Indulgence: The Healthy Elvis

I am eating banana ice cream for breakfast.

Ice cream for breakfast?? you may be thinking. How could you?!

You’re right. I couldn’t. I have rules about that sort of thing. I lied.

It’s not actually “ice cream”, as there’s no cream involved… but don’t let that fool you. It looks like ice cream, tastes like ice cream, has the creamy consistency of ice cream, and manages to taste wonderfully indulgent while also being far healthier than ice cream. This, in my book, is something far more valuable than ice cream — something to be coveted and raved about and devoured.

Immediately.

I recently discovered one-ingredient banana ice cream, which was a revelation: it was a perfect example of what I’m trying to do here, which is to find ways to make healthy, delicious food, simply and quickly.

Also, to use up all these bananas I have sitting around getting spotty on my counter.

(If you live in New York City like I do, and are a sucker for those street-side 4-for-$1 bananas like I am, and are also really picky about only eating them when they’re perfectly, flawlessly yellow and don’t have any spots like me, then chances are a) we should be best friends and b) you periodically end up with an excess of too-ripe bananas in your possession. This recipe is a surprisingly wonderful, refreshing solution.)

I tried it and loved it, but felt it would benefit a lot from some minor tweaking. I tried adding vanilla extract and even a dash of real cream, neither of which really hit the mark. Then one day I was walking down Sullivan Street when suddenly, inspiration struck: peanut butter! (Okay, so maybe “inspiration” had a little help from The Peanut Butter Company [home to my favorite peanut-butter-banana-bacon sandwich], which I happened to be passing by at the time)

I’ll admit I’m probably not the first person to come up with this, but it’s such a wonderful thing that I can’t NOT share it with you. The touch of salt perfectly balances out the intense sweetness of the bananas, and the peanut butter adds a hint of (obvious) nuttiness. Thinned with a touch of water, they provide just enough liquid to help the blender out while it’s struggling to churn those frozen bananas into these creamy pillows of deliciousness.

It goes without saying that if you do not like bananas and/or are allergic to nuts, this creamy treat is probably not for you. But if you do (like bananas) and are not (allergic to nuts), you’re in luck!

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream (or, as I like to call it, the “Healthy Elvis”)

(serves one hungry person, or two as a treat)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • roughly 1 tsp each smooth peanut butter and water
  • pinch salt

Slice the bananas into 1/2 inch (or thinner) rounds. Lay them on a plate and let them chill out (ha) in the freezer for an hour (or more — I’ve put mine in and forgotten about them for a couple of days and they were fine.)

Tip: I like to put the bowl I’m going to eat out of and the blender itself into the fridge while the bananas are freezing. This helps keep the ice cream cold while you’re making and eating it later.

Just before you’re ready to make the ice cream, combine 1 tsp peanut butter, 1 tsp hot water and a tiny pinch of salt in a cup or small bowl. Mix it all together to loosen up the peanut butter and dissolve the salt.

Remove the banana slices from the freezer and slide them into the blender. Pour the peanut butter-water mixture on top and blend, stirring periodically to facilitate the mashing of the banana, until everything is pureed and creamy-looking. Slide into cold bowl and enjoy immediately.

Obviously the addition of peanut butter ceases to make this a one-ingredient ice cream, and adds one more step… but considering that it takes all of sixty seconds and only dirties one more dish, I don’t feel that it actually makes this any less easy to make. It does add a few more calories and a few grams of fat, but again — such a small amount of compromise for such a huge difference in flavor. Besides, this was so damn healthy to begin with that it was threatening to start getting all self-righteous and full of itself… it needed to be taken down a notch, for its own sake.

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One Comment to “Indulgence: The Healthy Elvis”

  1. YUM!!! I have a frozen banana in the freezer and know exactly what I’m going to do with it…right now!!! And I love the big idea. 🙂

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