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Maple Walnut Cashew Banana Ice Cream Sundae Recipe - Vegan, Gluten-Free

I enjoy sharing delicious traditional recipes that have been modified to meet the needs of those who are vegan or gluten-sensitive.

Maple Walnut Cashew-Banana Ice Cream Sundae


The Granny to Granny Challenge

In the comments section of a hub for a recipe for a luscious Ice Cream Cheese Cake Parfait, I was raving and drooling over the lovely confection presented by Hubpages writer, ecogranny, "but," I wailed, "I am a vegan so I will not actually be able to eat this." Ecogranny challenged me to come up with a vegan version of her recipe. Over the couple of weeks since the challenge, my food-obsessed mind kept returning to the ice cream bliss. I knew that I could make a rather complicated vegan cream cheese mixture to replicate some of the qualities of Neuchatel, and I have been known to put together two or three (or six) passably delicious vegan cheese cakes. However, the process is fairly lengthy and the mood to spend all that time did not overtake me.

Today I had a brainstorm. Instead of the vegan copy of ecogranny's lovely dairy parfait sundae, I would put together another sort of vegan sundae-- one that would be quicker and easier and use fewer than 7 ingredients. (I know that readers appreciate). So was born the idea for a Maple Walnut Sundae using blender-whipped-up cashew-banana ice cream.

I have no ice cream maker, but my method works out quite well to produce creamy, delicious vegan ice cream. A high speed blender (like Vitamix or Blendex) is useful, but as my veggie-foodie mentor, Wyona Hertwig taught me, any blender will do, you just have to lengthen the process somewhat without the Vitamix. If you have an ice-cream maker yourself, well, you just go ahead and follow the instructions on it and please let me know how that turns out!


  • 3-4 ripe organic bananas
  • 1 can - 400 ml - organic coconut milk (not Lite)
  • 200 g (about 7-8 oz) organic raw whole cashews (or pieces)
  • 30 g (2 teaspoons) organic vanilla extract
  • maple syrup
  • small handful of organic walnuts, toasted
  • chocolate chips or carob chips (gluten-free) (optional)
from: "The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass" by Bill Maher

from: "The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass" by Bill Maher


The Night Before:

  • Peel and break 4 bananas into chunks. Put into a zip lock bag and freeze overnight (minimum of 4 hours)

The Day of the Making:

  1. Get all your ingredients together.
  2. Open the can of coconut milk and pour it into the Blender over the Cashews. Work your tamper if you have a Vitamix to get it all creamy smooth.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and 2 of the frozen bananas (chunks to equal 2 bananas). Return the rest of the bananas to the freezer.
  4. Pulse or work small batches if you do not have a Vitamix or similar high speed blender. Do whatever is needed, short of adding any extra liquid, to get this smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour in a shot of maple syrup-- not more than 1/4 C.
  6. You can add in a tiny handful of coconut shreds if you wish-- if you like coconut ice cream (most of us do!) Whirl up.
  7. Pour or spoon into a 6-cup muffin tin or ice-cube tray(s). I use a silicone muffin tray but know that not everyone has one of those-- yet. Use what you have available.
  8. Put muffin tray or ice cube tray into the freezer for about 4+ hours until solidly frozen.
  9. Spread walnuts on pizza tray on aluminum foil (dull side up) and put in 350F / 180C oven for about 15 minutes to toast (don't let them burn-- different ovens heat at different rates)
  10. Put walnuts aside to cool.
Putting it together: Vanilla Extract, Bananas, Banana-Coconut-Cashew Pucks...

Putting it together: Vanilla Extract, Bananas, Banana-Coconut-Cashew Pucks...

Making the Sundae

  1. Pop 2 or more of the frozen hockey pucks that are the ice cream base into the blender carafe
  2. Add in 1 or more of the frozen bananas and cream up together, using Vitamix tamper or doing in small batches with less powerful blenders.
  3. When done, you can use the 'ice cream' instantly, or you can put it in a cake pan back into the freezer for that gourmet look (where you scrape your scoop down the length of the ice cream-- you know, all the jazzy recipe sites do that)
  4. When making up the sundae, use individual cups or dishes and let people put on how many walnuts, banana slices, they might want.
  5. Pour over a bit of maple syrup and / or chocolate /carob syrup (I just melt and stir up a small handful of chips over hot water and pour over the ice cream at the last minute before eating)
  6. Put a cherry on top!
  7. Enjoy!

Another Vegan Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Click on the Source to go to this delicious alternate recipe for vegan maple walnut ice cream, thanks to Hannah Sunderani.

Click on the Source to go to this delicious alternate recipe for vegan maple walnut ice cream, thanks to Hannah Sunderani.

The Evolution of Ice Cream

My father and mother grew up in the tail-end of the Great Depression. My mother's parents operated a general store in a small prairie town and were in a position to eat reasonably well during a time when people across North America were starving. My father's parents farmed and his mother was something nigh to a master gardener and a student of "home economics," so even if crops all around them were failing, apparently they also ate reasonably well. But the one thing that neither one of them could ever get enough of as a celebratory treat was ice cream.

I Scream You Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream

A Farm Boy's Sweet Reward

My father told me a story (a few times) of how his father would gather boys from the surrounding farms together for a day of stone-picking, and weeding, both extremely arduous tasks. They would work hard and then... Grandpa would take them all to town in his truck for ice cream! This was one of my dear father's fondest stories in his last days of recalling his childhood memories. I know that it is probably irrational, but I feel a little retrospective guilt that my grandfather bought a full day's hard labour for an ice-cream cone. My Dad, however, looked back on the experience with joy, so I am choosing to reframe this as the boys of the day were under-employed and needed an opportunity to learn some farm skills. They volunteered their services for a day's work and as a reward, were taken to town for delicious ice cream!

"Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana" 1941. Two boys seated on sacks in back of pickup-truck eating ice-cream.

"Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana" 1941. Two boys seated on sacks in back of pickup-truck eating ice-cream.

So, I grew up in the 50s/60s with parents who adored ice cream treats. Massive Banana Splits, drumsticks, cones, you name it! I do believe we always had a brick of ice cream at the ready, or it was rapidly acquired. My parents spoke so lovingly of ice cream. To my ear I always heard "eyeSH cream."

My Dad got to indulge his general love for dairy products when he became a milk delivery man for a couple of years as a young husband and father. I heard many more stories from that part of his life than from his much longer and more esteemed role as a leader in another career capacity.

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In 1970 I married a young man who grew up living just behind one of the largest dairies in the city of Vancouver. Throughout his childhood a fleet of delivery vehicles revved their engines and started out at 4:00 a.m. within yards of his bedroom window. But apart from what had to have been at least some degree of sleep disturbance, he mostly recalls going over to the Palm Dairy store for an ice cream cone a few times a week!

In 1975 our younger child was diagnosed with a dairy allergy that created an ongoing number of health issues whenever he ingested any dairy products. It was not a stretch for us, his parents, to realize that we, too, were likely allergic.

Our dairy-sensitive son, in his late 40's, continues to avoid milk and its ilk. My husband and I no longer eat dairy and do not have dairy or other-than-plant-based foods in our home.

Vegan-- and now, gluten-free-- food preparation can be a little more challenging if you want to produce something that has flavour and mouth-appeal close to the original non-vegan, wheat-containing foods. Helpfully, there continue to be an increasing number of vegans and gluten-sensitives sharing wonderful recipes, many of them on Hubpages! As well, the food industry seems to have burgeoned forth to meet the demand-- if you can not find local supplies for just about any possible vegan and gluten-free food, you can certainly track down those recipe ingredients online. Making vegan and gluten-free ice cream, for example, can be as complex and gourmet a process as you choose, or as simple as whirling up a frozen banana in your blender! Enjoy the process-- creating something you have never tried before is more than half the fun of arriving at the final taste delight!


Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 21, 2015:


Thank you for becoming a friend on here and for your comments! I could tease you about having a passion for dental health AND for desserts, but I won't! I hope you enjoy this confection when you try it! (Just remember to brush and floss afterwards!) ~Cynthia

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 21, 2015:

Au fait:

Thank you as always for your kind words, and for your other actions as well-- voting, pinning, sharing! All the best, Cynthia

Dr. Samprita Sahu from Indore, India on January 20, 2015:

It looks so tempting. I love cooking, specially making desserts n I am sure m gonna try it!!!!

C E Clark from North Texas on January 20, 2015:

Such interesting family stories and a yummy recipe too! It looks so delicious!! Voted up and BAUI, also pinned to my 'Fabulous Deserts' board, and sharing with my followers.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on December 15, 2014:

Thank you for dropping by vespawoolf and commenting on this hub. It is a rather complicated recipe, I'll admit, but it was delicious, and I think non-vegans would even agree to that. I wouldn't go as far as calling it out and out "healthy" since it is pretty high fat and contains sugar, but it doesn't have cholesterol, so that is in its favour! Thank you again!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 15, 2014:

Wow, you had quite a challenge ahead of you in creating this recipe. Congratulations! I´m sure it´s fabulous! Although I´m not a vegan, I do enjoy healthy eating and I have friends who would benefit from this recipe, so I plan to try it soon. It´s interesting how health challenges in the family can change our way of eating and we can still enjoy many delicious treats. Thank you for sharing! The photo has my mouth watering. : )

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on November 08, 2014:

Hey Kathryn, welcome back! There are a couple of good hubs on ghee on here already, but thanks for the suggestion! I'm a total ghee-novice and my husband is up for pretty much any food, so chances are the stuff we are eating is very inferior (I'm almost sure of this-- plastic jar, for example, and knowing my husband's penchant for a bargain)but everything we have cooked in it has smelled and tasted splendid-- that's what we are going on. And, yes, I have definitely considered making my own. I have an old friend in London who made ghee back when we had babies and lived in Vancouver (last century, 1971). I never even noticed the ghee, but recently flashed back to that time. She cooked during all our times together in her kitchen, and everything she made was nourishing and delicious-- Ed and I now think it was largely because of the ghee (and all those Indian recipes that were her heritage).

Very interesting about your daughter studying Ayurveda with a teacher in India. Ed is very taken with what he has learned and I've even picked up some stuff about the 3 doshas, just by listening to his enthusiastic monologues.

Thanks for your encouragement (I think that is a strong virtue of yours, right?). I'd like to return the favour and suggest that it would be interesting for me to read something that you write about your making of and cooking with ghee, and your daughter's experiences/your learning from her, also sounds very interesting! I find what my adult children are passionate about sharing is usually something that I also fall in love with. All the best, Cynthia

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on November 08, 2014:

Not to worry, Cynthia, I will try more recipes like yours as time goes by. My daughter is a student of Ayurveda as well. In fact she studied with a teacher in India for some time and has given me some good advice over the years.

Do you make your own ghee? I bought a jar at my local green grocers, but we did not enjoy it at all. Then I saw a tutorial on making our own and realized that fresh-made would be so much better than canned.

If you put up a hub about making ghee, do let me know, please. I'd be interested.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on November 08, 2014:

MelRootsNWrites, nice to meet you! It actually is pretty easy to put together a delicious vegan ice cream with a blender and time to do it, and a whole lot less expensive, especially when a person lives in California with all the nut farms, etc.

I just took a short tour of your page, followed you, and will be over to read some of your articles within the next couple of days-- I'm interested in much that you are, so I'm looking forward to it!

Thank you for dropping by! ~Cynthia

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on November 08, 2014:

ecogranny, thank you for coming by. I am revising an older website from our church's veggie cooking school and actually cooking all the recipes-- both my husband and I are delighted with this project-- pretty funny that I just volunteered to throw the site up and didn't actually take advantage of cooking the healthy, yummy food before. Well, I'm making up for lost time .

I do relate to your love for butter, cream and eggs-- but I'm happy to report that there are tons of plant-strong recipes that are delicious, easy to whip up, and taste like ambrosia-- and that really tweak the creative part of our natures in a way that cooking with animal products doesn't. And I must confess that my husband just took a Longevity class (Ayurveda) at the local Elder College and we are now re-introducing butter in the form of ghee into our cooking. We are much restricted in our use of this lovely oil, but I still feel apologetic and slightly wicked.

Thank you for all your kind words. ~Cynthia

Melody Lassalle from California on November 08, 2014:

I usually buy Rice Dream or Tofutti ice cream. I can't believe it's so easy to make vegan ice without an ice cream maker, though. It looks delicious. Definitely worth giving a try!

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on November 08, 2014:

That looks absolutely scrumptious. Thank you for your kindly description of my frozen strawberry cheesecake parfait.

Thank you, too, for accepting my suggestion to make a vegan alternative, which I did not intend to be so strong as a challenge, but boy am I glad you took it that way, because this looks wonderful!

I am seriously challenged in the vegan area, as I am hopelessly in love with cream, eggs and butter, but I do experiment from time to time, especially now that we are getting older and don't exercise as vigorously as we once did.

I will give your recipe a try one of these days, and I keep thinking peanut butter might be wonderful with it.

You have such a fun, lilting writing style. Thoroughly enjoyed the page and the stories of your dad.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on November 06, 2014:

Hi Dianna, I really appreciate your dropping by and commenting! It is encouraging for me to hear that members of your family outgrew their childhood milk allergies and intolerances. As a young adult our son once thought that perhaps he had also come through the allergies and told me how he accompanied some friends to an organic dairy farm where the yogurt they made there was the rave of the land. Unfortunately after consuming only a small quantity he was sick for a week.

I pulled a couple of ice cream hockey pucks out of my freezer last night and my husband and I had a really delightful mango ice cream after supper-- recipe adaptation: 2 hockey pucks, 1+ C. frozen mango from Costco, 1 C. Almond Milk-- blend. Really worth the effort-- hope you get to try some!

Blessings! ~Cynthia

Dianna Mendez on November 05, 2014:

Oh my gosh, that first photo is so wonderful! Where is my portion? I can relate to the milk allergy and intolerance issue. Members of our family had severe reactions as children but have grown out of them. It is not a fun thing. I still avoid milk product myself and can certainly appreciate your recipe idea here. Thanks for sharing.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 31, 2014:

Dear MsDora, thank you for sweet words! I do believe those poor boys of decades ago on the dusty, hot prairies probably were satisfied-- it is likely that my grandfather's deal was the best one going at the time for idle kids. My friend Conrado, above, told me somewhere that it is not hard to find the ingredients for vegan gluten-free recipes, like this one, in the Philippines. I imagine this is pretty easy to whip up in the Caribbean as well! Hope so! ~Cynthia

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 31, 2014:

Thanks for the very nutritious gluten-free recipe. About the boys and the ice cream, I bet they were satisfied and had no complaints. Thanks for sharing from your family life experiences.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 29, 2014:

Dear FlourishAnyway, how I value your kind words! The object of this hub sits in my freezer and I am tempted to go and run the pucks through my blender, but as 'healthy' as it is, too many nuts for an already enriched diet is just too many! So, I am learning discipline, at an advanced age.

Yes, many people are discovering they have allergies and sensitivities to "food," sometimes (perhaps often) because the food is no longer of the same chemical and nutritional constituency as it was in times past. ~Cynthia

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 29, 2014:

You are so creative to have come up with this recipe. It sounds good as well as healthy. I enjoyed learning about your life as well. Many more people these days are discovering they have food allergies.

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 28, 2014:

Linda, my dear friend, thank you for your very favourable comments-- I, too, have made similar concoctions that did not turn out as this one did-- perhaps it was just a case of persevering, and perhaps I am becoming better at getting the right proportions of constituents, having spent so much time making this "healthy" junk food? haha... in any case, I appreciate your encouraging comments! ~Cynthia

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2014:

The ice cream in the opening photo looks so delicious, Cynthia. Your recipe sounds absolutely wonderful. I've made desserts vaguely like this that contain some combination of frozen bananas, cashew cream and coconut milk, but your recipe is so much better than anything that I've ever created!

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 28, 2014:

Thank you dear friend conradofontanilla-- I appreciate your recommending this recipe to your friend looking for GF food-- I hope s/he tries it and enjoys it!

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 28, 2014:

Hello my dear friend ChitrangadaSharan- thank you for your kind remarks-- I have to say that my mouth waters when I look at this as well, but I need to step back a little from all these rich foods! Thank you for your vote as well! ~Cynthia

conradofontanilla from Philippines on October 28, 2014:

An acquaintance of mine is looking for gluten=free food. I will recommend to him your recipe.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 28, 2014:

Wonderful Ice cream recipe and you presented it so well!

It sounds really delicious and your description makes it so mouth watering.

Great pictures too, voted up!

Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 27, 2014:

thank you my dear friend, I so appreciate your kind words on this bleak, rainy night! Thank you for your vote, tweeting and pinning! God bless, Cynthia

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 27, 2014:

Oh, wow, what a unique recipe and it looks yummy! Thank you for the interesting peek into your life too.

The photo is great! I give this a five star rating, although I do not see the ratings. Up ++++ tweeting and pinning


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