliss. Top with even more dry-roasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips if you’re feeling extra decadent.




(Taken before I licked the cup clean.)

There you have it: VEGAN ice cream that tastes freaking amazing.

Thank you so much for your support, everyone! What is your favorite Yes to Yummy recipe that you’ve made or seen? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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