Sugar pie, honey bunch. You know that I love you. I can’t help myself…I can’t make ice cream without hiding veggies! Okay, no more quoting The Temptations (there are plenty of other pop culture references I can make), but you know me…you know where there is green, there are greens, and this isn’t called Green Monster Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream for no reason. Right now it’s over 100 degrees in Los Angeles and I’m just not ready to say goodbye to summer without the crisp cooling flavor of mint and chocolate swirled together into a creamy duet.
This is one of those recipes you need a high speed blender for since we are going to use uncooked veggies. Without a high speed blender you will taste the spinach because the texture will not be smooth. I’d like to say I’ve gotten a smooth texture without it, but I haven’t. You will have to omit the spinach if you don’t have a high speed blender, or significantly reduce the portion and blend first with the milk.
This is one of my fam’s favorite recipes. The first time I served it, I didn’t even mention there were veggies because you just can’t tell. By the time it’s whipped and pureed in, you just don’t notice. But who can resist knowing they are getting a full serving of veggies with their dessert once they do know? And since I put the spinach in raw, it’s like you are eating a salad!
Nutrition in 1 Cup Spinach
30 mg Calcium
.81 g Iron
24 mg Magnesium
167 mg potassium
2813 IUs Vit A
58 mg folate
There is more nutrition (like vitamin C!), but those are the major ones. Besides the spinach, I love that you are absolutely getting your creamy flavor fix with no dairy.♥
Some important notes and variations for this ice cream:
- Why I didn’t use fresh mint: Since I am already pureeing a cup of fresh spinach leaves into this ice cream, I opted not to add any fresh mint since I was nervous about texture. However, feel free to use fresh mint instead of the extract and let me know how it turns out! I just think the nutrition in spinach far outweighs mint. You could also opt to replace the spinach with mint.
- Extracts: Every bottle of peppermint extract I tried seemed to have a different strength. This recipe is based on a Trader Joe’s peppermint extract, but feel free to trade that in for any mint extract, just add slowly and with frequent tastings.
- Making Ice Cream Without a Maker: Before I had my ice cream maker (which I LOVE!!!), I frequently made ice cream anyway, it just took longer (half hour vs. about 6 hours). The important things I have found are to make sure there is enough air for a creamy texture and enough stirring to prevent crystallization. I have accomplished this a couple of ways:
- Make the blend of ingredients ahead of time (minus the nut milk), put into ice cube trays, then puree the cubes with the milk on the frozen dessert cycle in a high-speed blender. Put it back into the freezer until the desired consistency.
- OR: Pour into a large freezer container (I like using a bread pan for ice cream since long is better than tall for even freezing) and stir every 30-60 minutes to get all the crystallized edges into the center every stir. Your goal is to freeze the ice cream evenly.
- Making Ice Cream WITH a Maker: I can make this ice cream in about 30-40 minutes total. Since my ice cream maker is a little smaller than most, I took half of it out after it was soft-serve, put it in my freezer containers for later (and to gift!), then ate the rest when it finished freezing. That way, everything freezes evenly. Don’t forget that liquid expands when it freezes, so if you don’t have room…that’s why.
- Alcohol helps with ice crystals: Usually I will add up to a tablespoon of an alcohol in all my ice cream to keep it from freezing. This time I used peppermint schnapps, but you can also use vodka or any alcohol. I try to keep the alcohol neutral unless I want to taste it.
- 1 cup cashews, soaked
- 1/2 cup soft-dried dates
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp vanilla
- 2 tsp peppermint schnapps (the alcohol helps with ice crystals)
- up to 1 tbsp mint extract (I used a full tablespoon of peppermint extract, but every extract is different, do a little at a time and taste it frequently!)
- about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (to taste)
- Puree all the ingredients together in a high speed blender until completely smooth (I used the "smoothie" mode on my Vitamix)
- Follow the directions for without an ice cream maker above, or according to the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker
- Add the chocolate chips once it has a "soft-serve" texture
In the picture I used a magic shell drizzle and it’s super easy! Just stir the ingredients (I would cut the recipe in half unless you want to freeze some chocolate bars like I do) for my chocolate cups and drizzle it on.
Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream would also taste amazing on top of my chocolate mug cake which also uses the same chocolate recipe for the lava center.