Raw Vegan Chocolate Cherry “Nice Cream”

November 3, 2007 at 6:22 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Dessert, Ice cream & toppings, Quick weeknight recipe, Website / blog) (, )

This is a great “nice cream” recipe. I make it often for Alma when she has a friend over and asks me for a treat. They happily scarf it up. It’s also my go-to recipe when I want something sweet and refreshing, but have no frozen desserts in the house. I almost always have bananas and sour cherrie sin my freezer, and chocolate in the pantry.


  • 2 frozen banana, chopped (about 220g)
  • 1 cup frozen cherries (I use frozen sour cherries)
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter (about 32g, hazelnut butter is also good)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (I omit this)
  • 2 large pinches of sea salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cacao nibs (optional, or add 2 tsp. cocoa powder or two squares of dark chocolate)


  1. Process all ingredients except cacao nibs in food processor until combined into a smooth consistency, similar to soft-serve ice cream. Add nibs or dark chocolate squares and pulse to incorporate. Either enjoy right away or allow to set briefly in freezer until firm.

Note from the creator (not me): This is just a method, so feel free to experiment with a variety of different flavors. I also make a strawberry version by swapping out the cherries for strawberries, the almond butter for cashew butter, and leaving out the cocoa powder(/cacao nibs). The other night I made a cinnamon peach flavor topped with raw almond slices, and I’ve also been known to make a “banilla” (banana vanilla) flavor. The options are limitless.

My Notes:

This recipe came to me from the Goneraw website, via an acquaintance who eats 90% raw. She claimed it tastes like “real ice cream.” I didn’t care that much if it tasted like ice cream or not, but it sounded tasty so I thought I’d give it a go.

I finally got some frozen cherries ($9 for a bag, ouch!). The first thing I tasted was banana, no doubt about it. The second thing I tasted was “sweeeet!”. I don’t know why the recipe calls for the added agave nectar~my cherries and banana were super sweet. I did let my bananas get almost black before I froze them, which might explain their sugar load. Also, I think I accidentally used just 1/2 Tbs. of nut butter instead of a full Tbs., and macadamia/cashew instead of almond. Could that have made it super sweet?

The texture reminded me of melted sorbet, i.e. what sorbet is like when you walk home with it in your backpack from the Trader Joe’s that’s 2.5 miles from your house, on a summer day: cold but a little soupy, and not at all icy.

The flavor reminds me of this banana acai sorbet I used to get at Trader Joe’s which was fabulous (it’s much better than the sorbet brand they carry at whole foods in my opinion~better flavor and much less icy). The acai adds a little more chocolate flavor than the cocoa nibs though. If I make it again I’ll add the cocoa powder I think.

The amount of vanilla seemed high but I didn’t even notice it in the final product.

The cocoa nibs didn’t do anything for me (except give me 5mg of iron). They were just these crunchy tasteless bits that got in the way of me inhaling it instantly. On second thought, maybe that’s a good thing? Also, I couldn’t taste the cherries, which surprised me. I could definitely see them in the bright red color, but if I hadn’t known I put them in I’m not sure I would have been able to guess what fruit gave it its red hue.

P.S. Just licked the food processor~the melted stuff in the bottom of the bowl tasted less sweet, more alcoholic, more salty. I could *definitely* taste the vanilla and it was fab. I think that’s what it was supposed to taste like?

Okay, next time less ripe bananas, fold after processing, let sit for nibs to soften. Got it.


I made it again. Two nights in a row. This time I:
… made sure to use the full Tbs. of nut butter (macadamia/cashew again)
… used a little extra vanilla
… measured my salt using my “pinch” measuring spoon
… added my cocoa nibs during the blending process
… measured my cherries by weight (turns out 1/2 cup is actually much less than 1/2 cup according to the grams on the package)
… used slightly less banana, maybe equivalent to a small banana this time
… left out the agave nectar

With all that I liked it a lot better. The banana taste faded more (although banana haters note that it was still detectable), and it was less syrupy sweet. I even got a bit of chocolate flavor a few times. I gave Derek a bite without telling his what it was and he was repulsed, said it tasted horrible.  I didn’t really expect him to like it but neither did I expect such a strong negative reaction.

The one problem I have with this recipe is for the same number of calories I could eat:

… a whole banana
… a half cup of cherries
… a whole tablespoon of nut butter
… a square of chocolate

Okay, that sounds silly, right, but somehow I think if I ate all those things separately it would feel like so much more food than the blended up ice cream concoction which (even if you half of the recipe) seems like a measly cup of dessert. Granted, the individual items wouldn’t be nearly so tasty, but I think they would be much more filling. I think I could easily eat 6 servings of this stuff, but I doubt I would want to eat 3 bananas, 1.5 cups of cherries, and 3 Tablespoons of nut butter. In any case, here are the nutritional stats for 1/2 cup, which is a quarter of the recipe. The breakdown (with macadamia/cashew butter) is 62% carbs, 10% protein, 28% fat, 7% saturated fat.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 148
Total Fat 5.4g
Saturated Fat 1.1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 74mg
Carbohydrate 22.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Sugars 12.4g
Protein 2.2g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 1% Iron 15%

Lately I’ve been having trouble getting the ice cream to blend in my food processor, and I think it’s because I’ve been using my mini food processor bowl instead of the larger one. The first two times I made it I used the full size bowl and it worked much better. With the little bowl it seems that everything gets stuck and I have to add quite a bit of water to get it going, even though once it’s blended it fits fine in the mini bowl.

Update Dec 24:

This has become my goto recipe when I want something sweet and refreshing, but have no frozen desserts in the house. I find that the most important issues are:

  • use enough banana to make it sweet, but not enough that it tastes super banana-y (and leave out the agave nectar to avoid it being syrupy sweet)
  • get your cocoa nibs blended well, and let them sit in the ice cream long enough to soften them
  • use a mild enough nut butter that it adds creaminess without overwhelming the flavor
  • you really need to be able to taste the salt and vanilla, since otherwise it’s a bit bland. Unfortunately, I can only taste them about half the time, even when I use a little extra. I’m thinking it might work better to fold them in by hand at the end rather than adding them to the food processor with the other ingredients, but I haven’t tried this yet.

Also, if anyone wants it, here is the info for the raw cocoa beans. I assume cocoa nibs are pretty similar by weight.

Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 171
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 15mg
Carbohydrate 8g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 0% Iron 314%

Check out that iron. Wowza!


  1. austingardener said,

    When you made it for me I was delightfully surprised by the good texture. I am glad you posted the recipe so I can make it at home.

  2. Teri said,

    Loved your detailed description of the process and flavor of the ice cream, and it pretty much answered all my questions without having to make it. Thanks.

  3. Homemade ice cream « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] make a no-sugar ice cream using bananas, frozen cherries, cream, and coconut nibs, inspired by this raw vegan chocolate cherry ice cream recipe.   Unfortunately, I didn’t follow a recipe and the texture ended up extremely icy. […]

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