Vegan Coconut Pistachio Ice Cream

Cost: $

Prep Time: 2 days (including chill time)

Special equipment: ice cream maker

Two weeks ago, I finally finished up eight consecutive years of college. I’m on sort-of vacation (the kind where I now just have a job instead of school and a job), the sun is out, the birds are singing, and the bumble bees are visiting all the new flowers in our garden. I want some ice cream.


My parents gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday, but I was born in February so it hasn’t seen much action yet. I’ve tried a couple of recipes but only made ice blocks instead of ice cream. After some research, I learned that sugar actually plays a role in how ice cream freezes. That was kind of a bummer for me because I shouldn’t be eating any kind of refined sugar and only a very limited amount of other sweeteners. I’m now in month four of being very strict with myself when it comes to sugar: no refined sugar of any sort, no honey (another vegan issue I might get into later but not today), no alcohol, and only a very small amount of fruit (a few berries, half of a banana). I also abstained from stevia and other sweetening alternatives because I am a little suspicious of them.


But now it’s summer and I love snacks.

For this recipe, I used half of a cup of Lundberg’s Sweet Dreams Organic Brown Rice Syrup instead of other sweeteners. Now, I can’t have the entire quart of ice cream that this recipe yields, but I can have a small scoop every once in a while. Organic brown rice syrup, even though it sounds nice and healthy, is still a syrup and still has a fairly high point placement on the glycemic index. If you don’t want to use it, feel free to substitute it with honey or maple syrup.

The flavor here is light and summery. This recipe is also really customizable. Add chocolate, fruit, nuts…whatever you like. I added pistachios, a tiny bit of rose water, and vanilla.

Vegan Coconut Pistachio Ice Cream

(adapted from The Kitchn’s Dreamy Dairy-Free Vegan Ice Cream)

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder)
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios
  • 1-2 teaspoons rose water
  1. Make sure your ice cream maker is chilling in the freezer!
  2. Scoop out the coconut milk into a bowl, mixing it with a whisk to incorporate the liquid from the solid if they separated.
  3. Set aside 1/2 cup of coconut milk and pour the rest into a saucepancocopistache4
  4. Add the salt and sweetener
  5. Warm the coconut milk on the stove until the salt and sweetener have completely mixed into the coconut milk
  6. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and whisk until completely incorporated. Do not add this to the coconut milk on the stove until you’re sure that the starch has dissolved. Otherwise, you will have clumps. Add to the warmed mixture on the stove and whisk together.cocopistache5
  7. Heat the base until thickened. This takes about 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil, but I did let mine bubble a bit and it turned out fine. Turn stove off.
  8. Add the vanilla and rosewater, pour into a heat-safe container and let it chill overnight.
  9. Chop the pistachios into small-ish piecescocopistache3
  10. Begin churning the ice cream once the base is completely chilled. It should resemble a custard when it’s totally chilled. cocopistache6
  11. Churn the ice cream until it looks like soft-serve. Mix in the pistachios and pour into a freezer-safe container. Let it chill for another 4 hours or so.
  12. Serve!



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