One of my favorite memories of childhood summers is Popsicle Joe. My friends and I would be swimming in the lake, and the moment we heard the jingle of the ice cream truck, away we swam and ran down the dock. We would stand in the quickly forming line in our tankinis and bare feet, hopping on the burning hot cement of the parking lot with our quarters, internally debating which ice cream treat we’d have today. Back then, I could eat as much as a teenage boy, and I would have survived solely on ice cream and candy if my parents had allowed it (now I suppose I can appreciate that they fortunately instilled healthy habits at a very early age).
Needless to say, I no longer gorge myself on dairy-rich “choco-tacos” but I do still crave those sweet frozen treats, particularly in this heat wave summer in Seattle. I have tried just about every ice cream alternative at Whole Foods, and although I’m impressed with the variety of coconut, almond, and soy based alternatives, there’s really nothing nutritious about them, and they’re often still loaded with extra sugar and random ingredients (bean gum?). So I set out on a mission to make my own ice-cream alternative, that could rival Popsicle Joe’s goodies. Crazy, I know.
Pinterest is always my starting place, and there I discovered a couple of trends: 1. “nice” cream, which is a banana-based ice cream, and 2. avocado pudding. Based on these inspirations, I combined the avocado and banana to make something extra creamy, with just enough sweetness and chocolate-goodness to make it a real treat. But that seemed a little too plain, and when I remembered I used to love mint chocolate chip ice cream, I decided to add fresh mint to the mix, and top the whole thing with fresh strawberries. I was skeptical that simply using veggies, herbs, and fruit to make this frozen treat would rival the real-thing, but I was gleefully surprised at the outcome. If you don’t believe me, here is a quote from my Ben&Jerry’s-addicted boyfriend after eating my creation: “It makes you feel like the dairy companies have been lying to you”. Ha! Big victory for my inner-ice-cream-loving-child.
Bonus: with the wholesome combo of ingredients, this frozen parfait is packed with nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, and even protein! Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you to try this, so enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 hass avocado
- 1 small/medium banana
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp agave
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (not packed)
- 6-8 fresh strawberries, sliced
- fresh mint to garnish
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until a smooth, creamy mixture.
- If eating right away, transfer mousse to serving bowls/glasses or to tupperware and top with fresh strawberries (or layer mousse and strawberries) and fresh mint leaf.
- If eating later and would like it frozen, transfer mousse to a tupperware and stick in the freezer for at least an hour. Then serve in bowls/glasses as above. Enjoy!