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Vanilla Nice Cream

March 12, 2016 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Do you find yourself seeking a sweet treat in the evening and reaching for a bowl of ice cream? It’s a really delicious way to end the day but ice cream is really high in saturated fat and added sugar. This nutritional profile doesn’t work for a lot of my clients, so I developed this delicious Vanilla Nice Cream which is for adults and kids alike.

There may be times you are craving something sweet, but may not want a sugar laden treat. My clients are trying to cut back on sugar for lots of reasons – weight loss, cancer treatment, blood sugar management, and to lower inflammation. If you follow my work, you know that I’m not about taking things OUT of the diet; instead, I want a replacement that you also enjoy but that better helps you meet your health goals.  Vanilla Nice Cream is perfect for all these situations and more.

‘Nice cream’ at its core is just frozen banana blended up until it’s the consistency of ice cream. However, bananas have absolutely no fat and no added sugar yet they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. 

I love ‘healthy’ to be easy so keeping peeled bananas in the freezer so you can whip up a batch of nice cream any time the craving hits. This Vanilla Nice Cream can be dressed up with toppings, or made heartier, sweeter, or more complex with whatever you want to throw in the blender. I’m guessing that if you just keep it simple, you’ll love it, too! Here are some tips on how to make the recipe:

Picking your ingredients:

Bananas: The riper the better. Take some of those bananas you were saving for banana bread, peel them, wrap them in plastic and store them in the freezer. Riper bananas will have more natural sugars and a better texture for blending. A note: bananas soften as they age because the proportion of water-soluble fiber, pectin, increases as they ripen.

Bananas are a great choice for sweet treats as they are packed with nutrients and sweetness, but still have a low glycemic index because of their high fiber. Bananas have two beneficial types of fiber: non-soluble fiber which your body can’t break down, but is used as fuel in the digestive process by good bacteria which could help improve gut health. It also contains pectin, which, since it’s water-soluble fiber will add bulk to digestive waste and help keep the gut moving and happy. Bananas are also rich in vitamin B6, C, and potassium, which is important to manage blood pressure balance. 

Vanilla: Vanilla comes from the vanilla bean which is grown in warm climates and can be found in a few forms here in stores. Vanilla extract is the most common, and can be broken down into pure vanilla extract made by distilling down pure vanilla beans, and imitation vanilla which is commonly made from extracting vanillin from paper industry by-products and is often clear and less expensive than pure vanilla extract.

Vanilla paste is a trendy new form and combines pure vanilla extract with ground vanilla beans and often a sweetener with a thickening agent to form a gel-like pase. Vanilla paste would be used in the same amount as vanilla extract in a recipe.

You can also find vanilla beans and scrape out the contents to get pure vanilla, in this case one vanilla pod would equal one Tablespoon, or three teaspoons, extract.

Fun fact, bourbon vanilla is unrelated to bourbon the liquor, and instead is made from vanilla beans harvested from the Island of Bourbon in Madagascar.

Vanilla Nice Cream Blend ins

Banana and vanilla flavors pair so perfectly together so you can keep it really simple and enjoy the natural flavors that shine through in this simple recipe. However, it’s fun to add in other flavors to the nice cream base. You could easily add in some:

● cocoa powder
● cinnamon
● honey
● maple syrup
● pumpkin puree
● applesauce
● peanut or almond butter
● powdered peanut butter

Toppings: to add some crunch or change up the flavors in the Vanilla Nice Cream, you can top it with:

  • granola (recipe ideas below)
  • chopped nuts
  • seeds (think pumpkin, sunflower, hemp or chia)
  • cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
  • coconut flakes
  • chopped dried fruit like mango, apricots, plums, pineapple
  • raisins
  • berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries

I hope that you’re seeing a trend here in my suggestions. Typically, when you go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt, you have a wide variety of cookies and candy to top your treat with. I’m here to tell you that less sugary options can be just as delicious and more nutritious, too. Be sure to get creative in the kitchen with this recipe and let me know if you try it by dropping a comment below!

Vanilla Nice Cream Meal Ideas 

If you like breakfast bowls, you can easily top vanilla nice cream with some granola. Here are some great options of recipes I have up on the blog:

Cranberry Almond Chia Granola

Salty Sweet Peanut Butter and Jelly Homemade Granola

Dried Cherry, Pistachio, and Almond Granola

Plum Berry Cobbler Granola

If you like the idea of a quick and healthier dessert here are some other options:

Cocoa Coconut Chia Pudding

Easy vegan chocolate mousse

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

Whip this up in a few minutes when you need something sweet or keep it in the freezer for ice cream craving emergencies. Let me know if you try it! 

Vanilla Nice Cream

All you need is two ingredients and a blender for this simple, sweet treat.
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Course: Dessert, desserts
Cuisine: Americana
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 186kcal


  • 3 medium very ripe frozen, peeled bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 tablespons dairy or non-dairy milk if needed for consistency


  • Blend the frozen banana in a food processor or blender with the vanilla until smooth. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time if blending is difficult.
  • Freeze the nice cream for an additional hour or until it meets your desired texture.


Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 1.5g | Fat: 0g | Potassium: 675mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition


  1. Kate P on November 5, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Yum! Sounds like a great snack or treat, maybe even some hot fudge on top would be delightful!

    • Ginger Hultin on November 7, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      I’m so trying that next time!

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

Integrative nutrition specialist helping clients navigate complex health conditions to reduce inflammation and feel better.

Thanks for visiting! If you're struggling with a cancer diagnosis, autoimmune condition, gut health problems, or even a medical mystery, nutrition can make a HUGE difference in your day-to-day life. I run a virtual, concierge private practice where I partner with my clients over time to help them improve their health through nutrition. Be sure to visit the blog for easy, plant-based, anti-inflammatory recipes and our "Resources" page for a variety of self-paced programs, books, e-books, and nutrition podcast episodes.

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