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When I first started perusing pistachio ice cream recipes for ideas I noticed several people were using pistachio paste. “Really? That seems like cheating to me.” Well, after shelling 16 oz of pistachios, I understand. My fingernails were all frayed like I had been bowling. Not to mention it took like 30 or 45 minutes. And technically I needed even more pistachios but luckily, for my fingers, I didn’t have any.

I’ve been wanting to make pistachio ice cream for a while now. I had some in Puerto Vallarta last year while we were on vacation and it was soooo good. But have you seen the price tag on pistachios? Yikes! We happened to score some cheap pistachios at the Grocery Outlet store however. I seriously doubt they were organic, but sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.

The handful of recipes I looked at online called for cooking the mixture before freezing, but they all used eggs in their ice cream. Reason # 164 while being vegan rocks: tofu doesn’t need to be cooked! Yay. These recipes also called for 2 total cups of pistachios, I only had 1. They also called for like 6 egg yolks, 3 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of milk. I’m not sure what that translates to in tofu and coconut milk but I’m guessing a wee bit more than what I made. Because 1 cup of nuts was enough. 1 and 1/2 would have been better probably, but I’m not missing the other half cup. This stuff was so good I had trouble putting the lid on the tub after transferring it from the ice cream maker. The spoon kept sneaking up to my mouth.

So, here it is.

Pistachio Ice Cream (vegan and gluten-free)

  • 16 oz unsalted pistachios, about 1 cup shelled
  • Half a block of Mori-Nu extra firm silken tofu (it’s non-GMO!)
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 shot rum (helps it from turning into a concrete brick in the freezer)

Take 3/4 cup of the shelled pistachios and grind them in the your blender or food processor. I actually used a small coffee grinder so I wouldn’t have to scrape them out of the blender before putting the other ingredients in (nuts tend to clump in the bottom otherwise). Put all the ingredients into your blender, pistachios last or in the middle, and puree until very smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and wait patiently.

While you’re patiently waiting, take the remaining 1/4 cup of pistachios and coarsely chop them. Add them to the ice cream mixture towards the end of freezing.

So, you’ll notice there are some brown flecks in my ice cream. You know that flaky skin-like substance that’s on peanuts in the shell? It’s on pistachios as well. Perhaps you already know this, I didn’t think about it. Well, it’s not the easiest to remove. Maybe if you buy pre-shelled pistachios you won’t have the brown fleck issue… but if you, don’t worry, it doesn’t affect the taste.

One last tip, the word “salted” is usually written fairly largely on the bag. Check for it. If your brain skipped while purchasing, like me, and you happened to buy salted pistachios, just rinse them.

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