This one’s for the almond lovers in the house (myself included!). With toasted almonds, almond butter, and almond extract (optional but highly recommended!) for triple the almond-y goodness.
For an extra-rich treat, add in three tablespoons of cocoa powder (@ step #3) to make Chocolate Toasted Almond Banana Ice Cream. Go ahead, do it! This “dessert” is still healthy enough to eat for breakfast.
(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)
1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted
4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
1/2 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar or another vegan sweetener, if needed
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed
1. Lightly toast the almonds. Set aside to cool.
2. Place the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!
Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.
Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.
3. Add the almond butter and almond and vanilla extracts and pulse until blended. Sample the batter and add extra almond butter and/or extracts to taste. If the ice cream isn’t sweet enough, add a little sweetener. Add the toasted almond and pulse just enough to break them up a little.
4. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).
DIY Non-Dairy Milk
You can make a variety of plant-based “milks” by blending raw nuts, seeds, and grains with water. Almonds, cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, coconuts, soybeans, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sacha inchi seeds, flaxseeds, quinoa, millet, rice, and oats can all be liquefied into delicious milks. Homemade milks are fresh, free of additives and preservatives, and you can completely control the integrity of the product: the quality of the ingredients, the sugar levels, and the texture.
“Milking” raw nuts, seeds, and grains is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:
SOAK nuts, seeds, or grains by placing in a bowl with filtered water and a pinch of sea salt. Soaking removes enzyme inhibitors, improves digestibility and nutrient bio-availability, and helps everything blend more easily. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
BLEND with filtered water. A high-speed machine like a Vitamix is preferable to really pulverize the mixture. A 1:3 ration of nuts/seeds/grains to water generally yields good results. Start with 2 cups of water and gradually add more water until you get the taste and consistency you like. Blend for about 1 minute. This can warm the mixture. Chill in the fridge, or blend with ice to consume immediately.
SWEETEN the milk to taste with pitted dates, stevia, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc. You can also add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost flavors, and 1 tablespoon of NON-GM soy or sunflower lecithin and coconut butter to emulsify ingredients. You can also jazz up your milks with raw cacao, fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, or anything else that tickles your fancy.
STRAIN Some foods like cashews, macadamias, and pecans yield smooth milks. However, with most other foods, like almonds, you will get some texture. You can enjoy this fibrous milk, or strain it for a smoother, more commercial-style blend. Place a nut milk bag over a large container, pour the milk in, and gently squeeze the bag until all liquid has passed through. You can re-purpose the pulp as a body scrub by mixing with some coconut oil, or dehydrate it for use in cookies, crusts, and crackers.
ENJOY Most milks will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for two or three days. Freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays for use later. Homemade milks can separate when stored. Just shake or blend again before drinking.
Basic Plant-Based “Milk”
1 cup nuts, grains, or seeds
3 cups filtered water
3 Tbs. plant based sweetener (such as maple syrup, raw agave, coconut sugar, or 3-4 pitted dates, or stevia to taste)
1 Tbs. coconut butter (optional, for texture)
1 Tbs. Non-GM soy or sunflower lecithin (optional, to emulsify and add creaminess)
1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
Pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional, to bring out flavors)
1. Soak nuts, grains, or seeds for desired time. See suggested times below.
2. Drain nuts, grains, or seeds. Rinse, and then place in blender with 3 cups filtered water. Add remaining ingredients, and blend on high until fully liquefied, about 1 minute.
4. If consuming immediately, add a few ice cubes to cool milk.
5. Strain with a nut milk bag, if desired. Milk will keep for two days stored in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.
Makes 3-4 cups milk.
(Originally by Tess Masters.)
Soaking time varies by hardness of nut or seed. Here are some more specific guide times for soaking the grains, nuts and seeds (with sprouting times when making sprouts):
Food Soaking Time (Hrs) Sprouting Time (Days)
Almonds 8-12 No Sprouting
Adzuki Beans 8-12 4
Amaranth 8 1-3
Barley 6 2
Black Beans 8-12 3
Brazil Nuts 3 No Sprouting
Buckwheat 6 2-3
Cashews 2-4 No Sprouting Chickpeas/Garbanzo 8 2-3
Flaxseeds ½ No Sprouting
Hazelnuts 8-12 No Sprouting
Kamut 7 2-3
Lentil Beans 7 2-3
Macadamias 2 No Sprouting
Millet 5 12 hours
Mung Beans 8-12 4
Oat Groats 6 2-3
Pecans 6 No Sprouting
Pistachios 8 No Sprouting
Pumpkin Seeds 8 3
Radish Seeds 8-12 3-4
Sesame Seeds 8 2-3
Sunflower Seeds 8 12-24 hours
Quinoa 4 2-3
Walnuts 4 No Sprouting
Wheat Berries 7 3-4
Wild Rice 9 3-5