Back when I enjoyed frozen dairy treats, one of my favorite summer indulgences was homemade gelato. I especially loved pistachio gelato or an authentic Italian olive oil gelato—finished with a generous drizzle of robustly flavored olive oil.
I have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), and, these days, my body is unable to tolerate dairy. Several years ago, a comprehensive food sensitivity blood test revealed that I have a severe intolerance to the dairy proteins casein and whey. But I did not need a food sensitivity test to tell me this. If I eat anything with dairy, I experience a near-anaphylaxis reaction—immediate sinus congestion that makes breathing difficult. My body keeps me honest. Needless to say, I am not tempted by dairy foods!
Once in a blue moon, I might feel nostalgic for gelato. This is when I’ll make a batch of faux gelato, using frozen pureed bananas.
Yes…I know…whipped banana that tastes like a gelato? I wouldn’t have believed it myself! The good news? You don’t need an ice cream maker. A food processor works beautifully. Pureed frozen banana yields a luscious, creamy texture that is, for me, reminiscent of gelato.
While bananas are an excellent source of potassium, they do tend to be somewhat high in sugar (14g per medium banana) and lower in fiber. If you have issues with managing your blood sugar (eg, diabetes), are generally sensitive to sugar or are on a weight management program, then I suggest you use under-ripe (green) bananas for this recipe since they have a lower glycemic index than ripe bananas.
This gelato is “all natural” in every sense of the word. Ripe bananas are at peak sweetness (no need for additional sweeteners). While you want to use ripe bananas, avoid using overripe bananas (the ones with leopard-spotted peels).
Once you puree the frozen banana and apportion out the servings, sprinkle finely chopped fresh mint leaves over the gelato for an infusion of mint flavor (no artificial green coloring or sweeteners!).
Add organic raw cacao nibs for a nubby textural crunch.
Banana Mint-Chocolate Chip Gelato
4 ripe bananas, ideally organic
2 teaspoons finely chopped mint leaves (per 1/2 cup serving)
2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs (per 1/2 cup serving)
Peel bananas. Slice into thin rounds. Place in a Ziplock freezer-safe bag. Freeze banana 4 to 8 hours. Place frozen banana rounds in a large food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
Divide banana puree into 4 servings. Sprinkle with mint and raw cacao nibs.