It’s hard to resist the charms of ice cream. Nobody prevents us from enjoying them all year round, but now is when they most want; They are very refreshing and have that special something that makes us go back to the summer vacations of childhood. Today we know that industrial ice creams are loaded with sugars and fats, but we have healthier alternatives to do at home.
And since we do not want anyone to be left without their ice cream whim, we propose ideas for light ice creams that can be made in a jiffy without too many complications, even without having a special refrigerator or machine. With few ingredients it is very easy to prepare delicious healthy ice cream and some lighter homemade version that will make us forget about trademarks.
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1. Natural yogurt ice cream (or frozen yogurt)
A good quality natural yogurt It is a great base for preparing all kinds of recipes, especially creamy desserts. When I was a child we liked to stick spoons directly into the yogurt lid to freeze it as is; now I take the trouble to whip it up a bit with some fruit and fill ice lolly molds, but the idea is the same.
In addition to poles can be made slightly creamy ice cream using a yogurt base, better if it is Greek – real Greek, without added creams or thickeners. You can use skimmed, although with whole yogurt they will come out creamier, and they are also more nutritious.
You just have to drain the serum, beat it well to make it creamy and add a little vanilla essence, lemon zest or some spice. To sweeten it we can use a little syrup or invert sugar, which helps to avoid the formation of crystals, but being moderate. Although I prefer to sacrifice texture so as not to add sugar, I like to incorporate fruit more.
Yogurt can be mixed with pieces of very sweet and aromatic fresh fruit, or Prepare a mashed fruit puree and combine it creating swirls, which will give a nice chromatic effect. With the mixture ready, it only remains to pour it into a square or rectangular container, and freeze.
If in the time it takes to freeze -about three hours-, we bother every 30 minutes to beat the mixture with a mixer or fork, we will achieve a better final texture. With a good food processor you can get a creamy ice cream instantly, by crushing the frozen fruit and yogurt, as in this recipe for cherry ice cream.
2. Watermelon sorbet (and other fruits)
I have had unpleasant surprises drinking straws outside the home. I always understood that they were fruit, water and sugar preparationsBut it seems that many brands and some ice cream parlors also add dairy ingredients. Bad business if you are lactose intolerant.
At home we can make the simplest straw using a good natural fruit base. I love watermelon because it is very sweet, aromatic and with a high water content, so we can simply crush it and freeze it without the need for anything else.
I have also tried freeze diced watermelon and crush them directly to have a very refreshing instant sorbet. It is very easy if we have an American-type blender or a food processor / mincer.
Here you have the most professional watermelon sorbet recipe, with a light syrup, but also it will be very rich without adding any sugar if the fruit is of good quality. With zest or citrus juice – I love lime – we will have an even more refreshing flavor.
The same technique can be applied to almost any other fruit aromatic and sweet, such as pineapple, mango, melon, papaya or peach. Others, like green apple or raspberries, will give us a very refreshing acid point.
What’s more we can incorporate yogurt to the mixture to give it a slightly creamier texture, as in this recipe for red fruit ice cream. In this case, Carmen crushed all the frozen fruit, froze the mixture in an ice bucket and crushed everything again just before serving. It is another technique that we can replicate with the fruit that we like the most.
3. Creamy ice creams with a frozen banana base
What great discovery It was the creamy ice cream with only two ingredients! I had already tasted how delicious it is just to mash frozen ripe banana, but adding a little peanut butter gives a much richer texture.
Now that the bananas ripen very quickly, don’t throw them away: take the opportunity to peel, cut and freeze them in individual bags to prepare healthy ice creams at the moment. You can go playing with everything you want, since it is a recipe to take instantly and you can try it on the fly until you find the perfect combination.
These are some examples of possible recipes for ice cream with a banana base:
- Frozen banana + vegetable butter / cream (peanut, almond, cashew, walnut …).
- Frozen banana + frozen cherries + neutral chocolate chips.
- Frozen banana + cocoa + chopped hazelnuts.
- Frozen banana + frozen strawberries + orange zest.
- Frozen banana + 2 dates + tahini + vanilla.
- Frozen banana + coffee + almond milk.
- Frozen banana + frozen apple + cinnamon.
- Frozen banana + smoothie fresh cheese + frozen red berries.
4. Simple fruit slush
To make a traditional homemade granita normally we mix liquid ingredients with a syrup or invert sugar. If we do not have a refrigerator and we want a good texture, we must take it to the freezer and break the ice crystals every half hour, before it freezes completely. It is the technique used in the lemon slush or the rich coffee slush.
We can make them lighter by reducing the amount of syrup or sugar as much as possible, and we also have the option of serving an almost instant fruit slush. It is as simple as preparing a juice or a smoothie of the fruit that we want and crush it with ice.
It will be of great help to have a powerful kitchen robot such as Magimix Cook Expert or Thermomix, but it can also be made with a mincer or a good blender. Another option is to use already crushed ice, combining everything until obtaining a homogeneous texture.
The lemon granita is a classic, but it can be prepared almost whatever we want. Watermelon, melon, peach, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, cherries, orange, red berries … If we use naturally sweet fruit we will not miss the added sugar.
5. Creamy ice creams with healthy fats
The creamy and honeyed texture that we like so much in a good ice cream is the most difficult point to achieve at home. To achieve this, several factors intervene, such as the sugar content, the incorporation of air or the machinery used. And a key element of the ice creams are the fatty ingredients.
Traditionally an ice cream contains cream, whole milk and egg yolk, and may also include vegetable fats, condensed milk, evaporated milk or butter. Although fatty dairy, taken in small amounts from time to time, doesn’t have to be the devil, we can replace them by other more heart-healthy fats that will help to obtain that irresistible texture.
Nut and seed butters or creams – such as tahini – are a good option, very energetic but very nutritious and healthy, in moderate amounts. Also we can play with the avocado, camouflaging its green color with, for example, cocoa powder, or giving it all directly with an avocado ice cream. It can be combined with frozen banana, yogurt or some vegetable drink to soften its flavor.
Another option is coconut milk, being aware that it is still a very caloric ingredient and that it has its advantages and disadvantages. In the market there are different types with different fat contentIt is a matter of testing and adjusting to taste. The truth is that it gives fantastic results, as this recipe for pineapple and coconut milk ice cream shows, with only two ingredients.
6. Protein ice creams
Now that protein-rich foods continue to be a trend, we can apply their principles to ice cream recipes. It is not necessary to invest in protein powder preparations -unless we are athletes and we are interested in adding them to our diet as a supplement-, there are common high protein ingredients great to add to ice cream.
There are more protein-rich yogurts that can be especially interesting, such as skyr guy or a good natural greek. A very easy substitute to find in any supermarket is the low-fat whipped fresh cheese and its close cousins: quark cheese, cottage cheese or cottage cheese.
We have the vegan alternative in the silky tofu, a very creamy product ideal for making desserts, which has hardly any flavor and can be combined with fruits, cocoa, nuts, vanilla or vegetable milks. The already named nut creams, or their ground version, are also rich in protein, and we can use vegetable “creams” made from oats, rice, soybeans or quinoa.
The other great food staple fitness, the egg white, will be perfect for adding creaminess to our ice creams. For this we have to beat a few whites -better if they are pasteurized- until they are assembled almost to the point of snow to incorporate them into the base of our ice cream. This will freeze with a better texture.
7. Healthy popsicles to everyone’s taste
Whoever seeks the minimum complication to prepare homemade ice cream only needs a few reusable polo molds. There are a thousand shapes and sizes, and millions of possible combinations. We have many recipes for homemade popsicles for all tastes to start playing with; encourage us to try different flavors at home.
It can freeze crushed fruit as is, combined with milk or vegetable drinks, yogurt or skim cheese. Juices and other liquids such as coconut water are also very good, better if we combine them with small fruits such as blueberries, cherries or raspberries. Very colorful poles will come out if we alternate layers of different fruits or we make eddies.
Any liquid or semi-liquid preparation It can be frozen in ice lolly molds: milk with cocoa, custard cream, homemade juices or smoohies, yogurt with fruit, smoothies, etc. I even remember rice pudding from my childhood, so there are no limits to my imagination.
8. Frozen snacks
If we don’t have molds of …