Vegan Ice Cream: Not to Be Dismissed

Vegan ice cream is never a top choice for those who consider it “too healthy.” However, for those of us with a plant-based diet, there are plenty of sweet options.

As a vegan, it can often be difficult to find a dessert that satisfies your sweet tooth and follows a plant-based ingredient list. Questioning whether or not vegan ice cream would taste as delectable as the “normal” version, I set out to try various flavors of the dairy-free dessert. 

The salted caramel Halo Top ice cream, made with coconut milk, included a ribbon of caramel. (Ella Williams)

I started off with the Halo Top sea salt caramel ice cream, made with coconut milk. The side of the pint boasts a healthy 330 calories per pint, good for anyone looking for a low-calorie option. At first taste, you’re hit with the sweet taste of caramel, but it’s quite the overload of sweetness. The texture of the ice cream is pasty and almost dry. When it melts in your mouth, it forms a dry layer that makes you want to gulp down a glass of water. The coconut is evident, as it is as strong as, or even stronger than, the caramel flavor. However, when you do get a drizzle of caramel in your bite, the ice cream leaves a more likable taste in your mouth. Be careful not to get too much, as the caramel is very sweet. Overall, I would give this vegan ice cream a 5/10, with most of the five points coming from the low-calorie label. 

The Simple Truth vanilla ice cream, made with almond milk, has a classic vanilla flavor. (Ella Williams)

To (hopefully) help get the taste of the overbearing sweetness out of my mouth, I tried Simple Truth’s almond milk vanilla ice cream. Honestly, it tastes as if someone blended vanilla almond milk and ice and then froze it. With that being said, it does provide a texture more like regular ice cream, as opposed to the Halo Top ice cream. I was very surprised by how the almond flavor came through. It was more like real almonds, rather than almond extract, which was much appreciated. Like normal vanilla ice cream, it is very plain and simple, but unlike the normal version, it doesn’t taste like vanilla. Instead, the almond milk is really brought out and is the only flavor actually tasted. Being a simple ice cream, I would rate this treat a 6/10, mostly because of its simplicity and lack of actual vanilla flavor.

The So-Delicious-Dairy-Free ice cream, made with oat milk, has the s’mores flavor that everyone loves. (Ella Williams)

With most marshmallows being made of gelatin, and therefore not being vegan, grabbing the vegan-friendly s’mores flavor off of the shelf was a no-brainer for me. So Delicious Dairy Free’s s’mores ice cream, made with oat milk, is a dessert that is not overly sweet but still satisfies sweet-treat cravings. In the first bite, you’re able to taste the oats (oddly, almost like oatmeal) and what I think is supposed to be graham cracker. The marshmallow replica tries to peek through but doesn’t quite make it. The chocolate bits were there, but it takes a good number of them for you to actually be able to taste them over the graham cracker taste. The best thing about this ice cream was the texture, as it leaves no dry aftertaste in your mouth. That is why I would rate it a 7/10, better than the previous two, but not quite the best. What would make this ice cream the best of the four would be bigger chocolate chunks added to the mix and more marshmallow drizzle incorporated in. 

The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, made with sunflower seed milk, included different cookie pieces. (Ella Williams)

Last, but certainly not least, was Ben & Jerry’s “Milk” & Cookies. This was, by far, the best of the four. What surprised me most about this ice cream was its top ingredient: sunflower seed milk. Before trying this treat, I had never heard of such a thing. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I took the first bite. It tasted almost soft and slightly sweet. Chunks of Oreo cookie look-alikes were mixed in throughout the ice cream, along with pieces of cookie dough. Both of the cookie pieces tasted almost exactly like the real version of each. It wasn’t overly sweet, which was probably due to the vanilla ice cream base that it had. The texture, disappointingly, was like the Halo Top ice cream but slightly better because of the added cookies. This ice cream was most like what would be “normal” ice cream, even with the strange sunflower seed milk, which couldn’t be tasted. Packed with a bite of cookie in each bite, I would rate this plant-based treat an 8/10, making it the highest-scoring out of the four. 

With different “milk” bases, from almond milk to sunflower milk, vegan ice cream is a decent treat for anyone looking for a plant-based dessert. After trying four different flavors and brands, I can confidently say that Ben & Jerry’s is the clear winner. All four options, however, proved to satisfy even the sweetest of sweet-tooths.