Banana + Zucchini “Nice” Cream

It’s been ~hot, hot~ all over the country the past two weeks, even in Seattle! And wow, my apartment gets SO warm come 3pm. My favorite treat to make when it’s this hot (and let’s be honest, pretty much all the time) is banana “nice” cream. I’ve been playing with this recipe for a few years since banana nice cream became a thing, and when I first made it with non-frozen bananas and then stuck it in the freezer, it was rock solid and had freezer burn all over it.

So after a lot of playing around with it, here is my basic version, with a few suggestions for variation. Feel free to switch out any toppings or ingredients to change it into harder ice cream, make it into a sundae, mix up the flavors, or create more of a smoothie bowl out of it.

Banana + Zucchini Nice Cream (1 serving)

Ingredients:

  • One large banana, frozen (take the banana out of its peel and put it in a ziplock freezer bag in 3-4 chunks – it makes your life way easier when you go to use it!)
  • 1/2 zucchini, blanched then frozen (I cut the zucchini into fourths, then blanch, then throw it in the bag with the bananas to freeze it)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • A splash of almond milk (really, only a splash if you want it to be harder like regular ice cream)
  • 1 tsp honey, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Throw it all into a high-speed blender and blend. It might look like it’s not going to blend all the way, but scraping down the sides a couple times while you blend will help. Do this until the mixture is thick and creamy, then transfer it into a bowl and add your favorite toppings (suggestions below).

Optional Toppings:

  • Cacao nibs
  • Coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Nut butter
  • Dried gogi berries or other dried fruit (i.e., raisins, dates, figs, etc.)
  • Fresh or frozen fruit (berries, kiwi, bananas, peaches, etc.)
  • Seeds or nuts (hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • Granola
  • Mint or other herbs
  • Dark chocolate

Tips and variations:

I keep frozen bananas and zucchini in the fridge because I make this so often, but you can also just freeze the amount you’ll need for however many servings you make.

You can use any type of milk, whether that be nut milk or a dairy version. Use less to make it thicker like ice cream (sometimes I don’t use any at all), more if you want to be able to drink it like a milkshake. Occasionally, I use a little bit of chia pudding (chia seeds soaked in water) instead of milk.

You can also use any type of nut butter, or none at all! I find adding it makes it creamier and richer.

If you don’t eat honey, agave or another sweetener would probably work too. Honestly, if you’re not into super sweet things, it might not even need honey! I don’t always add it.

Go crazy with the spices and toppings! Sometimes I add nutmeg, cardamom, even turmeric depending on how I’m feeling. The above picture shows cacao nibs, some extra peanut butter, dried gogi berries, and coconut flakes. But try different types of dried fruit, fresh fruit, seeds, nuts, granola, or anything else you can think to put on it (any other ideas welcome: comment below!).

Sometimes I put spirulina in it to get some iron and protein, and it turns a really pretty dark green (pictured above). Usually when I do that, it needs a bit more honey or banana/zucchini ratio.

Let me know if you make it and what you think. Enjoy!

~ Hadlee

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