Most of us hear the term “superfood” and know that they should be adding them into smoothies or meals in any way we can because of how nutrient packed they are. But what is even more interesting is how each superfood treats our bodies so kindly in its own individual way.

Zest Juice Co. uses a lot of superfoods in their smoothies, smoothie bowls and cold pressed juices, so I figured I would start a series where I introduce a new superfood, and then create a scrumptious recipe with that superfood so that you can utilize these little gems in your everyday cooking and eating!

In an attempt at celebrating these last days of warm weather when September still means afternoons that get into the 90s in this part of the country. I have created a 4 ingredient ice cream that is truly amazing. Just four ingredients and NO ice cream maker required to create a luscious, creamy, sweet and salty treat. Oh, did I mention completely guilt-free?

We get our creamy, fluffy ice cream by freezing cashew milk into ice cubes and blending them up along with one frozen banana. I blended in some peanut butter which is rich in healthy fats, is good fiber for gut health and decreases cholesterol levels. Plus, what’s not to love about peanut butter and chocolate?

The chocolate chips in this ice cream are actually the pleasantly crunchy cacao [kuh­ka­oh] nib, and today’s superfood! The cacao nib is a cocoa bean that has been roasted and separated from its husk.

It has a chocolate taste, only less sweet which is why I love pairing them with a sweet ice cream! Cacao nibs are known as a superfood because they reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cognitive function and decrease the effects of blood pressure! Not to mention they are a wonderful alternative for chocolate chips if you are looking for a low sugar or vegan option!

Recipe: (Serves: 3­-4) vegan, gluten free

Ingredients:

 2 16oz bottles Zest Cashew Milk (or 32 oz of a sweetened non-dairy milk)

 1 frozen banana (peeled before freezing)

 3 Tbsp peanut butter

2­-3 Tbsp cacao nibs (more if you like!)

The Process:

● Prep the ice cubes by pouring the cashew milk into two ice cube trays and freezing the night before. Peel the banana, place in a plastic bag and put in freezer the night before as well.

● When your cubes are frozen, add them to a high speed blender along with the banana. A food processor or normal speed blender could work here, you will just need to give it a bit more love when blending as you will have to stop and scrape the sides more often.

● Once added to blender, blend on high for about 3 minutes off and on. Stopping to scrape sides and smash down ice cream to center of blender. You will know it is done because the cubes will have turned into a perfectly creamy and frothy mixture (see picture).

● Once creamy, add peanut butter and blend on low just to mix in.

● Then, transfer mixture to a large bowl and fold in the cacao nibs. You can eat it right away for a soft serve sort of texture, or you can spread ice cream in a shallow pan and freeze for about an hour to get a firmer ice cream. Personally, I prefer the soft serve texture :)

Enjoy!

- Chloe Graffeo is a part-time Zest employee and aspiring Vegan Chef. She and her sister, Racquel, have a Vegan Blog at Plant Based Kitchen Blog. She is also on Instagram @plantbasedkitchenblog 

 Prep the Cashew Milk ice cubes 

Prep the Cashew Milk ice cubes 

 Add creamy peanut butter. 

Add creamy peanut butter. 

 Blended creamy, frothy mixture

Blended creamy, frothy mixture

 Fold in cacao nibs

Fold in cacao nibs

 Serve soft or frozen

Serve soft or frozen

 ENJOY!

ENJOY!