Pleasure Without Guilt: Banana Bliss Soft-Serve

Patient Expert
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Who knew it could be so simple to please ALL your friends? Everyone – including those following non-dairy, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and/or no added sugar diets – will enjoy this smooth, unbelievably creamy ice cream clone. And not only that, you can make it from a single ingredient or dress it up with some simple extras.

Let's start with this basic "ice cream." You won't believe how rich and creamy simple fruit can be!

You'll need 3 large or 4 medium bananas. They should be ripe, but not over-ripe; you want sweetness without overwhelming banana flavor.

Peel the bananas, and cut them into 1 inch chunks. Place the chunks in a single layer on a pan, and put the pan in the freezer for 60 to 90 minutes. The banana should be very hard but still yield slightly to pressure when you squeeze it.

Process the fruit in a food processor. If it seems hard and lumpy, it's simply too cold; let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, then continue to process.

When it's just the right temperature, it'll suddenly become smooth and creamy.

Enjoy immediately. It'll be the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. For firmer texture, freeze until it's as hard as you like. Yield: about 4 servings.

Now, having discovered how delicious and ridiculously simple this is, let your imagination go wild. Adding other fruits is a slam-dunk and keeps this frozen treat diet-friendly for those avoiding common allergens.

Tropical Mango

Here's a mango version I love. Feel free to use packaged frozen mango if you don't have access to fresh.

3 medium-large bananas, peeled, cut into chunks, frozen

1 medium mango, peeled, cut into chunks, frozen

Process frozen fruit until it's smooth and creamy. Yield: about 4 servings.

Now let's not limit ourselves solely to fruit. If dietary concerns aren't an issue, stir in mini chocolate chips or sprinkles, chopped nuts, brownie bits, mini pretzels, or try either of the two versions below.

Peanut Butter Bliss

Peanut butter and banana play very nicely together in this take on everyone's favorite childhood sandwich.

3 medium-large bananas, peeled, cut into chunks, and frozen

1/3 to 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, to taste

Process the frozen banana and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.

Tip: For a Continental twist, substitute cookie butter for peanut butter.

This version isn't suitable for those avoiding nuts. Yield: about 4 servings.

And finally, how could I not offer you a deep-dark chocolate treat?

Decadent Chocolate Fudge

3 medium-large bananas, peeled, cut into chunks, frozen

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate spread or chocolate/hazelnut spread, optional; for extra flavor and richness

Process the frozen banana and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy. If desired, add chocolate or chocolate/hazelnut spread; process until smooth. This enhanced version isn't suitable for those avoiding nuts or dairy. Yield: about 4 servings.

See more enticing recipes:

Best Antioxidant Foods You’ve Never Heard Of

Pre-Workout Smoothie

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bread

Breast cancer survivor and award-winning author PJ Hamel, a long-time contributor to the HealthCentral community, counsels women with breast cancer through the volunteer program at her local hospital. She founded and manages a large and active online survivor support network.