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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Wednesday
Feb092011

Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Kefir Ice Cream with Mixed Berries, No Ice Cream-Maker Required

Perfectly pink and full of probiotics.

My housemate Mary has been making coconut milk kefir lately, and our refrigerator was rather full of the stuff. She is using these kefir grains from Cultures for Health, and process couldn't be easier. I'm not going to go into details about how to make the kefir in this post, because you can read about it on Cultures for Health's website. She uses cans of organic coconut milk, not the coconut milk beverage, adds the grains, and lets it sit. After a day or two, it's ready to go! Every so often she needs to divide the grains and innoculate them in goat's milk, just so they stay active. Her grains are mulitplying like crazy, so I am going to take some from her and get my own batch started.  

The cultured coconut milk kefir is quite lovely. As the coconut milk cultures, it thickens considerably, resulting in a rich, very thick, very creamy and tart kefir that is much thicker than any dairy kefir I have ever eaten. In fact, it is so thick that in order to strain out the kefir grains, we have to thin out the kefir considerably with water! Mary has been eating it like yogurt and adding a dollop to soups, and I've enjoyed adding it to smoothies and spreading it on muffins and bread like cream cheese.

I thought it might be fun to try making it into a frozen yogurt/ice cream type thing.  It was a breeze to make - no ice cream maker required - and tasted delicious. It tastes a lot like a strawberry malt, is very coconutty, and has just a hint of that cultured tartness on the finish. A mixture of berries, a bit of agave nectar, and some stevia liquid add just the right amount of sweetness. And let's not forget the best part - it is filled with beneficial probiotic bacteria! Could there be a better dessert to show your special someone how much you care this Valentine's Day? I think not. Nothing says I love you like happy bacteria.

If you want to get kefir grains for yourself and make coconut milk kefir, check out Cultures for Health.  If you like fermentation, you'll love their products. For something unusual and health promoting, I highly recommend trying out their Water Kefir starter kit (cultured water - seriously!!!). It is so much fun and so delicious.

Oh yeah, and one more thing...

I'm including this recipe in February's SOS Kitchen Challenge, featuring stevia! My co-host Ricki and I are encouraging our readers to use stevia in delicious, sugar-free desserts this month. Four lucky participants will receive a stevia prize from NuNaturals, our favorite brand of stevia. 

Each prize contains:

For full Challenge guidelines, please see this post, then check out the Linky below the recipe to enter your recipe in the round-up and be eligible for the giveaway! Good luck, and we can't wait to see what you make with stevia this month. 

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Dairy-Free Kefir Ice Cream with Mixed Berries, No Ice Cream-Maker Required

Yield 1 quart

This recipe calls for homemade coconut milk kefir, made from canned organic coconut milk cultured with Culture for Health's kefir grains. If you do not have homemade coconut milk kefir, you can use plain canned coconut milk. I have not tried using the SoDelicious Coconut Milk Kefir, but if you feel inclined to try it, give it a shot and let me know how it works for you in this recipe. 

  • 2 cups homemade coconut milk kefir
  • 10 oz frozen mixed berries (I used Cascadian Farms mixed berries)
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or other natural liquid sweetener, to taste
  • 8-10 drops plain stevia liquid, to taste (I used NuNaturals alcohol-free stevia liquid)
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free pure vanilla extract (I used Simply Organic brand)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process on high until totally smooth. Adjust sweetness to taste. Then....

No ice cream maker version:

Line a 8"x8" or 9"x9" baking pan with plastic wrap or parchment, and pour ice cream mixture into pan. Freeze until firm, 2-3 hours, then remove from pan and cut into 9-12 squares with a big knife.  Place the squares in a clean (food grade) plastic bag or sealed plastic container and store in the freezer until ready to use.

To make ice cream, remove 3-4 squares per serving and cut into smaller chunks. Place in a food processor or high-powered blender (Vitamix or Blendtech).  Process on high until smooth. At first it will first crumble and look like crumbs or be weird and chunky.  Press it down with a rubber spatula (or if using a Vitamix, use the tamper), then keep processing and eventually it will form a ball; at this point, it’s ready to scoop.

Scoop and serve.  Makes 3-4 servings. 

Ice cream maker version:

Place mixture in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

 

February SOS Kitchen Challenge: Stevia

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Reader Comments (9)

I have actually made chocolate coconut milk ice cream with So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir, and it came out great! I love berries, and I can't wait to use it with this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

This looks delicious. I have been wanting to make kefir. Thanks for the encouragement - it sounds really easy. Thanks for the no ice cream maker directions - great idea.

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCity Share

Oh, how utterly wonderful! I've seen no-ice-cream-maker recipes but they usually involve stopping and stirring constantly. Seeing as I'm the happy owner of a brand-spanking new Vitamix, I'll be making this soon... though might have to use normal coconut milk instead of kefir. Haven't seen the latter in Australia! Thank you for the vibrant recipe :)

February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

You made the no ice cream maker version--yayyyy!!! How did you like the way it turned out? It looks gorgeous (and delicious). So creative to use the kefir that way! (And thanks for adding my pic to the linkys--I guess I forgot) :D

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Kim, I made this today (with coconut milk instead of kefir & only adding stevia for sweetener) & it's delicious! Well, the spoonfuls I kept sampling out of the blender were! I'm waiting for it to freeze completely still before I can continue the process. I keep checking on it... I'm rather keen!

I've been looking for a simple ice cream recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker (don't have one at the moment & can't afford it right now... will have to save for one for summer). Thank you!

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

I didn't know you could make kefir, I'm glad I ran across this.
Looks pretty easy. Thanks for sharing! :)

February 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVegan

This goes on my to-do list for warmer weather (which I hope is soon). I've been loving the SO Coconut Milk Kefir but this looks like a thicker mix. Maybe I'll try it both ways!

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

I just started making milk kefir, but only have a few grains. I want to grow them somemore before I try them in alternative milks. My older son appears to be dairy intolerent, but we haven't had him formally tested, we jsut removed dairy and saw a ton of improvement in may areas. I can't wait to try this so that he can have something that seem like real ice cream!

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

That ice cream looks very tasty and I'm so glad it doesn't have any sugar! I experiment with yogurt and coconut all the time now I'll try kefir.

July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.D.
Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo