I think I’ve mentioned before that strawberries were an important part of my childhood. I actually don’t have that many specific memories of being a kid, but the taste and smell of fresh strawberries is a vivid one. We had a strawberry patch in my backyard and I remember helping my mom pick the ripe ones. She’d hull the strawberries over the sink and make strawberry shortcake for dessert on hot, humid, summer nights. As a lover of strawberry desserts, I had to try my hand at making vegan strawberry ice cream. I am so pleased with the result! This strawberry basil ice cream contains a whole pound of ripe strawberries and it tastes just like summer in a dish.
Making vegan ice cream is somewhat of a science. The reason dairy-based ice cream is so smooth and creamy is because of its high fat content. Coconut milk is the closest in fat to dairy milk, but I know not everyone enjoys the taste. I made this strawberry basil ice cream with almond milk and a whole cup of cashews to achieve a rich texture without coconut and I think it makes a pretty great alternative.
Almond milk is watery compared to other non-dairy milks, so this ice cream freezes pretty quickly. After a spin in the ice cream maker, transfer it to a loaf pan or container with a lid and set it in the freezer to firm up for a few hours. I added some strawberry chunks in towards the end and I highly recommend it. There’s nothing like taking a bite of ice cream and getting an extra burst of strawberry flavor!
Basil offers such a clean and refreshing note on top of summer strawberries. It’s a winning combination in my book. You can scale the basil up or down depending on how forward you want the flavor to be. While this recipe takes some time between freezing the ice cream maker bowl and letting the ice cream set in the freezer, it’s totally worth the effort.
One last note: I added a tablespoon of vodka to this vegan ice cream to prevent it from becoming rock hard in the freezer. You absolutely cannot taste the vodka, but if you'd prefer an alcohol-free version, just omit it.Print
This Strawberry Basil Ice Cream contains a whole pound of fresh, ripe strawberries and tastes just like summer. It's also dairy-free and vegan!
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 16-oz. carton of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped (plus extra for mixing in)
- ¼ cup monkfruit (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, finely chopped
- Before you start, make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is completely chilled. If it’s not, place it in the freezer overnight.
- Combine the soaked cashews, almond milk, strawberries, monkfruit (or sugar), maple syrup, vodka, lemon juice, and salt in a high speed blender.
- Blend for 2 to 3 minutes (or 4 to 5 minutes if you’re using a regular blender) to ensure the sugar dissolves and the mixture is completely smooth. Add a touch more maple syrup for more sweetness or lemon juice to brighten the overall flavor.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and flip it on. If you’re adding strawberry chunks to your ice cream, chop those now. I added ½ cup, but the amount is totally up to you.
- Let your ice cream maker run for 20 minutes; the ice cream will thicken as it chills. In the last five minutes, add the extra strawberry pieces (if using) and the finely chopped basil.
- Scoop the ice cream into a loaf pan or Tupperware container. If using a loaf pan, wrap it completely with aluminum foil. Place the ice cream in your freezer to chill for at least 4 hours.
- Take the ice cream out of your freezer 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve it. Scoop into bowls or cones and enjoy!
Prep time does not include time to soak cashews overnight. Cook time indicates the amount of time needed to let the ice cream firm up in the freezer.