This delightful pumpkin spice nice cream is the perfect treat to satisfy your pumpkin spice cravings, and the best part? It’s sugar-free! This “nice cream” recipe utilizes bananas to add sweetness and creaminess, making it an excellent option for those following a dairy-free diet. Learn how to make this vegan pumpkin soft serve frozen treat using either canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin. Get ready to indulge in this delicious pumpkin nice cream recipe!
Benefits of Making Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream
There are several reasons why you’ll want to whip up this healthy pumpkin ice cream recipe. Let me fill you in on some of the advantages!
It’s Incredibly Delicious
Yes, nice cream recipes tend to have a slightly icier texture compared to traditional ice creams made with dairy. However, even the ice cream connoisseurs in my household give it two thumbs up! (And don’t worry, I have a few tips below to help you make nice cream less icy!)
It Fits Various Special Diets
This paleo pumpkin ice cream is not only vegan but also whole food plant-based (wfpb), gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegetarian-friendly. Since it only consists of fruits, vegetables, and spices, it can accommodate many different dietary approaches. It’s a versatile treat!
It’s a Healthy Option
Believe it or not, this banana pumpkin ice cream is packed with fiber and phytonutrients because it’s made entirely from plant-based ingredients. Who would have thought that a dessert could be this good for you?
It’s Free of Added Sugar
I’ve excluded white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and other added sugars from this recipe. Overripe bananas provide more than enough natural sweetness, without overpowering the pumpkin flavor. It’s a guilt-free indulgence!
It’s Super Easy to Make
If you opt for canned pumpkin and frozen bananas, all you need to do is throw everything into a food processor. You’ll end up with a smooth pumpkin spice soft serve. For a firmer consistency, pop it in the freezer for an hour or two. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
It’s a Crowd-Pleaser
Do kids tend to eat more fruits and veggies if they’re served in the form of ice cream? I like to think so! But don’t forget to save some for yourself; adults love it too!
Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream Ingredients
To make this vegan pumpkin nice cream recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Frozen overripe bananas (preferred) OR fresh overripe bananas
- Unsweetened canned pumpkin (preferred) OR fresh pumpkin and olive oil
- Dried ginger spice
For added indulgence, you can top your nice cream with whipped cream, caramel syrup, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. However, these toppings are entirely optional. Let your taste buds be your guide!
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream
Making pumpkin nice cream is a breeze! If you’re using fresh pumpkin, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into wide wedges.
Place the pumpkin wedges, with the skin-side down, on a roasting pan. Brush the tops of the pumpkin wedges with olive oil and roast them for about 40 minutes or until the pumpkin flesh is nice and soft.
Once the pumpkin is roasted, tent it in foil for 10-15 minutes to let it steam a bit. Then, scrape the pumpkin flesh out of the skin into a food processor. Puree the roasted pumpkin until it’s completely smooth. If you’re using a large pumpkin, you might need to do this in batches.
After pureeing, transfer the pumpkin to a dry cast iron skillet. Let the water evaporate off the puree over medium heat, stirring frequently. The pumpkin puree will thicken, resembling tomato paste. This process usually takes around 10 minutes.
Allow the thickened pumpkin puree to cool, and then measure out ⅔ cup. You can freeze the remaining pumpkin for use in other recipes. It’s perfect for making pumpkin Bolognese sauce, which uses pumpkin puree instead of tomatoes.
If you’re using canned pumpkin, you can skip the above steps and proceed directly to making the nice cream. Talk about convenience!
Blending Creamy Pumpkin Nice Cream
Now it’s time to bring out the big guns – your large-capacity food processor! For the creamiest pumpkin spice nice cream, I recommend starting with frozen banana pieces.
But what if you forgot to freeze your bananas ahead of time? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered in the next section.
Simply place all the ingredients (spices, pumpkin, and bananas) in the food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to pause the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
If you begin with frozen bananas, you can serve the nice cream immediately as a soft serve. For a firmer texture, pop it in the freezer for an hour before scooping. Avoid leaving it in the freezer for more than 1-1.5 hours to achieve the best consistency.
That’s all there is to it! Your nice cream is ready to be enjoyed with the toppings of your choice. Make it a pumpkin pie experience by adding whipped cream and caramel sauce. YUM!
If you prefer a sugar-free option, you can find instructions for making sugar-free whipped topping in my Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Additionally, there are many sugar-free caramel syrups available, such as the low-carb and high-fiber syrup by Choc Zero.
Making Pumpkin Spice Nice Cream with Bananas that are Not Frozen
No worries if you forgot to freeze your bananas! However, keep in mind that the nice cream will not be immediately ready to eat once it comes out of the food processor. Using fresh bananas (instead of frozen) will result in a pudding-like consistency.
After blending all the ingredients for pumpkin nice cream, transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Freeze it for 6-8 hours.
If you leave it in the freezer for an extended period, it may freeze into a solid block that’s difficult to scoop. To achieve a creamier texture, stir and break up the ice chunks every 2 hours or so.
When stirring the nice cream, pay special attention to breaking up the frozen icy chunks on the edges of the container. This will result in a smoother and more enjoyable texture.
Although this version won’t be as creamy as when using frozen bananas, it still hits the spot when you’re in need of a delicious treat.
If you accidentally leave your pumpkin spice nice cream in the freezer for too long, you can use the microwave to soften it. Simply microwave it for 10-15 seconds (or longer, if needed) until it reaches your desired consistency.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This recipe falls under level 2 (transition or weight maintenance) and can be enjoyed as a healthy snack. The nutrition information provided does not include any of the optional toppings. If you prefer a higher calorie nice cream, consider adding some toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
I haven’t personally tried this yet, but if you’re looking for a level 1 snack, freeze the nice cream in popsicle molds. By doing so, you’ll create smaller, portioned servings that take longer to eat. This may also be a great solution for any leftovers you have.
The accompanying photos show the entire recipe (2 servings) on a white rectangular plate. In my family, we typically split what is shown, enjoying 1-1.5 scoops each. Keep this in mind if you’re trying to estimate portion sizes based on photos from recipe blogs.
What are some other vegan dessert recipes?
If you’re looking to expand your collection of plant-based desserts, you’re in luck! This vegan pumpkin nice cream recipe isn’t the only one available on the site. Here are a few more ideas:
- Mango Nice Cream – No Added Sugar!
- Pumpkin Spice Baked Apple Chips Recipe
- Watermelon Lime Smoothie with Mint – No Added Sugar!
Sometimes, you might find yourself in the mood for something savory instead of sweet. If that sounds like you, here are a few savory vegan snack ideas to satisfy your cravings:
- Pink Hummus with Roasted Beets
- Nut-Free Trail Mix – No Added Sugar!
- Nacho Chickpeas – An Easy Plant-Based Recipe
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of pumpkin spice?
“Pumpkin spice” is not a new concept by any means. The spices commonly used in pumpkin spice blends have been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. They can be found in American cookbooks dating back to the late 19th century.
McCormick began selling their pumpkin pie spice in the 1950s. Pumpkin spice cakes and pumpkin pies were beloved by Americans long before Starbucks introduced their Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Over the past few decades, the term “pumpkin spice” has evolved. Nowadays, a food labeled “pumpkin spice” typically refers to something containing cinnamon and sugar. Pumpkin itself has become an optional component of the “pumpkin spice” experience.
Is pumpkin spice really squash spice?
Contrary to what you might think, “pumpkin spice” is not a seasoning derived from squash. Pumpkin spice is typically a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Sometimes, other spices may be included or certain spices may be omitted from the mix.
What is nice cream?
“Nice cream” is a term used to describe non-dairy ice cream alternatives made with a frozen banana base. Some nice cream recipes use other fruits as a base, such as dates.
Nice creams can vary in terms of added sugar content, so it’s important to review the ingredients in each recipe to determine if they align with your preferences.
Is nice cream healthy?
The healthiness of nice cream varies depending on the recipe. In the case of this pumpkin spice nice cream, I consider it a healthy snack option since it contains no added sugar. However, I have come across nice cream recipes with excessive amounts of added sugar, which I wouldn’t necessarily endorse.
Additionally, most nice cream recipes do not provide the essential nutrients found in dairy ice cream, such as protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. It’s crucial to ensure you’re obtaining these nutrients through other sources in your diet.
While nice cream can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert substitute, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate other calcium and protein-rich foods into your meals.
What can you do with canned pumpkin that is not a pie?
Got leftover canned pumpkin after making this pumpkin spice nice cream? No problem! I have plenty of recipe suggestions for you. Here are a few ideas:
- Quick Black Bean Soup with Pumpkin Swirl
- Pumpkin Barbecue Meatloaf Recipe with Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
All these recipes can also be made using fresh pumpkin. With these options, you could enjoy pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Who knew there were so many uses for canned pumpkin that aren’t pumpkin pie?
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And now for the disclaimer…
Please note that all recipes on this website may or may not be suitable for your specific medical needs and personal preferences. If you require assistance determining the ideal dietary pattern for you, consult with a registered dietitian or your physician.
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and should be treated as a courtesy. The actual nutritional values may vary depending on the specific brands and ingredients you use. Calorie information on food labels can often be inaccurate, so don’t fret too much about the numbers.
For more information on how the three recipe levels can help with your weight management goals, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post.
Now, let’s get cooking and enjoy this delightful pumpkin spice nice cream!