Forget all the rules you’ve been told about what it takes to make rich, delicious, perfectly creamy homemade ice cream. This Vegan Pumpkin Oat Ice Cream has a measly 5 grams of fat per serving, is made with 8 common ingredients, and is so creamy you’ll swear it’s full of saturated fat! The secret? Oatmeal! This healthy pumpkin ice cream is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, and contains NO coconut milk!
Holy. Moly. Okay y’all, I’m actually having a difficult time figuring out how to write this post without sounding like an overly enthusiastic infomercial person. And that’s because my enthusiasm for this new method of making vegan ice cream is so ridiculously over the top. I mean, just look at it! So melty and thick and creamy.
For those of you who enjoy geeking out over food and like to know how recipes are inspired, I’ll tell you…
The Inspiration for this Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream
After falling in love with this Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe, I was deciding what sort of pumpkin sweet treat to make next. I wanted to keep it healthy (i.e. made from whole foods), and realized the pumpkin pie filling itself would probably translate really well into ice cream. Later that night I was reading through Miyoko Schinner’s The Homemade Vegan Pantry, and I spotted her recipe for luscious, low-fat vanilla oat gelato. (my pie filling uses oats; intrigue was building!)
In the instructions she mentions that the texture of the ice cream might seem stretchy or gummy after churning, and not to be put off by it. And that was the light bulb moment. If you’ve ever made (or attempted to make) homemade oat milk, you know how challenging it can be to prevent the dreaded oat slime. Well, slimy milk is definitely not ideal, but guess what! With ice cream, after you freeze it, the slime-factor turns into creaminess! That Miyoko is a genius.
I couldn’t wait to get a batch of pumpkin ice cream going. I tested (and we ate) it twice over the next two days, and I was so excited about sharing it with you!
But then, while thumbing through her book again a couple of nights later (yes, I read cookbooks before bed), I flipped to the page after the vanilla oat gelato, and saw a recipe for chocolate gelato. Okay, that sounds yum, but in small print at the bottom of the page was a variation for Pumpkin Oat Gelato.
My first thought was, “Noooooo! Now I can’t share my pumpkin ice cream because our recipes are so similar.” (They’re not exactly the same, but close.) I’d planned to credit her vanilla gelato recipe as inspiring this one, of course, but I didn’t want anyone to think I had straight up copied the pumpkin version from her book. 🙁 I’m always very mindful of following proper blogger etiquette, giving credit to those who inspire our recipes and never sharing recipes that are basically exactly like someone else’s.
So I thought about it some more the next day, and I came to the conclusion that it would be okay to share my pumpkin ice cream for two main reasons: a) this is Miyoko Schinner we’re talking about. She’s running a vegan creamery empire and really isn’t impacted by this at all (unless maybe I can actually help sell a few copies of The Homemade Vegan Pantry by telling you how amazing it is – it really is!). And b) I truly did come up with this recipe and test it twice before seeing her pumpkin variation. So, I decided to share this story with you and get some awesome, low-fat, life-changing pumpkin ice cream into your hands. And really, ALL pumpkin desserts contain pretty much the same spices in similar amounts, so these things are inevitable! (Hers doesn’t include the extra cinnamon, though, and is sweetened differently.)
Ingredients in this Vegan Pumpkin Oat Ice Cream
- 3 cups non-dairy milk of choice, such as almond or soy
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin
- 1 cup coconut sugar (you can also use 3/4 cup maple syrup, brown sugar, or a brown/regular cane sugar combo if that’s easier for you)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla
- tiny pinch of salt
SO many vegan ice cream recipes call for coconut milk, including this one of mine. As a coconut lover, I don’t really mind. But sometimes you don’t want the flavor of coconut mucking up the other flavors, you know? Sometimes it’s nice to have vanilla that just tastes like vanilla, or coffee that just tastes like coffee.
And then there are the people who really want to enjoy dairy-free ice cream recipes but are allergic to coconut AND the folks who follow low-fat diets for health reasons. I imagine they’re all pretty tired of clicking on recipe after recipe online and seeing coconut milk in almost every single one. This is why I’m so excited to know that we can use a small amount of oatmeal to replace the fat content of coconut milk!
- I tested the recipe using coconut sugar, but you can use brown and/or organic cane sugar, if preferred. Also, Miyoko’s recipe calls for 3/4 cup maple syrup as the sweetener, so that’s another option.
- I’ve tested soy and almond milks as the liquid in this recipe, and both were good (soy is creamier). Feel free to use any unsweetened milk that suits your dietary needs.
- If you can’t eat cashews and don’t mind using coconut, feel free to replace the cashews with 1/3 cup coconut cream. Almond, macadamia, or pecan butter would also work (1/4 cup).
- Unfortunately, I haven’t had an opportunity yet to test this ice cream using the standard no-churn method. I’m pretty confident you won’t get the same results, but it’s worth a shot! So if you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the chilled mixture into a freezer-safe container, and stir it every 30 to 45 minutes until it’s as frozen as you like (about 5 hours). **If you have a handheld or stand mixer, another option is to beat air into the mixture before transferring it to a freezer-safe container and freezing for 5 hours.
I’ve been using this Cuisinart 2 Quart ice cream maker for years and can recommend it.
I hope you LOVE this Vegan Pumpkin Oat Ice Cream as much as we do! If you do try this recipe, please let us know in the comments below. You can also tag me in a photo on facebook or instagram with @myquietkitchen if you feel like showing off your yummy pumpkin ice cream. And stay tuned for more flavors using this magical oatmeal/milk base!
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Vegan Pumpkin Oat Ice Cream (NO Coconut Milk!)
- 3 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, divided I've used both soy and almond.
- scant 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw cashews If you don't have a high speed blender, sub 1/4 cup raw cashew butter.
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup coconut sugar OR 3/4 to 1 cup cup maple syrup Can also sub brown sugar or a brown/cane sugar combo, if preferred.
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Planning is key! If using an ice cream maker, be sure to put the canister in the freezer the day before you want to churn the ice cream. Also note that the ice cream mixture needs time to chill before churning, and the churned ice cream needs about 3 to 4 hours in the freezer for a firmer, scoopable consistency.
- In a small sauce pan, simmer the oats in 1 cup of the milk until the oats are soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In a blender combine the remaining 2 cups of milk and the cashews. Blend on high until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla, and oatmeal to the blender, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until cold (overnight is fine, too).
- Churn the mixture according the instructions for your ice cream maker. The ice cream will be very thick. Scoop it into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for 3 to 4 hours.
- Around the 4 hour mark, and definitely if left in the freezer longer, the ice cream will be hard. Allow it to soften at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before scooping.