This vegan mango gelato is very intense and pure with clean texture and vivid color. If you’re wondering whether gelato is just a fancy name for ice cream, it is not. Gelato contains less fat, making it taste cooler, lighter, and arguably more refreshing than ice cream. Churned slower than ice cream (if at all), it is more dense and has a more intense flavor. This mango gelato is not only vegan, but also raw, paleo, and refined sugar-free.
Have you ever wondered what the food you eat everyday can tell you about where you come from? Have you ever wondered why people from different parts of the world eat different types of food? There is more of a connection between food and culture than you may think.
As you might already know, I live in Canada but grew up in Europe. I have learnt how to make popular North American dishes simply because my husband loves them. But I still make a lot of traditional European dishes as well. (I often buy the ingredients I need when I’m in Europe and bring them with me to Canada).
What does this story have to do with gelato? Well, I just came back from Italy and was reminded how much I miss gelato. Creamy, cold and churned up into myriad flavors. If you’ve ever been to Italy or dreamed of travelling there, chances are you’ve heard of gelato. Before going to Italy for the first time many years ago, I had heard about the awesomeness of gelato. Everyone who had tasted it seemed possessed by the memory of its taste, telling me about its smooth creaminess and intense flavor. No one seemed to know whether it was ice cream, sorbet, or something else, but they knew it was heavenly. I ended up eating it almost every day while I was there, and I tried all the fruity flavors, which are my favorites.
This vegan mango gelato recipe is different from the authentic gelato in that there is no dairy or refined sugar. Yet, it’s just as delicious!
Tips for Making Vegan Mango Gelato
There is no single recipe for gelato, and like many culinary specialties in Italy, each region makes it slightly differently. My favorite type is fruit-based gelato, hence the vegan mango gelato recipe. The best gelati are made with the best ingredients so use seasonally fresh, perfectly ripe fruits.
Although gelato contains less fat than ice cream, you still need high-fat ingredients for the best results. Store-bought nut milks are generally too lean, and they lead to a weak, watery texture. I have had the most success with canned full-fat coconut milk. Not only does it work in terms of texture, but the tropical flavors of coconut and mango go together really well.
Go with any sweetener you like. Since I live in Canada, I almost always use maple syrup, but any sweetener will work.
If you’ve seen my berry ice cream and vanilla ice cream, you know that I always recommend using an ice cream machine. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need an ice cream machine to make this vegan mango gelato. Of course, if you do have an ice cream machine, use it! An ice cream maker freezes the gelato slowly while continually mixing it, creating a super-fine texture free of ice crystals or harder chunks. Some companies now offer specialty appliances labelled as gelato makers, but they are an overkill for homemade gelato.
If you don’t own an ice cream maker, you can still make gelato at home. The trick is to break up hard ice crystals that form as the gelato freezes. If you were making ice cream, you would need to break up the ice crystals every 30 minutes or so. Gelato isn’t supposed to be as creamy as ice cream though. So, you can get away with letting the whole mixture freeze and then beat it up and break up any frozen sections. I find that the easiest way to do that is to use a food processor.
Last but not least, here’s an important serving tip. Because home freezers are set to very low temperatures, make sure you always take your gelato out of the freezer 10-20 minutes before serving it. That will not only make it easier to serve – gelato’s lower fat content means it freezes rock hard – but also soften it to a consistency closer to what you would enjoy at a gelati bar.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix Pro 750) | 2. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 3. Cutting Board (24″ x 18″ Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 4. Knife Set (Set of 6, Utility, Stainless Steel) | 5. Loaf Pan (Lodge, Cast Iron) | 6. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel) | 7. Cookie Scoop (Solula, Stainless Steel)
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- 4 mangoes, peeled and pitted
- 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk*
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (or more to taste)
Add mangoes, coconut milk and maple syrup to a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe, air-tight container. Freeze until completely frozen. (The time it will take to freeze the mixture will depend on how wide vs tall container you use. The wider the container, the shorter the freezing time).
Once frozen, cut the frozen mixture into cubes (so it's easier to blend). Add it into a food processor and blend until all the frozen pieces are broken down (it should have a consistency of soft serve).
Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze until completely frozen, about 3-6 hours.
Allow to thaw for 10-20 minutes before serving. Gelato can take a while to thaw.
*Use room temperature coconut milk.