Avoiding dairy doesn't mean you have to avoid ice cream. You can make a low-fat, lactose-free, vegan ice cream at home using rice milk. Add in a range of flavors to customize your ice cream, from pureed fruit to cocoa powder. You can use a variety of different sweeteners, too, from basic white sugar to calorie-free sweeteners such as stevia or sucralose. An electric ice cream maker churns the liquid rice milk mixture, adding air and mixing the ingredients until you've got a light, creamy treat.
Combine one part sweetener to six parts rice milk in a blender. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. You want the mixture to taste very sweet at this stage, as the freezing process will dull the sweetness and flavor. The type of sweetener you use determines how much you need. Agave nectar, honey and calorie-free sweeteners are sweeter than sugar, so you will most likely need less.
Add the flavor ingredients of your choice. If you are using fruit, add a cupful to the sweetened rice milk, then blend. Taste and add more fruit if the flavor is lacking. If you are adding cocoa powder for a chocolate ice cream, add a few spoonfuls, stir, then taste and add more cocoa if desired.
Place the rice milk mixture in your refrigerator until cold. For a quicker chill, pour the mixture into a zip top bag and place the bag in a bowl filled with ice water until the bag is cold to the touch.
Pour the rice milk mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker. Run the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. The rice milk ice cream is ready when it is thickened and semi-solid.
Serve the ice cream right away or scoop it into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer to harden further.
- Experiment with the flavors you use. For example, add a few cups of strawberries and a handful of fresh basil leaves for a strawberry-basil ice cream. Mix the rice milk with a bit of brewed coffee and cocoa powder for a mocha ice cream.
- Ice cream made with rice milk will have an icier texture than other non-dairy ice creams. For a creamier non-dairy ice cream with a hint of coconut flavor, add a small amount of full-fat coconut milk. If you don't like coconut, try using a bit of almond milk along with the rice milk. It won't be as creamy as coconut milk, but will have more neutral flavor.
Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.