This gelato is made from frozen bananas. You may wonder: Why feature a recipe made from bananas when bananas are not one of the more nutritious fruits? According to the ANDI scoring system of nutrient density, bananas rate a mere 30, while strawberries are 212, and cantaloupe comes in at 100. Why do bananas score so low? Because they’re not chock-full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, or phytochemicals.
In addition, per unit weight, bananas are quite high in sugar, and very respected medical nutrition experts have been waving the red flag against sugar.
But what if bananas came packaged with cocoa – which is rich in antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, and many polyphenols? Then the ANDI scoring system would surly give bananas a much higher score! So…
- Step one: Add cocoa to bananas as we do in this recipe.
- Step two: Enjoy this gelato at the end of a meal – especially at the end of a meal loaded with fiber — not as a snack all by itself (as explained by the medical nutrition experts who caution against sugar, as mentioned above).
CHOCOLATE BANANA GELATO
I absolutely love this desert! And it’s a lot healthier than the square of dark chocolate I used to eat after dinner. After all, compared to even just a small piece of a dark chocolate bar, this Chocolate Banana Gelato is very low in fat and saturated fat. Just take a look at this table to see how cocoa and dark chocolate compare.
Each serving of Chocolate Banana Gelato contains 2 tablespoons of cocoa. A 1-ounce serving of bittersweet chocolate has about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa, if made according to the recipe provided by Joy of Baking. So Chocolate Banana Gelato is a great low-fat way to get the health benefits of cocoa without all the saturated fat that comes with a chocolate bar!
Method 1 – food processor
1 large very ripe banana, peeled, cut into triangular chunks, and frozen (See ingredient note below.)
1/4 cup high quality cocoa (See ingredient note below.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a little freshly grated nutmeg
2 – 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (See ingredient note below.)
Your choice of berries for garnish
Place the frozen banana chunks, cocoa, vanilla extract, and nutmeg into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Wait a minute or two to let the banana thaw ever so slightly (makes it easier to process the bananas). Then place the almond milk into the feed tube of the food processor and process the mixture until it’s smooth and creamy.
Method 2 – Vitamix (heavy duty blender)
I don’t quite have the quantities down, but you can wing this on your own. Just use about 4 frozen bananas broken into 1-2-inch pieces (they do not have to be pre-cut into triangles). Put the bananas into the Vitamix along with all the other ingredients (in about four times the amounts shown above). Be sure that the almond milk comes up to right over the blades; if not, add more almond milk. If you have to add a disproportionately large amount of almond milk in order to cover the blades, then add about 1/2 of a ripe avocado. That will keep the resulting gelato nice and creamy!
Freeze for later
You can freeze this yummy desert for later, too. Just freeze in individual serving dishes or in silicone muffin pans. If you are using the muffin pans, then remove the frozen individual servings and store them in a plastic bag for the freezer. When ready to enjoy, just microwave (set on defrost) to bring the frozen gelato to the right consistency.
Bananas – For food processor only: Cut the banana into triangular pieces as shown in the photo so that there is more surface area for the blades of the food processor to grab onto, which helps the processor process faster and better. Also, when you freeze the banana pieces, spread them out on a baking sheet so that they freeze individually, not clumped together. This will make it a lot easier for you to remove just the quantity you want when you are ready to make your gelato.
Penzeys High Fat Cocoa – Be sure to choose a pure cocoa powder – not a cocoa mix that contains sugar and other ingredients! I like Penzeys Natural High Fat Cocoa, even though it has more fat than cocoa not labeled “high fat.” But the Penzeys product is still not high in fat when you compare it to chocolate itself! And this Penzeys Cocoa is also not Dutch processed, which is good because Dutch processing (adding alkalizing agents) destroys some of the antioxidants in the cocoa.
Almond milk – It’s best to use almond milk rather than dairy milk because dairy foods interfere with the absorption of the antioxidants in cocoa.
Enjoy and be healthy!