March 14, 2013

Kale Mint Chip Ice Cream revisited -- dairy-free, soy-free goodness

St. Patrick's Day is this Sunday.  Do you celebrate it in a big or small way with your family?

My family has no Irish roots but we do use the holiday as a fun way to "get our green on".  I have been on a kale kick lately -- kale in our tacos, kale in our fried rice, kale in our pasta-- so I definitely want to make something with this vitamin-rich leafy green.

With warm temperatures arriving in our area, it was a great excuse to break out the ice cream maker.  I decided to revisit a kale mint chip ice cream recipe I had posted in 2011.  I love to tweak and remember having some issues with the texture of the frozen ice cream so I went right to tinkering with the original recipe.

I subbed in agave sweetener for the refined sugar so that I wouldn't need to heat the mix to dissolve table sugar.  I ended up reducing the amount of agave because it is sweeter than table sugar.  I omitted the extra oil that the original recipe called for since canned full-fat coconut milk provides enough fat to help with the creamy texture.  Adding arrowroot powder is absolutely key to getting a creamy texture.  It is expensive stuff but a little goes a long way -- the same bag of stuff will get you through many, many quarts of smooth ice cream, my friends.

I think it also helped tremendously to be working with a better blender (we have a Ninja) that could really grind up the kale leaves into tiny pieces.  The more the kale is ground up, the easier it is to hide any chewy leafiness among the mini chocolate chips!  And mini chips were much more appropriate in frozen dessert than regular-sized chips.  I love that Enjoy Life offers this size.

Kale Mint Chip - free of the top 8 allergens depending on the type of milk substitute you use

4 cups of packed curly kale leaves (stems removed), washed and dried
15 oz can of full-fat coconut milk
2 cups safe, milk substitute (I used almond milk but soy, rice, flax, or coconut milk should be fine)
1/3 cup agave sweetener
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp mint extract
dash of sea salt

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips
  1. Except for the mini-chocolate chips, combine all ice cream ingredients in a blender.  Blend until kale leaves are cut into tiny flecks.
  2. Prepare ice cream mixture (again, not the mini chips yet) according to your ice cream maker's directions.  Add the mini chips in at the last five minutes of the ice cream making time.
  3. Serve immediately.  The ice cream will be a little more solid than soft serve.  Freeze for an additional hour for a more ice-cream-out-of-a-carton texture.
  4. Freeze any leftovers in a freeze-safe container.  When serving on another day, let the ice cream container warm up on the counter (room temperature) for 30-45 minutes before scooping.
I completely misjudged how much ice cream to give the kids.  But they
sure enjoyed every last lick of their humungous cones!

The texture is a big improvement over the original posted recipe.  My eldest son, who had not been a fan of the 2011 kale ice cream, absolutely loves this new iteration as does his little brother.


  1. I made a batch with baby spinach leaves in place of the kale and maple syrup instead of agave. Pretty good but the texture of the ice cream is a noticeably icier and grittier due to spinach's texture and higher water content.

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