Raw ice cream of your dreams

Aside from the Raw Mini Pie Challenge testing extravaganza that occurred over the weekend (we’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow!), Lisa and I also put on one heck of a raw dessert demo at the 27th annual Vegetarian Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre.

This particular festival has had a special place in my heart since moving to Toronto in 1998. Known as the largest event of its kind in North America, it is a place where like-minded individuals gather to celebrate cruelty-free food, health and advocacy, discover delicious new products and ideas, and enjoy a variety of inspiring presentations and cooking demos.

And it is the first place where I felt I truly belonged. Growing up in a small town, I had never met other vegans or vegetarians who shared the same passion for animal rights and cruelty-free living. Shortly after my first festival experience, I bought a membership for the Toronto Vegetarian Association and eventually became a volunteer, helping to promote the lifestyle as an outreach leader, photographing the festival, handing out vegetarian restaurant directories, and proofreading the website.

This year’s event provided the opportunity to do something I always dreamed of—presenting a dessert demo in front of festival attendees with my partner in kitchen crime, Lisa.

Our demo was titled The Raw Ice Cream of your Dreams. Have you ever dreamed of an ice cream shop that served up sensational sweets free of dairy, eggs and sugar? Well, if you’ve ever imagined tasting a big scoop of cookie dough, mint Oreo or strawberry cheesecake ice cream delights without any harmful impact on your health or that of your fellow animals, then you would have loved this demo. We served up an enticing menu of frozen confections that are vegan, gluten-free and unbelievably decadent.

Lisa and I saw a number of familiar faces in the packed room (close to 200 attended!), but for someone who isn’t used to speaking in front of a crowd, it was certainly nerve-racking for me but also so much fun. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us!

For those who weren’t able to be there and taste the samples we shared, I’d like to give you our delicious recipe for strawberries shortcake blizzards. They’re quite easy to prepare—the base of the ice cream sundae involves whipping frozen bananas into soft serve. If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to put your blender or food processor to work right now.

Print Print

Strawberry cheesecake blizzards

Yield: 4 servings


Strawberry swirl:

    • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 large medjool dates, pitted
    • 2 tsp coconut oil


    • 1/4 cup raw almonds
    • 1/4 cup raw pecans
    • pinch of sea salt
    • 4 large medjool dates, pitted

Banana soft serve:

  • 2 bananas, peeled and frozen
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice


Strawberry swirl:

    1. In a food processor, combine the strawberries, zest and dates. Process until smooth.
    2. Add the coconut oil and process until well combined.
    3. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.


    1. In a food processor, pulse the almonds, pecan and sea salt into a fine meal.
    2. Add the dates and pulse until well combined.
Banana soft serve:
    1. In a blender or food processor, blend the bananas until a creamy, ice cream consistency is achieved. Add the lemon juice and pulse to incorporate.

To assemble:

  1. Divide the soft serve between four bowls. Add 1/4 cup of strawberry swirl and 2 tbsp of crust. Swirl the mixture gently with a spoon.


Receive new posts via email:

Follow Me

15 Responses to “Raw ice cream of your dreams”

  1. Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan — September 13, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

    Omy gosh! I wish I went! I just moved to toronto and me and jac were shopping in that area! Why didn't I know about this!! Oh well, there's always next year…

  2. Sara — September 13, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    My husband and I went to the VegFest last year, but couldn't make it this year- so bummed. I would have loved to see you there!

  3. bodybynature.ca — September 13, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

    It was so nice to finally meet you! I attended your raw ice cream demo and thought you did an amazing job! I can't wait to try out the Strawberry Swirl!

  4. Nicole — September 13, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    Jen: Too bad you missed it! But yes, there is always next year :) Did you move here for school? Let me know if you want to meet up for a veg dinner sometime!

    Sara: Thanks! It's great that you were able to experience the festival last year. Isn't it amazing?!

    Dani: It was nice to meet you, too! Finally. Thanks for the support at our demo. We had a lot of fun.

  5. Nancy D — September 13, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    LOVED the demo, but missed out on the samples. I can't wait to try them at home and share the recipes with my niece! Congrats on your first (of many?)TVA FF demos :)

  6. jess @ cupcakes and kale — September 13, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    you two did such a great job during the demo! i too missed out on the samples {i was too busy trying to snap a shot of the sundae dishes you filled up!} but i didn't mind because it meant that you had a much bigger turnout than expected. congrats on standing room only! :)

  7. foodfeud — September 14, 2011 @ 2:17 am

    Oh man! Thanks so much for sharing the recipes. Strawberry cheesecake sounds so good. I've got to make this before it gets too cool!

  8. JL goes Vegan — September 14, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    Congrats on such a successful event! I love the recipes.

    I have a good network of vegan support online but need to expand that more to real life (Vida Vegan Con was a good start). You've inspired me!

  9. Ricki — September 15, 2011 @ 12:52 am

    I loved your demo and seeing you both on stage! You did a great job. And those blizzards!! MMM, mmm, and double mmmmmmmm! I went home and made my own soft serve (sadly, without banana, as I'm not allowed, but raw cookie dough was certainly involved). :D

  10. Nicole — September 16, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

    Nancy: Thank you so much for your support! Yes, I'm hoping more TVA demos are in our future :)

    Jess: Thanks! Sorry you missed out on the samples. We'll know to double the amount next time.

    foodfeud: I highly recommend trying the recipes if you get a chance.

    JL: Thanks! If you have a local vegetarian society, I highly recommend joining. Having a local support system is awesome.

    Ricki: I loved seeing you in the front row! Thanks for your support.

  11. Patty — September 17, 2011 @ 1:04 am

    Hola Nicole!

    Wowee, those all look amazing. YUM. And the mini cookies are adorable.

    I loved attending that festival when I lived in TO. Would have been sweet to have seen your demo! Thank you for the delicious inspiration. :)

    xo Patty

  12. MeShell — September 19, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    Aw, I wish I would have made it to your demo, it all looks delicious.

    Thank you for sharing the recipes, they'll be put to good use :D

  13. These are just awesome! I used to love strawberry cheesecake blizzards and now they are far too sweet….but I know I would love this raw version! I need to try this!

    • Nicole — May 24, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

      I’m sure you will love it, Amy! It’s also quite simple to make.

  14. noelle — May 23, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    Yum! I need to try this soon.

Leave a Comment