Healthy Green “Ice Cream” – Paleo, Whole30, Vegan
Do you remember when the movie Shrek first came out and Burger King started giving out packets of green ketchup instead of the standard red as part of their promotion? Thinking back on it now, it was kinda weird and gross. But I still remember it 20 years later, so it has that going for it, right? The thing is, kids typically love eating colorful things. But unfortunately green ketchup and many of the other colorful foods that are marketed to children are full of chemical dyes and usually many other nasty ingredients. But this healthy green “ice cream” has no dyes, no added sugar and gets it fun green color from… you guessed it, spinach!
I am always looking for ways to make healthier versions of the delicious foods we like to eat, because some is better than none, right?. So when my husband and I decided to take on a Whole30, what better time than to experiment with a healthy, fruit-filled, version of this beloved frozen classic. Now, just to be clear… on Whole30, ice cream is prohibited, even if made from compliant ingredients. So, for the sake of all the strict Whole30 rule-followers, let’s call this a smoothie bowl, which is totally allowed. Winning!
Only 5 ingredients and ready in 7 minutes or less!
This tropical healthy “ice cream” also known as “nice cream” is made with only 5 ingredients including 3 fruits and a veggie, so if you have trouble getting your kids to eat veggies (fruit is definitely not an issue in my house), I would totally recommend giving this a try. You cannot taste the spinach at all, but it gives the ice cream a fun green color that kids love. My six-year-old wanted to join us on Whole30, but he didn’t want to do the full 30 days, so he decided to join just the final 6 days and is calling it Whole6. And yes, he has requested these smoothie bowls at least once every day of his Whole6. So if you are wondering if this healthy green “ice cream”/smoothie bowl is kid approved, the answer is a resounding YES!
Can I substitute a different kind of fruit?
Yes! We have made these with a number of fruit combinations. I have made them with just pineapple + banana, or mango + blueberry + banana. I’m sure it would be great with strawberries, blackberries, peaches and more. You can even make them with just frozen banana, coconut milk and cocoa powder if you’re looking for a chocolatey version. I will say that the banana gives it smoothness and makes it nice and creamy, so I would hesitate to replace the banana, but if you try it, let me know how it turns out!
What kind of Coconut Milk should I use?
I like the full-fat unsweetened Thai kitchen coconut milk (affiliate link), but any approved coconut milk in a can should work. You could potentially use the kind from the carton, but it has a much higher water-to-coconut ratio, so it could make your ice cream a lot more runny.
Does the Banana need to be frozen?
This is personal preference and will depend on what you have available when you’re hangry for some ice cream now. (Ask me how I know) When I make it with frozen banana, the ice cream is thicker and holds up better on a spoon. With fresh bananas, the consistency is more like soft serve ice cream or a thick smoothie. Remember, you can also adjust the amount of coconut milk to get the consistency you like.
Can I make this Healthy Green “Ice Cream” in a blender?
Short answer: not really. Blenders are great for foods that are more of a liquid consistency. You could potentially make this as a smoothie bowl in a blender, but you will need to add more coconut milk to get it to blend properly, and the final result will not be thick like ice cream. I recommend the food processor if you have one because it is better at processing something this thick and creamy.
Healthy Green “Ice Cream”
- food processor
- 1 cup mango chunks frozen
- 1 cup pineapple chunks frozen
- 1 whole banana fresh or frozen (see notes)
- 1 handful spinach
- ¼-¾ cup coconut milk canned
- Place frozen mango and frozen pineapple in the bowl of your food processor.
- Put the lid on and process until ground. (It will be loud at first with the frozen chunks banging around in there, but once it processes for about a minute, everything will start to flow and it will quiet down).
- Add banana and spinach.
- Process again until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add coconut milk, a little at a time and process until desired consistency.
- Enjoy your healthy green "ice cream"!