When I moved to the UK, I immediately noticed a serious lack of interesting vegan ice cream flavours. Sure, there are a few different flavours of Swedish Glace, Bessant and Drury and Booja Booja, and some shops even stock a couple flavours of Rice Dream, but most of the flavours are pretty standard: chocolate, vanilla, Neopolitan, coconut… I missed all the inventive flavours of So Delicious/Purely Decadent in the US. Where is my Peanut Butter Zig Zag?! So I decided to make my own ice cream… I don’t have an ice cream maker but I’ve discovered you can make a pretty wide range of flavours by customising a plain old tub of vegan vanilla ice cream (which is much more widely available, in the UK and beyond, than Peanut Butter Zig Zag!). You can also make a delicious ice cream out of frozen bananas (see below the list) which you could customise. To customise vanilla ice cream, all you have to do is leave it out to soften for 5-10 minutes, mix in your add-ins, and then put it back in the freezer for a few hours until it refreezes.
A few flavour ideas to get you started:
- Cookies ‘n’ cream: mix crumbled Oreos or Trios + vanilla ice cream
- Mint choc chip: mix mint extract + choc chips into vanilla ice cream. Or, mix chopped mint fondants (Waitrose make an own brand vegan mint fondant, and a vegan peppermint bark that would also work nicely) + vanilla ice cream + Lyle’s chocolate-mint syrup
- Speculoos/Biscuit: mix speculoos paste (an ingenious ‘cookie butter’ made of crushed Speculoos biscuits, available at Waitrose now!) + vanilla ice cream
- Nutella: mix your favourite vegan chocolate-hazelnut paste (my favourites are Chocoreale, available in UK health food shops, and Delinut, available at Vx and Kosher Kingdom in London) + vanilla ice cream
- Coffee: mix instant coffee (I used the Starbucks Via, as these are very finely ground) + vanilla ice cream
- Dairy Queen-style Blizzard/McDonald’s McFlurry-style: In a blender, mix M&M substitutes (such as chocolate beans available at Vx and sometimes at Holland&Barrett) or chunks of a GoMaxGo candy bar (pick your favourite flavour between Snickers, Mounds, 3 Musketeers and Milky Way) + vanilla ice cream + a splash of soya milk
- Strawberry: mix Lyle’s strawberry syrup + chopped fresh strawberries into vanilla ice cream
- Chocolate covered pretzel: mix chopped up pieces of chocolate covered pretzels (you can buy vegan ones at Kosher Kingdom or make your own) + vanilla ice cream, or mix pieces of pretzels + chocolate chips + vanilla ice cream
- Cookie dough: mix chunks of cookie dough + vanilla ice cream
- Chocolate cherry: mix cherry syrup or cherry extract or cherry liquor + chocolate chips + fresh cherries (if you have them available) + vanilla ice cream
- Peanut butter chocolate: mix peanut butter + chocolate chips or chocolate syrup + vanilla ice cream
- Rocky road: mix vegan mini marshmallows (or chopped larger marshmallows) + chocolate chips + almonds into vanilla or chocolate ice cream
- Dulce de leche or butterscotch: mix butterscotch syrup (in the UK, Lyle’s brand is vegan) or dulce de leche (you can make your own vegan dulce de leche with coconut milk and soya milk, or you can buy it if you’re in Argentina) + vanilla ice cream
- Praline pecan: Mix praline pecans (veganise this recipe) + vanilla ice cream
- Pumpkin pie: Mix pumpkin puree + pumpkin pie spices + vanilla ice cream
You can create a healthier version of many of these flavours by using the frozen banana technique (if you don’t mind a banana flavour). To make ice cream from bananas, all you need to do is to slice and freeze ripe bananas, then blend them in a food processor (you’ll need a good food processor to do this without clumps!) until they reach a creamy, ice cream-like consistency. Then, add any other flavours (above) as desired.
You can create just about any flavour this way, so try making your own favourite flavour, or a flavour you can’t find a vegan version of!