Taking the full measure of life

Fresh Mint Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Cane-Sugar-Free)

July 18th, 2008 · 52 Comments

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To me, one of the greatest joys of summertime is homemade ice cream.  I love ice cream in general (how many people don’t?), but homemade ice cream holds a special place in my heart.  The slightly-softer-than-storebought texture, the depth of fresh flavors, the anticipation-generating wait required–homemade ice cream is a glorious part of summertime living.

Of course, I can’t eat dairy anymore, and that can put a wee bit of a crimp in the ice cream-making.  When I saw (one might even say drooled over) Molly’s fantastic-looking fresh mint ice cream, I wondered if I could make a version without eggs or dairy that would fulfill my summer craving and still taste authentic.  I decided to give it a go, and combine the mintiness of Molly’s with the basic coconut-milk-based ice cream concept that Wardeh presented on her blog . . . with a bit of my own invention, as well.

The result is a mint ice cream that is truly minty—not dairy-flavored, of course, but also not coconutty at all, as one might expect it to be.  It is a more sophisticated mint flavor than I am used to tasting in my ice cream, almost like a mint tea ice cream instead of just mint.  “It’s not Breyer’s,” I said to my husband after my first bite, but not being Breyer’s isn’t a bad thing.  It’s just different.  However, for that reason, I’m not sure that chocolate chunks are the most appropriate mix-in (especially not the 2 c. or so I dumped in the first batch . . .).  Cocoa nibs would be an interesting contrast with a flavor that might better match the fresh mint.  I’m also very curious how the ice cream would taste with peppermint leaves/stems or (my top choice to attempt) chocolate mint leaves/stems.  (Chocolate mint, if you’ve never inhaled its lovely scent or consumed it, is a mint plant that actually smells/tastes like mint with a mild chocolate flavor.) We’ll certainly be experimenting with this recipe to see what we enjoy the most.

For those of us who are dairy-free or for soy-free vegans, this ice cream method is a godsend.  But several friends who can eat whatever they want who have eaten the ice cream have also exclaimed over its goodness.  It’s definitely an ice cream you can savor while you stop to process the flavors in your mouth.  And a chunk of this dropped into or blended with a tea or coffee beverage would be fabulous, I think.

Note:  To enable our ice-cream consumption to fall at a moderate level, we serve ice cream in small ramekins like you see in the photo at the top.  Only one scoop of ice cream fits in each ramekin, which naturally sets us up to eat it in moderation (at least as long as we leave the ice cream container in the kitchen).  One scoop mightily enjoyed without regret really is much more fun than a large bowl that leads to an uncomfortably full stomach.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

2 c. mint leaves and stems
3 cans coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen brand
1 c. agave syrup
1 avocado (adds color and fat–will not noticeably affect the flavor of the final product)
1/2 c. chocolate chips or cocoa nibs or other desired add-in (optional)

Wash 2 c. mint leaves and stems thoroughly.

Heat 3 cans of coconut milk and agave syrup on medium heat until the mixture gives off plenty of steam but before it reaches the boiling point.  Add the mint leaves/stems, cover, and turn heat to low.  After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and allow the mint leaves to steep an additional 50 minutes, covered, at room temperature.

Strain out the mint leaves by pouring the mixture through a mesh strainer, pressing the leaves against the strainer to extract all of the mint flavor you can from the leaves.  Discard the leaves and stems.

Refrigerate the mixture until it is very cold.

Once the mint mixture is ready to use, prepare the ice cream maker of your choice for use according to its directions.

Remove the mint mixture from the fridge and pour it into a food processor. (A blender might also work fine.) Add the meat of one avocado, and blend until the avocado is completely obliterated into the mint mixture.  Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker, and make ice cream! If desired, add 1/2 c. chocolate chunks or 1/2 c. cocoa nibs when the ice cream maker has a few minutes left.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions before consuming. (Or, you know, eat it straight out of the churn–whatever works for you!)

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52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ricki // Jul 18, 2008 at 4:37 am

    This sounds incredibly rich and delicious (and very sophisticated with the fresh mint!). And of course I LOVE the addition of avocado 😉

  • 2 Lindsay // Jul 18, 2008 at 6:11 am

    That sounds amazing! I have a question about the recipe. After steeping the mint leaves & stems, do you leave them in the milk/agave mixture and blitz it all up with the avocado or remove the mint first?

  • 3 sally // Jul 18, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Egads! Lindsay, I’m glad you caught that. Yes, you strain out the leaves. I’ll update the recipe directions now. 🙂

  • 4 Wardeh // Jul 18, 2008 at 8:23 am


    This looks fabulous! So did you notice that the avocado increased the creaminess of the ice cream?

    Love, Wardeh

  • 5 Lizzie // Jul 18, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Oh my God. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Sally, I heart mint ice-cream and thought I would never be able to have it again. You rock!

  • 6 Margaret // Jul 18, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I’m so lucky to live down the street 🙂 This stuff is amazing!

  • 7 sally // Jul 18, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Wardeh–Yes, I think the avocado does add a nice touch of extra creaminess.

  • 8 Astra Libris // Jul 18, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Your ice cream is gorgeous!! It sounds infinitely more pure and delicious than any store bought ice cream… Perfection!

  • 9 Helen // Jul 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    OH MY GOD, I want an ice cream maker!!! 😉

  • 10 ann-marie // Jul 18, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    this looks absolutely delicious. now we just need an ice cream maker! 😉

    i applaud you for taking care of your health. in january i began exercising and watching what i eat, as well. i had only 15 pounds to lose, and i’m nearly there, and it feels great. you look fabulous!

    thanks for your post on my blog, as well. my husband took the wing shot. he’s got the better photographic eye.

  • 11 k renee // Jul 19, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Yay! This IS an easy recipe. I may have to pick up a few coconut cans on my next grocery trip. We have some ice cream in the freezer, but the last few times I had some my tummy was not right. I may try to lay off the dairy.

    Thanks Sally!

  • 12 Kara // Jul 19, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I’m so glad the coconut milk worked–I’m going to pass this recipe on to one of my lactose intolerant friends who loves ice cream!

  • 13 michelle // Jul 19, 2008 at 11:03 am

    That looks fabulous!! Deliciously creamy and decadent all at the same time. You’re so inventive – the avocado is a wonderful idea. Good thing I have most of these ingredients in my cupboards because I’m definitely going to have to try this (I have pineapple mint right now too – hmmm!).

  • 14 Hannah Celeste // Jul 20, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Wow…gorgeous. I’ve heard of using avocado in ice cream or other sweet preparations but I MUST try this. I got an ice cream maker last year but rarely use it because I avoid dairy (most of the time…).

    I have a ton of mint growing in the backyard and some coconut milk. Hrmmm…


  • 15 bbg // Jul 20, 2008 at 10:59 am

    i’m really excited to try this recipe! one of my favorite types of ice-cream 🙂 we’ve played around with a few different dairy-free recipes using the kitchen-aid ice-cream maker attachment, but only a few times since i cut out soy too. we recently discovered the purely decadent ice-creams (http://soydelicious.com/products/purely_decadent_Coconut_Milk_MintChip.html) that are similar to your recipe (agave, coconut milk, etc.). i’m curious to see how the avacado adds to the creaminess of the ice-cream! i know i enjoy them in smoothies 🙂 thanks for posting this

  • 16 Hannah Celeste // Jul 21, 2008 at 9:25 am

    I made this loveliness this morning (after having chilled the base). So easy…especially with my immersion blender to puree the avocado.

    I plan to share it with my sister tomorrow.

    Incidentally, I love the light olive/grassy green color of it. I just love color. I’m an artist after all. It’s actually more satisfying than the fake green of mint chocolate ice cream.

    I made one modification which is to add vanilla. I like it but I think it would be good without, too.

    My husband, daughter and I ate it this morning on top of a gluten-free pancake.


  • 17 glutenfreeforgood // Jul 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Man, does that ice cream look good! An avocado? Wow, interesting idea. I’ve put avocados in all kinds of things, but never ice cream. I’ll have to try this.
    P.S. I LOVE that picture of you on your “About” link. What a cutie. I’ve said this before, but nice hair, Sally.

  • 18 Kat // Aug 18, 2008 at 7:04 am

    This sounds wonderful but I have a question about substitutions?
    Can you sub the Agave with Honey or Maple syrup? My son cannot have cane sugar or Agave but can have honey , stevia or Organic maple syrup and this ice cream sounds great other than the agave.
    Just wondering.

  • 19 sally // Aug 18, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Kat–I’m not sure what would happen, but I think it would be worth trying. The difference in viscosity of honey and agave might be an issue. . . . If I made it with maple syrup, I’d add extra maple syrup and wouldn’t do a mint ice cream–I’d maybe do a maple/vanilla/toasted nut ice cream or something like that. Yum! Let me know how it works if you try out a substitute.

  • 20 Kat // Aug 18, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Thanks Sally. I am just struggling for recipes for our family since finding out my son is unable to have wheat, dairy, soy, gluten, yeast or sugar. It has been very hard to find substitutions for anything he is used to eating and I am not much of a cook at the moment. My son is 3 1/2 and not into trying new things. I figured with the avocado being added to such a sweet dessert would help me “hide” his veggies and fruits.
    We are close to getting him healed from his regression that,we believe, was casued by his vaccine shots. Now if we could just get the diet in order he will be so much better.
    Thanks for the ideas. I will try it soon.

  • 21 bbg // Aug 31, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    hi sally,
    one question for you– i’m making the ice-cream, but it says 1 cup agave, but in the recipe it’s 3/4 cup. any clarification?

  • 22 sally // Aug 31, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Oops, I’ll fix the recipe now. Thanks for catching that.

  • 23 Dawn // Sep 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you so much! I made this ice cream a week ago and I’m ready to make some more. The first few bites I had I wasn’t sure what to think, but after that I loved it! We’ve been going without ice cream for so long at our house – this is fantastic!

  • 24 Susan // Jan 26, 2009 at 5:35 am

    I was wondering if the Fresh Mint Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Cane-Sugar-Free) recipe could be made with less agave syrup since that seems to cause me more pain also. (from sugars?)

    I assume it would affect the volume of the liquids so what could be substituted?

  • 25 sally // Jan 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Susan–Of course, the ice cream wouldn’t be as sweet with less as agave, but the creaminess primarily comes from the coconut milk, so I think you could decrease it and still have the recipe come out fine. I wouldn’t worry about the decrease in volume. You could also use a different sweetener to see if that works; if you do, please come back and let me/us know how it goes!

  • 26 Shelly // Mar 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Sally this recipe is simpy irrisistable, I’ve got to try it! I also have been trying out some new recipes as my son and I have recently started on a dairy, wheat and sugar free diet. I have just created chocolate pudding which uses avocado, rice milk, coca powder and agave. Its not perfect but I still love it. 😉

  • 27 Vanilla Raw Goat Milk Ice Cream: GNOWFGLINSâ„¢ // Jun 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

    […] wants creamy not milky. With that in mind, I remembered how Sally took my coconut ice cream and revamped it with avocado for creaminess (and fresh mint for flavor) back in July 2008. So I added an avocado to our ice cream this weekend. It does help. A little. […]

  • 28 chris // Jul 10, 2009 at 3:48 am

    I made this and it’s great. Thanks buddy

  • 29 Emilia // Jul 22, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Can I substitute the coconut milk with raw goat milk? I am looking at this recipe and your Vanilla Ice Cream with Raw Goat Milk that includes egg yolks ~ is that because the goat milk isn’t as creamy as the coconut milk ?(though I’ve never had coconut milk).

  • 30 sally // Jul 22, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Emilia, you must be confusing my blog with someone else’s. I’ve never made goat milk ice cream, and if I made any with eggs, I’d get super-sick. 🙂

  • 31 Emilia // Jul 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Oh, my apologies. I got to your blog by a link from the Vanilla Ice Cream with Raw Goat Milk recipe on gnowfglins.com. My diet is free of gluten, sugar and now, dairy. Although I tolerate raw goat milk I am going to try the coconut milk. It sounds like a good alternative and this recipe sound so good ~ I love mint and have it popping up all over the yard! Thanks!!!

  • 32 Michelle // Feb 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you! I have been wanting to make coconut milk ice cream for a long time, since tasting it in a vegan cafe! Your recipe inspired me to go buy an ice cream maker immediately!! I’m in the middle of making it now… just added the mint leaves! Goodness they make a tasty natural mint taste! Can’t wait till tomorrow when my icecream maker base will be cold enough to make the icecream mmmmm

  • 33 Gluten Free Sunbutter Ice Cream Recipe | Gluten Free Recipes - Elana's Pantry // Dec 20, 2010 at 2:02 am

    […] cream recipes you might like: -Chocolate POMerdoodle Ice Cream from Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily -Fresh Mint Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Cane-Sugar-Free) from Sally of Approvchar -Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream (gluten free, dairy vegan, vegan) from Ellen […]

  • 34 Xintia Preda // Jan 25, 2011 at 8:15 am

    My kitchen smells divine right now… I am in the middle of making it, I am waiting for it to cool down. I’ve tasted it and it’s really, really yummy! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us 🙂

  • 35 Nathan Ferguson // Feb 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Would this work with honey instead of Agave Syrup? We have this digestion diet going on so no Agave Syrup for us.

  • 36 sally // Feb 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Nathan, it might change how firm the final ice cream gets, and it will alter the final product’s taste a bit, but it will still taste great with honey.

  • 37 Nathan Ferguson // Feb 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Thanks sally! Also, about how many cups is one can of coconut milk? Because I know that cans aren’t always the same size

  • 38 Nathan Ferguson // Feb 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Hey, I just finished making this. It’s nice and creamy (Even with the honey instead of Agave syrup). So You might want to add to the instructions saying that honey will also work. Although personally, I don;t think 1 Cup of honey is enough. I’ll try a cup and a half next time.
    THANKS 😀

  • 39 dawn // Apr 14, 2011 at 3:39 am

    please can you clarify the measurements on the mint ice cream please,what does c stand for?
    many thanks

  • 40 sally // Apr 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Dawn–‘C’ means cup.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • 41 Susan // May 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Other than agave syrup or honey, what other natural sweetner would you use. I don’t want to use equal or any of that bad stuff. Thank you.

  • 42 Heather // Jun 2, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Looks yummy! Have you tried making ice cream with xylitol, erythritol, stevia, or luo han guo powder at all? I was also wondering where you buy your chocolate chips?


  • 43 sally // Jun 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Hi, Heather. No, I don’t use any of those as sweeteners. Other than luo han guo, which I have never heard of, stevia is the only one I would consider, and it tastes bitter to me and makes me fairly jittery. I have used pureed dates in coconut milk ice cream–makes it more like frozen pudding, but that’s not a bad thing! Honey also works.

  • 44 Dairy Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe | Elana's Pantry // Jul 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    […] are some more dairy free ice cream recipes from other food bloggers: -Fresh Mint Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan, Cane-Sugar-Free) from Sally of Aprovechar -Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream (Dairy-Free and Vegan) from Alta of […]

  • 45 thebrightages // Jul 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I want to know, what would be a great substitute for the avocado? I’m allergic to avocado. Thanks for your suggestions in advance.

  • 46 sally // Jul 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    You can omit the avocado. It just won’t be quite as creamy, but it’ll still be good.

  • 47 To Happy Vegans » Blog Archive » Sunday Sugar Free Sundae // Aug 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    […] last flavour is mint based on this recipe here which uses coconut milk, fresh mint and avocado. I didn’t use an ice cream maker but used the […]

  • 48 Livvy // Jun 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Sally, Looks like a wonderful recipe! I’m just wondering what type of Ice Cream maker you used?

  • 49 sally // Jun 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Livvy, we just use one passed down in my husband’s family–nothing fancy.

  • 50 Margaret // Jul 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I see a previous question about the quantity of coconut milk, but I don’t see the answer. Can you please clarify that? I have two can sizes in my cupboard, and am anxious to make this!

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