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Eat It: All-Natural, 100-Calorie, No-Fat 'Ice Cream'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I love to read food and healthy living blogs in my spare time. In the last few weeks, I've been seeing the same frozen treat pop up in various incarnations all over the healthy living blogosphere: banana soft-serve "ice cream."

With a mild intolerance to lactose, I can't even glance at ice cream without getting a bellyache. I rely on soy and coconut versions when I have a craving, but the former have an ingredient list as long as my arm and the latter are expensive! When I heard that there was a way to make soft-serve ice cream with no dairy, no cholesterol, no artificial ingredients, no added sugar and no preservatives, I was intrigued but skeptical. Then I saw the results on one of my favorite food blogs.

I decided to give it a whirl. To prepare, I cut up three bananas and put them in a plastic container in the freezer over the weekend. Last night, I broke out my food processor and whipped up a batch of Easy, Breezy Banana Soft Serve.
Served with a drizzle of homemade chocolate syrup on top, this was a simple and decadent dessert.

My 17-year-old meat-and-potatoes eating brother cleaned his bowl, and so did my ice cream snob of a boyfriend. The proof is in the (frozen banana) pudding!

There's really no recipe involved, but the instructions and some tips are below.

Freeze some bananas. (I froze four so I could have four servings, but freeze as many or as few as you'd like.)

Place frozen bananas in the bowl of a food processor. (NOTE: This doesn't work with a mixer or blender, so you have to have a food processor.) Pulse several times to break into smaller pieces, then turn on and run for about five minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

The bananas will start to resemble soft serve in a few minutes. It will be chunky and gooey at first and will clump together, but after a few minutes, it will take on a pale yellow, fluffy texture.

Transfer to a bowl and place in freezer for about 15 minutes, if you'd like, or serve immediately. (Makes four 1/2 cup servings)

Serve with your favorite chocolate syrup or ice cream toppings. I mixed a tablespoon of real maple syrup with about 2 t unsweetened cocoa powder (60 calories, 0.5 g fat), but you can use another chocolate syrup or enjoy it plain. The boys want to have this again tonight, and they want to have some peanut butter on top!

Each serving has about 100 calories, depending on the size of the banana you use. If you need a recipe, you can find one here.

Other serving suggestions:
  • This would be a neat, healthful dessert for a dinner party. Make the "ice cream" just before guests arrive, then put in the freezer until dessert. Serve a variety of healthier toppings: Raisins, granola, coconut flakes, berries, low-calorie chocolate sauce, chopped nuts or a drizzle of peanut butter would all be delightful!

  • Or, use this banana ice cream as the basis for a banana split. Forgo the ice cream and banana and top three scoops of soft serve with crushed strawberries, chocolate sauce and crushed pineapple. Add a few chopped peanuts, a small squirt of whipped cream and a cherry. You'll save tons of fat from the ice cream and still get that banana flavor.

  • Mix mini chocolate chips or peanut butter into the bananas before serving.

  • Place a scoop of your banana mixture between two graham crackers (try chocolate ones!) and roll the edges in nuts or granola. Freeze for an hour, then serve. VoilĂ ! Ice cream sandwiches.

Would you try this recipe? What is your favorite better-for-you dessert?

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I have a YONANA machine that uses frozen bananas and other frozen fruit mixed together. Strawberries taste especially good. Easy to clean. Treat is yummy. Report
I love bananas but have developed an allergy in recent years...however I can eat them if cooked in something and in very small doses (like a bit or two). Wondering if I could have them this way...only one way to find out. :) especially since my son always wants bananas at the store but then doesn't eat them...maybe he will like some "ice cream" ;) lol Report
i am going to try this, i only eat bananas, to try it in ice cream will be lovely, i so much miss ice cream, so im going to go and get a food processor that is good. Thank you for this recipe. Report
The next time I have 'bad' bananas I will freeze and make this! sounds so easy Report
@LRIGEIKOH you might try with other yoghurt flavors. Sugar looses flavor the colder it is - that's why ice cream mixture tastes "too sweet" before it's frozen. I usually don't like bananas because they seem "too sweet", but when frozen, the taste is closer to a level that I can stand. I remember getting some pineapple yoghurt in the individual carton sizes - they hadn't sold well and were getting close to the "sell-by" date, so they were really cheap. I thought they tasted yuckky, too sweet, and a friend told me to put them in the freezer. When I pulled them out and then let it thaw just a bit so I could stir it up and redistribute the pineapple sugary "sludge" at the bottom of the cup, I was astonished at how much milder the taste was - not sickeningly sweet at all! Try it... Report
Too bad i'm allergic too bananas, is it possible to make this recipie with another fruit ? Report
too bad it's bananas- wish you could do this with, well, any other fruit! But I guess then it becomes more like a sorbet! Report
I will be trying this recipe very soon, sounds delicious and easy. And I could always keep some frozen bananas on hand ^_^ for when I have that sweet craving. Report
made this over the summer the kids and I loved it!! I added pb to one batch ohhh that was yummy! either one was good Report
This actually sounds good but I cannot eat banana's. I will try to see if the kids do like it. Thanks for the idea. Report
Makes me want to go buy a food right now. Report
I love ice cream, I love bananas. A good banana cream pie is awesome. I could make this banana version of ice cream, add some fat free cool whip, some extra slices of fresh banana and a sprinkle of low fat graham crackers on top. One of my new favorite desserts is "Mock" ice cream sandwiches -fat free cool whip between your favorite cracker and wrap in plastic and freeze. Try chocolate grahams. Report
I personally, don't like banans anyway but fresh. But I have been making this for years for my kids, who like myself are lactose intolerant. And I don't own a food processor, and it works well in a blender. Report
this sounds great! i'm adding it to my calorie counter for today so that i can have it after work :)

for those of you who can't eat bananas, but can eat dairy - i just found a new treat that you may be interested in. i recently saw a commercial for yoplait whips yogurt, and they said that you can stick them in the freezer and it makes a great frozen treat. i was so excited that i had to try it right away. this is a yogurt that i know i like anyway. i tried it with the chocolate flavor, because i figured it would taste like chocolate ice cream. i was wrong. it didn't taste bad, but it didn't really taste like chocolate anymore. it just kind of tasted like sweetened yogurt. i'm going to try it again with strawberry and key lime pie flavors, because i think they'll probably translate better. i love the idea of using the whips yogurt, for many reasons. it is way cheaper than most frozen novelties and ice creams. it's already portioned in individual containers. and the fruit flavored whips are 140 calories, and 2.5g of fat per serving, plus i'm getting 5g of protein... easy to fit into my diet. Report
That really sounds good. I will have to try it this weekend. I love ice cream and i love bananas so it should really be a good ice cream substitute and you still feel like cheating. Report
Sounds delightful - I'll have to try it! Report
Will try this , it's seems so easy to make and looks like it taste really good. Report
This actually sounds REALLY GOOD!! I am going to try it soon! Report
I can't believe I almost erased this email without reading it! What a GREAT idea! I'm going to try it tonight :) Report
This is a wonderful idea. I can't wait to telll my wife. She doesn't handle ice cream very well but she really enjoys banana splits. I'm going to try it for both of us. Thanks for the article. Report
I'm definitely going to try this. Even if I don't like it I know my kids will love it. They love any and all kinds of fruits. Report
I think I will give this a try. I'm not a fan of bananas but will eat them on occasion to get Potassium. Perhaps this will help me get them down. :) Report
This sounds so yummy, I can't wait to try it. Report
I have followed a similar recipe using frozen cubes of cantaloupe or honeydew. This can also be made with other fruits, including berries and stone fruits. It's a great idea that has lots of variations. For a smooth texture and additional protein, add silken tofu. Report
I'd probably burp it all night long, judging by my reactions to those banana smoothies we made at Starbucks. Report
This sounds wonderful. I will sure give it a try. We go through a lot of bananas in our household, this recipe is sure to send the amount soaring! But after being SHOCKED at the amount of calories in "regular ice cream" ( this is the first summer I have been keeping track of such things) banana ice cream sounds like the way to go. The fruit sorbet mentioned in one of the comments sounds great too. Thanks! Report
This sounds really good and I am going to try it. I think my husband will like it also. Report
Wow this sounds so refreshing...I am definitely going to try this for my Friday evening treat after my workout. Report
I've had once again to stop eating bananas as they make me deathly ill. I like them and they are healthy to an extent (on a low glycemic diet, they are too high on the GI index and can spike blood sugar very quickly unless they are very green bananas) but I can't tolerate them, possibly due to a sensitivity to latex or just that they spike my insulin.

Processing bananas makes them absorable even more quickly than they are in their natural state, so anyone who has a problem with insulin spikes from bananas might want to reconsider before eating these, although I've seen the recipe before and many people like it and have no problem with it, so just mentioning it. :)

Regarding a substitute, you can make a great sorbet with frozen fruits and a blender or food processor and if you add whey powder or cottage cheese (with a little fat is best), it reduces the ability of that frozen fruit puree to spike insulin (the protein and fat blunt the glycemic load). You could add bananas to the extent you tolerate them (they are great and do have loads of potassium). Report
Not really my taste - don't like frozen bananas and that is exactly what they tasted like Maybe would like it better with frozen berries or peaches. Report
I tried this today and it was pretty good. I think I would enjoy it more with some crushed strawberries or other toppings because the texture is not as creamy as ice cream and this would add more flavor as well as masking that fact. The first thing I noticed (before I refroze it after blending) though is it would make a great substitute for whipped topping over other fruit. Report
I will definately be trying this. Report
Sounds like a winner to me and I love bananas so I'll have to try it. Report
chocolate GOOD Report
Bananas = no go; but thanks for sharing. Is there anything that can be substituted for the bananas? Report
Sounds good but I'm not going to buy a food processor just so I can have banana soft serve. Report
I bet I could do this in my ice cream maker too - I might have to try it! Report
I love ice cream and will definitely give the banana split suggestion a try. I haven't been able to have one for years! Report
We are going to try this, it sounds so good. Report
When I was in college I worked part time at a health food store at the lunch counter. They had a juicer that we would pur frozen bananas in and it would come out like soft serve ice cream and was delicious. I never thought about doing the same thing with a food processer but I don't have one so may need to look in to that. Thanks for the great information! Report
Just yesterday I commented that I needed to find another use for the several dozen frozen bananas in my freezer. No I'm serious. once they start to get spots I throw them in the freezer to use for banana bread. I will give it a try this weekend. Thanks for the info. Report
Sounds yummy! Will have to try it. Report
I would def try this! Report
Sounds great! I can't wait to get some bananas and try it. Thanks. Report
Don't have a food processor...don't know if I would make this or not. I like bananas in smoothies and other things, but not sure if I like them enough to try making ice cream. Report
I was so disappointed when I clicked on this blog after seeing the title! I cannot eat bananas! Dairy is not a problem for me and fat free (even low fat) options have ingredient lists "as long as my arm" as Stepfanie laments. I do enjoy frozen fruit smoothies, but they don't offer the same creamy mouth-feel as ice cream or even what we used to be able to get as "ice milk" before all the marketing craze of "low fat ice cream" started changing ingredients to extra fillers and gums and syrups to make the creamy feel. Report
Here is a simple recipe for Peanut Butter Icecream Topping which would be great with this: Melt 1/2 c. golden corn syrup and 1/2 c. peanut butter together over low heat. Gradually blend in 3 Tbsp. water. That's it and it is so delicious. Report
Love this idea! I have made "fruit gelato" Just by processing some frozen fruits like strawberries, mangos or blueberries. It's a healthy frozen treat for the summer. I've also whiped up smoothies and put them in the popcicle molds that's a yummy treat too! I'm gonna try this "banana soft serve"! Thanks! Report
Great idea!! You can do the same with fat free, sugar free, pudding and put a popcicle stick in it to serve the kids and grandkids. Report
Sounds to easy to me but I love bananas so I'll give it a "whirl". Report