Chef Zoe’s RFB: Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream

I love ice cream! Who doesn’t? Even my cat Domino lines up to get his share. But today’s commercially made ice cream is so full of “junk” – pasteurized milk treated with hormones, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), processed white sugar, GMO soy lecithin, suspicious preservatives and a handful of artificial dyes and flavors. Yes, that is even in your favorite Ben & Jerry’s and Hagen Daaz!

Worry no more because there is a much safer, easier and tastier way to enjoy ice cream. Enter the world of raw vegan ice cream! My recipe for Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream will change your perception of ice cream forever. You will be able to enjoy an amazingly smooth, creamy and flavorful ice cream created with 100% plant-based ingredients. No, you are not dreaming.

It took me a while to get the recipe right. Dairy ice cream has signature creaminess usually delivered by the heavy cream and eggs. To duplicate this quality I combined Organic Balinese Cashews with the “meat” of Young Thai Coconut. Then I added a little bit of Organic Raw coconut Oil and emulsified everything with Raw Sunflower Lecithin

Lecithin is very important in recipes involving blending fats with other liquids. Pretty much all salad dressings, ice cream, chocolate and cheesecakes on the market contain lecithin. However, they use GMO soy lecithin. You do not want that one. Raw Sunflower Lecithin is a much healthier alternative and provides 25% more choline than soy lecithin. Choline is very important for the healthy development of the brain and it aids in the detoxification of the liver. If you cannot find it locally, I carry it through my company RAWbundant

Please first watch the video tutorial on how to open Young Thai Coconut. If you cannot find one at your Asian market or Whole Foods, you may substitute with packaged coconut water, coconut milk or almond milk. If lower fat ice cream is your goal, you can even use simply spring water.

~ Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream ~

by Chef Zoe

Serves 4


  • Cleaver – for opening the coconut (see video above)
  • Cuisinart or another home ice cream maker
  • Vitamix or another high-speed blender
  • Cutting board, measuring spoons and cups, ice cream scoop


  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 Cup Water from Young Thai Coconut
  • “Meat” of 1 Young Thai coconut, approximately 1 Cup
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Agave Nectar
  • 4 Tablespoons Raw Coconut Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Sunflower Lecithin
  • Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

*You can purchase any of those ingredients via my website Email me at if you have any questions or to place your order.


  • Rinse out the cashews and add to your Vitamix blender with everything but the lecithin and coconut oil.
  • Blend on high for about two minutes.
  • Stop the blender and add the lecithin and coconut oil. It’s very important you follow that so you get creamy emulsified texture.
  • Blend for another minute and pour the mixture into a container and leave in the freezer for an hour to chill completely. You may skip that step if you do not want to wait. Colder mixture simply speeds up the time of churning the ice cream.
  • Turn on your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you are using a Cuisinart unit, make sure to chill the bowl complete int he freezer overnight.
  • After 25 minutes, you should have ready to consume ice cream!

Mixture before churning
Mixture after 25 minute churning

Flavor variations:

Chocolate – skip the vanilla bean and add 1/4 – 1/3 Cup Raw Cacao Powder.

Chocolate Chip Mint – skip the vanilla bean; substitute the vanilla extract for a few drops of peppermint essential oil and toss a couple spoons of Raw Cacao Nibs five minutes before the ice cream has finished churning.

Strawberry/Blueberry/Raspberry/Mango – crush desired amount and add to ice cream maker five minutes before it has finished churning. You may also add those to the blender and create a homogeneous fruit flavor.

Butter Praline (my fav!) – after you scoop out the ice cream into bowls add pieces of RAWbundant Candied Brazil Nutz and drizzle with Raw Coconut Nectar. It’s like caramel but so much healthier!

If you create some cool new flavor, you are welcome to share with us by posting the recipe below in the comments.

Left: Butter Praline / Right: Vanilla Coconut

Copyright © 2011 Zoe V. All Rights Reserved

23 thoughts on “Chef Zoe’s RFB: Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream

Add yours

  1. I had never heard of raw sunflower lecithin before. Interesting!
    I wonder if you could get the same effect by using Irish Moss.

    I’m curious as to your choice of sweetener. I always used to use agave,
    but I no longer use it because it’s apparently high in fructose. I haven’t figured out what to use in its place. Maybe low-glycemic dates, maybe coconut crystals.

  2. Great videos, Zoe. I’m glad you recommend sunflower lecithin. I don’t use soy in anything and highly recommend the sunflower lecithin, which I even use in my edible organic skin care products.

    As Judy mentioned, I don’t use agave as a sweetener because of its high fructose and prefer to use honey or dates.

    Can’t wait to try this!

  3. Judy, I use a variety of low glycemic sweeteners – agave nectar, coconut nectar, coconut palm sugar, dried fruit. It really depends on the recipe. Agave does not need to be present in everything you do. It works best for recipes where you do not want too much flavor to affect the rest of the ingredients. Great example is my RAWbundant Coconut Macaroons. I tried both agave and coconut nectar. Coconut Nectar added too much of its flavor but agave was perfect. With my Sprouted Grawnola, coconut nectar works great! You can make this ice cream recipe with raw coconut nectar if you wish. See how you like it. I carry the Coconut Secret brand, so let me know if you want me to ship you some.

    Also, I want to note that my agave is clear in color meaning less processing than the amber and dark varieties. That makes a difference too. No need to vilify a health food. Just use it in moderation and sensibly.

  4. Thank you, Stephanie! Check out my reply to Judy’s comment on the agave to see my stand on it.

    Let me know when you need to replenish your stock on sunflower lecithin. I may be able to give you a great deal. 🙂

  5. Zoe, if I don’t have an ice cream maker, will this still turn out as good if I just put it in the freezer?

  6. I made this ice cream last night and it was Phenomenal!! Better than I could have imagined. My family loved it and it made a lot! There was plenty for breakfast this morning LOL! Zoe you are so talented! Thank you for sharing this recipe with the world. 🙂

  7. Heidi, without the ice cream maker, the mixture is not as smooth and as creamy. You can find a very affordable ice cream makers on Amazon or even at yard sales in your neighborhood. The one I have costs $40 at BBB.

  8. Hello Zoe,
    I made this ice cream on Tues.27; surperb flavor and texture. I will be making this again! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I’m allergic to coconut and I’m looking for raw alternatives to replace it when making cheesecake, ice cream and fruit-based pies. Would simply using sunflower lecithin be sufficient? Thanks! 🙂

  10. hi, how important is the coconut oil? what if i omit it? i don’t have it on stock…

    and can i substitute the Lecithin with a tbsp. of psylium husks?


  11. Hello Zoe,
    How would you recommend these recipes to be made when you have someone in the home with a peanut allergy? I have doctors tell me once allergic you will always be, but I know someone who now eats limited nuts without a reaction. Do you think the master cleanse and outer detox can help someone be more tolerant to the nut? Just looking for opinion at this point.
    Thank you

  12. You may skip the coconut oil but not the lecithin. That is what prevents fat and water from separating so you get one smooth mixture. I doubt Psylium Husk can do that. It’s a thickener and not an emulsifier as lecithin.

  13. Well, to begin with, I do not use or recommend ANY peanuts in my recipes or product line RAWbundant. They are not nuts but legumes and highly susceptible to carcinogenic mold.

    The Master Cleanse is for detoxing but not for eliminating food allergies. I don’t think it would have an impact in that regard.

  14. I can’t use coconut oil either, so I use either sunflower lecithin or irish moss. Works like a charm. 🙂
    Check out my site, I have a post on ice cream, as well as a video under “Coconut-free, banana-free and nut-free raw vegan mint ice cream.” Hope it helps! I can’t have any of that pre-made, store-bought garbage either, so full of toxic ingredients!

  15. Michelle, in this particular recipe coconut “meat” is such a big component that cannot be substituted. Try Asian markets or Whole Foods. They usually carry young Thai coconuts.

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