The best dairy-free ice cream brands are not just for vegans
Half the population’s stomach pain now has a name: casein and lactose intolerance. This sad truth means no cheese, no milk and consequently no ice cream. But saying goodbye to this childhood favourite for the sake of your belly’s happiness does not have to be painful nor boring. In fact, breaking up your overly close relationship with the bathroom might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Because dairy-free ice cream is not only feasible, it can also be delightful. So whether you are looking to spare your stomach or the animals, these pints of dairy-free deliciousness shall bring cold spoonfuls of joy to your mouth.
Dairy-free before it was cool, So Delicious is a pioneer of the anything-but-milk kind of ice cream. It has been here to support broken-hearted, overheating and foodie vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers for years. Available worldwide and found in any supermarket, So Delicious offers an extensive selection of exclusively dairy-free frozen treats made with soy, almond or coconut milk. But for the ultimate experience, extra creaminess and decadent flavours, opt for their top product to date: the cashew milk line.
World-renowned grocery store ice cream brand Haagen Dazs, to our great pleasure, recently saw an opportunity in the non-dairy market. The result is a high calorie, high deliciousness pint of indulgence that lives up to the brand’s reputation. Substituting milk for a coconut, cashew and almond base was also no excuse for the company to skip on the delicious swirls of Belgian fudge, peanut butter or caramel, chunks of truffles, cookie crumbles and pieces of chocolate-covered peanuts.
This brand, bringing gelato to the American continent’s frozen aisles, also dabbles in the wonderful world of sorbetto. Available in fruity and sweet-and-salty flavours, the latter are completely devoid of animal products and no less deliciously refreshing. A tad fancy, it’s the perfect accompaniment for homemade pies or any luscious dessert, but is just as suitable for spooning straight from the jar in front of the television.
Ben and Jerry’s
Perhaps you already knew about that one, given the wave of glee following Ben and Jerry’s vegan ice cream launch. The extensive and decadent line sure deserves a place on this list as a serious contender when in the mood for something truly delightful and unapologetically unhealthy. Because indulgence is to a healthy mind what non-gmo organic mixed baby greens are to a healthy diet.
Despite its questionable wordplay name, Nada Moo shares nothing with the too numerous and often shabby breakfast restaurants containing the word “egg”. The Texas-born brand prides itself—as it should— on deserving the state with dairy-free creaminess since 2004, but only recently expanded nationwide. Unfortunately a bit hard to find, Nada Moo offers its organic coconut milk ice cream in many interesting flavours such as strawberry cheesecake, pistachio, and caramel-cold brew and cookies.
Luna and Larry’s
Luna and Larry’s dairy-free ice cream, better known as Coconut Bliss, is not only free of the common allergens, but also organic. Fans of classic flavours will love this exclusively vegan brand. Easy to get your hands on, it’s the best quick fix for all the sweet tooth out there looking to treat themselves while staying away from chemicals and undesirable ingredients that such desserts too often enclose.
Halo Top revolutionized the frozen treat world by offering a low calorie, high-protein version of ice cream that actually competes with the real stuff. And then, they went even further by blessing us all with a dairy-free line. With flavours such as cinnamon roll, pancakes and waffles, chocolate chip cookie dough and sea salt caramel, vegans and lactose and casein-intolerant people can now devour a whole pint completely guilt-free, even during bikini season.
When it comes to high-protein ice cream, Enlightened has long been treated as a last resort. The Ugly Ducklings of the low-calorie frozen treats however shocked a nation once it gave plant-based a chance. Now truly competing with the likes of Halo Top with its seven decadent dairy-free flavours, Enlightened might as well replace their main recipe with its delicious new almond milk based one.
Arctic Zero quite recently went through a much-needed and most successful facelift. What used to be a sad excuse for lactose-free ice cream—one that still contained dairy products— is now completely milk derivatives-free. It seems that the delay was worth it, because word is that this new version ranks among the best low-calorie ice creams. However, this guilt-free joy in a pint is still way too hard to find. I guess we’ll have to show some more patience.
Here’s the one you’ll want to take to the next annual family corn roast. Next time you head to the flatlands of Iowa, make sure to pack a cooler full of your favourite Breyers non-dairy flavours. As the classic American brand gives in to what is hopefully a craze that will never die with a version that certainly lives up to its dairy counterpart, your aunt Meredith and cousin Billy won’t notice a difference. You’ll, therefore, spare yourself the stomach pains and the unwelcome value judgments.
Forget about toasts, ice cream is the new best way to enjoy your avocado. Although available nationwide, this SoCal number is, unfortunately, a bit more difficult to get your hands on. Best enjoyed under the shining sun, Cado’s avocado-based vegan ice cream might just be the creamiest of all-natural healthy treats.
To our great pleasure, Whole Foods couldn’t carry all those dreamy vegan frozen delights without giving in to the temptation of capitalizing on the need for a non-dairy alternative. And thankfully, 365’s try at almond milk ice cream is a success. The brand even blesses us with seasonal limited edition flavours to complete their main line and have us running to the store in need of the latest special goods.
Rooted in the even expanding nature loving Vancouver community, the very trendy Nora was born in a household kitchen out of the desire to satisfy the need for truly creamy and tasty plant-based ice cream back when the scene was a pretty sad one. Years later, their cashew concoction does not only compete with the real thing, but remains an artisanal delicacy. Devoid of any artificial anything, it is churned in small batches in BC for everyone’s pleasure.
Van Leeuwen’s a Brooklyn native, hence the killer design and even cooler flavours. Handcrafted from scratch with only a handful of fresh ingredients, what started as an artisan ice cream truck in the streets of New York is now a coveted name of the scooping world all the way to LA grocery stores. Look for the colourful lids and white background tubs for a taste of their amazing vegan frozen desserts.
Hakuna Banana takes healthy ice cream to the next level with their all-natural, no sugar added original non-dairy pints. Forget about keeping frozen bananas in your freezer on the regular, the California-based bright and happy company did all the work for you and even mixed sexy flavour into their banana base ice cream. Your grocery store might no stock them, but no worries, they ship nationwide.
Deprivation and barely-hitting-the-spot watery non-dairy frozen treats are a thing of the past. Dairy-free ice cream brands new grace supermarket freezers around the world, and while some still aren’t quite worthy of eating your emotions, most will bring you everything you hope for and more from an ice cream cone.
Cover photo credit: @epicurious | Instagram