Creamy banana ice cream that tastes like a pina colada! The base is made of frozen coconut milk, banana, and pineapple for a light and healthy dessert.
With all of the lip service given to tacos and burritos this week in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to go a different route and give you some “ice cream.” The catch? It doesn’t actually contain any dairy and is loaded with healthy fats. That’s reason enough to throw on your sombrero, crack open a cerveza, and celebrate this fun-filled holiday.
At first glance, the nutrition label may make you wonder what I’m talking about in calling coconut milk healthy since the primary fat type is saturated, which we all know at this point is a nutrition no-no. The type of saturated fat in coconut milk is different than the type in animal products though. In this recipe I used BPA free canned regular coconut milk, which has less added chemicals than aseptic cartons and is thicker and better for cooking than the fresh packed watered down drinking versions like So Delicious and Silk.
Even if it is full of healthy fat, the calories make this a treat and not an every day recipe (at least for those of us working our tooshies off for swimsuit season!). In the future I will probably use low fat coconut milk, but hey, its Cinco de Mayo, which means we get to go full fat since we’re celebrating something, right?
Since we are already talking about nutrition and food labels, I want to share an article my sister sent me last week with an interesting take on preventing age induced epidemics, like Alzheimer’s, that most of us readily accept are just an unpreventable side effect of getting older. I think the next decade is going to be full of de-bunking dietary assumptions and getting down to the bottom of what needs to change in the American diet. Today’s school-age children are the first generation in modern times projected to have shorter life expectancies than their parents and I can’t help but believe that this societal shift is preventable.
In my day job as an energy efficiency consultant, I tour factories and try to help them become more energy efficient (well, in a nutshell). This has been a truly eye-opening experience into how products get from raw materials to our doors, and in the case of foods, into our bellies. I know after getting this inside sneak peek into how food is made, I am more motivated than ever to avoid overly processed items and pay more attention to where food comes from. The way some food is made is just plain gross (ahem – hamburger I’m talking to you).
I’m by no means a dietician or expert on the topic, but health and nutrition is something I spend quite a bit of time reading about and am always aiming improve on. The more I learn, the more driven I am to eat a *mostly* plant-based diet. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ll probably never give up ice cream or bacon and won’t become a full-on vegetarian at any point in my life. And you may disown me for this… but in my opinion, this is okay. These days, when I eat brie, chocolate, gelato, steak, and all of the delicious treats that make life awesome, I try to avoid mindlessly stuff my face and focus on savoring and enjoying what I’m eating. I usually eat some kind of treat/cheat food every day, I just try to make it a small one on *most* days. There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the 80/20 rule, which I loosely try to follow. To me, this means that 80% of what I eat should be healthy, clean, and non-processed, and the other 20% allows for some wiggle room.
Of course, I still have days where I indulge more than I should, but my intent is to make this an exception and not the norm by being conscious about what I eat. Our diets are a journey not a destination. We are what we eat and this journey should be focused on progress and growth and above all things, balance.
Okay, now I’ll jump off my soap box and get back to the topic at hand – awesome pina colada banana ice cream! Made from coconut milk and banana, this is a dessert you can give yourself a pat on the back after and how many ice creams can you say that about? Wikipedia tells me that pina coladas actually originated in Puerto Rico, but for today can we pretend they are from Mexico and that this qualifies as a semi-authentic Cinco de Mayo desert? I drank several last year on Cinco de Mayo in Mexico so I’m gonna go head and say that counts…
If you’re looking for a dinner recipe to make as a precursor to this rich, creamy banana ice cream, try these butternut squash enchiladas, pork carnitas tacos, or if you’re in a hurry, this black bean quinoa casserole is a tasty option. However you decide to celebrate this holiday (of questionable origin), ending on a sweet note that won’t tip the scale is always a welcome reward for any meal.
- 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz.)
- 4 bananas - ripe but not overly brown
- ½ cup pineapple
- ⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
- Slice bananas into ¼ - ½ inch pieces and cut pineapple into similar sized pieces. Pour coconut milk into an ice cube tray. Put pineapple, banana pieces, and coconut milk into freezer and freeze for 2 hours until mostly solid, but not rock-hard.
- Remove from freezer and add frozen pieces to food processor or high-power blender. Blend until creamy. Add toasted coconut and pulse once to mix into ice cream.
- Either serve immediately as a soft serve type ice cream or re-freeze in a bread pan for a more solid version. If re-freezing, remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving and allow to sit on countertop to make scooping easier.