Today looks like the first day of Spring. Theoretically, I love Spring – the air is fresh, the skies are blue and the flowers are blooming, it’s lovely! The only problem is… I’m allergic to it. Who else has hayfever? Have your symptoms kicked in yet?
But despite the sneezing and puffy eyes, I’m really enjoying this weather. I was even inspired to make ice cream!
…A vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream which makes a wonderful palette cleansing dessert – and the mint also acts as a natural decongestant (bonus for the hayfever sufferers!) The ice cream is coconut milk based and those who are familiar with my blog, know how much I love coconut milk ice cream :-) But there is another surprising ingredient in this ice cream… Promise you won’t run away when I tell you what it is??
It’s spinach! Yes, I put spinach in ice cream but I’m not a monster, I swear! The spinach is added to give that natural green colour but trust me- you cannot taste it at all. But you can feel completely smug about eating something as healthy as spinach in your dessert. It’s win win!
And seeing as this is a green dessert, I’ll take this opportunity to mention St Patrick’s Day which is on it’s way soon. Do any of you celebrate or “go green” for the occasion? I’m from an Irish family and I’m ashamed to say I don’t do an awful lot on the day, usually. Other than, perhaps, enjoy some Irish whiskey and wear something green…
- Approx 80g baby leaf spinach
- 3 x 400ml cans of coconut milk - chilled in the fridge for at least 3 hours
- (optional) 1 heaped tbsp coconut flour
- 180ml honey or maple syrup
- 1½ tbsp peppermint extract
- 150g chocolate chips
- Place spinach in a blender with a few tbsp of water, just enough to make it blend. Mix until smooth and transfer the juice to a small saucepan. Cook on a medium heat, uncovered, until the liquid has been reduced and you are left with a thick puree. Leave to cool completely.
- Make sure the coconut milk is chilled until the fat is separated. Discard the liquid left in the can (or save to add to a curry!) and keep the thick, coconut cream.
- Using a food mixer, or a bowl and a whisk, mix a small amount of the coconut cream with 1 tbsp of the spinach puree and (optional) coconut flour until thick and smooth. It should be a nice green colour! The coconut flour helps thicken it but isn't strictly necessary.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (apart from the chocolate chips) and whip until a smooth, creamy mixture is formed.
- Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions. Add the chocolate chips during the churning.
- Once churned, transfer to a shallow, freezer safe container and let it set in the freezer for at least a few hours before serving. Enjoy!
For more delicious ice cream recipes that are vegan, paleo-friendly and free from refined sugars, check out my book – Coconut Milk Ice Cream!