When my daughter was diagnosed with a milk allergy over a dozen years ago, I whispered a quiet goodbye to big drippy ice cream cones enjoyed on a hot summer’s day. But, I needn’t have been quite so dramatic because the number of non-dairy and vegan ice cream options has exploded over the years. In fact, even though she no longer has a serious allergy to milk, she still prefers the many non-dairy options out there.
From soy to rice, almond, cashew, coconut, and even hemp, it seems as if almost anything can become ice “cream” for those who are trying to avoid dairy because of allergies or a wish to avoid dairy altogether. But if you’re looking for a truly creamy, “milky” feel with no weird aftertaste, we’ve found a few options that stand a scoop above the rest.
Based out of Austin, Texas, Nada Moo! takes coconut milk and churns it into the most creamy, delicious, non-GMO, organic ice cream we have ever tried (also shown in cones at top). Their vanilla flavor has pretty flecks of real vanilla bean throughout and a light fresh taste that doesn’t take on the coconut flavor of the base.
Their Maple Pecan is so delicious, with bits of crunchy pecans in every bite, that I may be sneaking scoops of this as I type. Fortunately for my bikini body (ha), of all the flavors I taste tested, Nada Moo! has the lowest total calorie count and only 8 grams of sugar. So I can eat twice as much, right?
Well. . . I wouldn’t call this health food, but you can bet that my first stop when I go to Whole Foods again will be to see what other of their 15 flavors I can find in the freezer section. I’m hoping to see Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie in there.
Widely distributed in my suburban Boston supermarkets, So Delicious Coconut Milk frozen desserts also have a nice, rich, creamy texture that I want to feel when I’m spooning ice cream out of the carton and, uh, into my mouth. I adore their Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl and Mocha Almond Fudge flavors, and many of you will be thrilled to read that their Cookie Dough flavor is gluten-free as well as dairy-free.
One thing to note is that I do find a slight coconut aftertaste after sampling some of their flavors. Fortunately, I love coconut and can’t wait to try their Coconut flavor where the star of the show will come shining through.
Another So Delicious option, So Delicious Cashew Milk frozen desserts are quite good for those of us who can eat tree nuts. I ate (and ate and ate) their Dark Chocolate Truffle flavor and think it’s one of my favorite non-dairy ice creams, ever. It’s so rich and chocolatey, it could fool even your biggest ice-cream loving skeptics like my husband who may have run off with the pint when my back was turned. The Salted Caramel Cluster flavor is also quite good, though a bit overly salty in my opinion.
Of all four products recommended here, this So Delicious Cashew Milk frozen dessert provides you with the lowest percentage of daily saturated fat per serving, though the total sugar is a bit higher than their coconut-base options.
There are five flavors overall, including Cappuccino and Very Vanilla, though I’m intrigued by the Creamy Cashew flavor, which I’m hoping has just a touch of that salty-sweet thing going on. Thankfully, there will be plenty of more hot weather for me to try out the rest of their pints.
When we learned that Ben & Jerry’s had entered the vegan ice cream market, we scoured every store in the region until we’d stocked up on all four flavors. We weren’t disappointed. The kings of delicious and inventive ice cream flavors have hit the ball out of the park with their new vegan options.
Using almonds as the base, the taste and texture is so much like “real” ice cream that we had to check the label a few times to make sure that we hadn’t picked up the wrong kind. And though we love the taste of almonds, you won’t find it cropping up to mess with the taste of these desserts. But if you’ve ever found yourself having to loosen your belt buckle after downing a pint of their ice cream, it should come as no surprise that their non-dairy flavors pack a hefty dose of calories and sugar, so we’ll still treat this as the special treat that it is.
We heartily recommend their Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Coffee Caramel Fudge, and PB and Cookies flavors, which don’t skimp on the mix-ins at all. And while the Chunky Monkey was a bit too banana-y (is that a word?) for our taste, we know some little monkeys who will think it’s just perfect.
Here’s hoping that they continue to turn even more of their many incredible flavors into non-dairy versions. My teen is dying to find out why I think Cherry Garcia is the bomb.
You’ll find many of the above ice flavors in your local supermarkets, Whole Foods, or Target stores.