This stuff is awesome. It is just utterly, completely the bomb. A few months ago, as temperatures got higher, I started my annual round of homemade vegan ice cream experimentation. Like many others, I seem to face the same problems every year: not creamy enough; too watery; doesn’t freeze well; doesn’t resemble ice cream, etc. etc. This is the first summer I’ve experimented with oats as an ice cream base, and I was delighted with the results. So were the people (vegans and omnis alike) to whom I served it.
Of course, as a disclaimer, I have to put that there are two completely standard but completely fabulous vegan ice cream recipes that are super easy and always work in a pinch:
1. Blend a frozen banana. Eat as is, or add a splash of soymilk, vanilla, cocoa powder, sweetener, etc. etc. This takes all of 1 minute and results in yummy, creamy, non-banana-y soft serve ice cream.
2. Take a carton of Silk creamer (vanilla and hazelnut are particularly good). Pour into ice cream maker, and enjoy creamy richness 20 minutes later. Not the healthiest, but quick, easy, reliable, sweet, and creamy. Always a good choice.
However, for times when you want more than frozen banana puree masquerading as ice cream, and you either don’t have Silk creamer or don’t want to think about eating half a container of creamer :), I present this recipe.
It is 1. delicious 2. creamy 3. versatile and easily adjustable to fit your preferences 4. cheap 5. easy 6. made from ingredients we all have on hand all the time. The oats, soaked in water, release a nice gumminess that makes the ice cream creamy and thick, rather than watery. However, the recipe is suprisingly low in fat, with no actual added fat. (I did try it with some added oil, and there wasn’t a significant enough of a difference to mandate oil in the recipe.)
There is seriously nothing not to love about this ice cream.
It does take more steps than my normal recipes, but most of the time is waiting time rather than active time. It’s worth it.
Oat-based ice cream
1.5 cups oatmeal
3 cups water (or use half water, half soymilk for a richer product)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
splash of vanilla
dash of salt
Grind oats into flour. Put the oat flour into a blender with the water. Puree for a minute or so. Let the mixture sit for a while, about an hour. Puree again. Let sit for a few minutes. IF desired, strain the oat mixture at this time. Straining results in a creamier texture, but it is not completely necessary. If you’re okay with a little textured bite to your ice cream, don’t strain.
After straining (or not), add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. (at this time you could add other extracts or cocoa powder, etc.). Put the mixture in the refrigerator and let it sit at least an hour or two, and preferably 4-6 hours. This is so that the oats get absorbed into the liquid and the natural gums come out, thus resulting in a creamier, thicker ice cream product.
Whisk (or blend) the mixture prior to putting it in your ice cream maker. Some of the oat flour will settle to the bottom; you want to reincorporate it into the mixture (do not strain again or else your ice cream will be all watery). Pour into your ice cream maker and follow instructions henceforth. Enjoy!
Note: similar to other homemade ice creams, this once gets pretty hard when frozen, so it’s best to eat it as soon as possible after making.
Also, adjust the oat flour/water proportion to your liking, as well as the sugar and flavoring.