I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that when you saw the title of this blog post, you said to yourself, “hmmm, interesting,” or “wait, WHAT?”
Just hear me out. I LOVE ice cream, and non-dairy ice creams have gotten so much better over the years. In fact, dairy alternatives have become so mainstream, even Ben & Jerry’s finally made a vegan ice cream!
I recently had so much leftover butternut squash that I was trying of different ways to use it up. I was drawing a blank on what else to make with it, and soup had just been done to death. So my weird brain started thinking started to drift. I started to compare butternut squash to pumpkin and how I use pumpkin. Then it hit me… dessert! Then the synapses continued to fire, and eventually I came up with butternut squash in ice cream. After all, it is a fruit!
I tend to prefer more Thai and Indian flavors with squash as opposed to sage and cinnamon, traditionally found in Western cuisine. So, I decided to spice my ice cream with ginger and use coconut milk as my base, which is naturally thick and rich. Perfect for ice cream.
Butternut Squash Ice Cream
1 small butternut squash (about 1 ¼ lb), peeled and cut into large chunks
2 tbsp melted non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance)
¾ cup + 2 tbsp turbinado or regular sugar, divided
2 cups non-dairy milk (almond or soy, to lighten the ice cream)
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 (15oz) can full-fat coconut milk
½ cup peeled & roughly chopped fresh ginger
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ginger extract (optional)
½ tsp coconut extract (also optional)
¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place butternut squash on a parchment-lined sheet pan, toss with melted non-dairy butter and 2 tbsp sugar. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until softened and caramelized.
In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the non-dairy milk with arrowroot & set aside.
Place remaining sugar, non-dairy milk, coconut milk, and fresh ginger in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the arrowroot mixture and extract(s) until combined. Pour into a blender or food processor with the butternut squash, and purée until combined. Transfer mixture to an airtight container, and place in the refrigerator until cold. (I always go at least 4 hours.)
Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Toss in chopped crystallized ginger in the last 3 minutes of freezing.
If you like your ice cream soft & runny, you can eat it immediately. If you'd prefer your ice cream firmer, place the mixture in a freezer-safe container, and freeze until set. This will take about 2 hours (you can help expedite this by having your container already frozen).
Want to learn more great vegan recipes? Sign up for The Chopping Block's hands on Vegan Desserts class (created by yours truley) on Sunday, June 25 at Lincoln Square at 10am.