Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The best vegan low-fat vanilla ice cream I have made so far is from a recipe in Ariana Bundy’s book Sweet Alternative. The recipe is creamier and lower in fat than most because it uses two magic ingredients; agar agar and dairy-free powdered milk.  These two may not be hanging around in your kitchen pantry, but don’t let that stop you. Agar agar is seaweed-derived vegan gelatin that prevents the ice cream from becoming icy or hard in spite of a lack of fat (in this case dairy cream). You can find agar agar in the powder or flake form at Asian food markets (if you live in LA, check out my recommended markets), at Whole Foods or similar specialty sellers, or online. Don’t buy the stick form of agar agar — I tried it and it doesn’t work as well. For the dairy-free powdered milk, I use Better Than Milk Vegan Beverage Mix, which I bought on Amazon, but Ariana uses Vance’s Darifree milk powder. If you buy it online in a two-pack, you will find the surplus handy for making iced lattes, sunbutter truffles, or dairy-free milk when you run out.

This recipe can be used as a foundation to make other flavors. To adapt this recipe, just replace a portion of the milk with any other liquid or fruit puree you choose to add. For an example of this substitution, see my post for Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

From Ariana Bundy’s book Sweet Alternative

1 Vanilla Pod

675 ml/3 cups rice milk or almond milk (I use rice)

115 g /1/2 cup unrefined sugar

2 tbs grapeseed oil or ghee (can use any kind of light oil)

45 g /1/4 cup Better Than Milk Vegan Beverage Mix (rice milk powder)

1/2 tbs agar agar*  flakes (or 1 tsp agar agar powder)

Mix the vanilla pod, milk, sugar, oil and water in pan and heat to a boil. Lower the heat and add the agar agar and cook for 2 min, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from the heat, add the rice milk powder and whisk again, making sure there are no lumps. Chill the mixture in the fridge. It may jell and look like pudding but simply whisk or mix with an immersion blender to liquefy. Process in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture for a few hours until hard, the cut it up into chunks and whiz it in a food processor until smooth. Then refreeze for another hour.

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