Who knew fresh avocado, agave, coconut milk, and lime juice could produce such a luscious, lappable avocado sorbet. And it’s vegan.
Dear vegans, I owe you a long-overdue apology.
Back in my youth, as I hunched over meat-filled plates grunting away with my brutish friends, who were likewise hunched over their own meat-filled plates, I would clear my throat as if I were going to make a proclamation and say, “You know, if you put two fire-and-brimstone vegans on a deserted island with no kind of life, only one avowed carnivore would be rescued.” Everyone knew the joke was coming, and they still sniggered and snorted. It was a ritual and no meatfest was complete without it.
I’d like to think I’ve become enlightened. We have vegetarian and vegan sections on the site. I even have friends who are vegans! But for a long time, in my privacy of my own heart, I felt they don’t necessarily have to eat at our house, do they? I was already dealing with a group of friends who are gluten-intolerant, pescatarian, ova-lacto vegetarian, white-meat-only. Welcoming vegans into the fray would just about break me. No, I was happy to go to their houses and choke down a bowl of twigs and sticks in the name of friendship.
Ah, but karma’s a bitch. One of our closest friends, Ellen, was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome last year. The unqualified, non-medical definition: She was a hamburger away from a massive heart attack or stroke. This woman, who had been for more than a decade one of our great meat compatriots, was now suddenly denied meat of any kind. Plus sugar, dairy, alcohol, and grains were taken off her plate. She was, yes, a vegan, and it was a death sentence (metaphorically speaking, since this was saving her life, but you get my drift). Oh, how we weeped and keened. I don’t mean Ellen and us. I mean The One and me. How were we going to invite her over to our house for dinner, as we always did, and serve–gack–salads? And, and–tofu?
Ellen, who was never a very good cook (sorry if you’re reading this, El, but it’s the truth), suddenly grabbed the soy-substitute bull by the horns and dug in her heels. She bought a stack of vegan books and taught herself how to cook. Some of her earlier ventures left The One and I cocking eyebrows when she left the room (and him guzzling glasses of water because some of the dishes were incendiary). But in time, damn, that woman cooked us some amazing meals.
“Are you sure you didn’t put meat in some of this,” The One would say, “for David and me?”
“Nope it’s all vegan, guys,” she’d say with relish at our disbelief. The only clue that it was tempeh or tofu was when The One would suddenly waft the bedclothes creating a gust that would fell a lumberjack.
That’s when I finally picked up Robin Asbell’s book Big Vegan. We figured if Ellen, an abominable cook, could suddenly start whipping out amazing spreads that we happily devoured, the least we could do was return the favor. (Plus I was getting a little competitive. Ellen cooking better than me?) The first recipe out of the gate was this avocado sorbet. The One made it. We dipped our spoons into the ice cream maker and tasted. It was sublime. Tart, sweet, creamy, and rich as hell.
Nowadays, I hear vegans have moved into our little hamlet of Roxbury. Imagine that: Vegans in the town that once claimed Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe as residents. And I have it on the best authority, there’s even a little girl in second grade who has same-vegan parents. My, how the world is changing.
Creamy avocado makes this sorbet just a little richer than the usual fruity version. This makes a great dessert or palate cleanser for Mexican or other warm-climate cuisines.–Robin Asbell
LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note
“Brilliant.” “Simply astounding!” “Sublime.” “Perfect.” That’s what folks are saying about this avocado sorbet recipe.
- Ice cream maker
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup avocado, cut into chunks (1 medium avocado)
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, preferably organic (from 2 to 4 limes)
- In a blender, purée the avocado until sorta smooth. Scrape down the sides, add the agave syrup, and purée again. With the motor running, add the coconut milk, a little at a time, and process until everything is completely smooth. Add the lime juice and lime zest and process until well mixed and once again smooth. Transfer the mixture to a storage container and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Process the avocado sorbet mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you prefer a soft-serve consistency, serve immediately or, if you prefer a firmer texture, transfer to a resealable container and freeze for at least 6 hours or up to overnight prior to scooping.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This avocado sorbet recipe is just brilliant. I’d call it a sherbet rather than a sorbet because the avocado gives it a creaminess more akin to sherbet. The predominate flavor is definitely lime. The avocado adds texture and color, but you can’t really taste it. If you loved lime sherbet as a kid—or as an adult—here’s a non-dairy version that will eliminate any temptation to buy the rainbow-colored box. It remains perfectly scoopable even after a couple days in the freezer. I would recommend doubling the recipe, because a double batch will fit a standard electric ice cream maker and give you 1 quart of sherbet. I chilled the avocado mixture overnight, after which the texture was like pudding. I processed it for about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker. At this point the texture was like soft-serve ice cream. I froze it in a 1-quart container overnight. (The double recipe made just under 1 quart.) The texture was perfect the next day, with no need to let it sit out on the counter before scooping. The number of servings is accurate, but they won’t be big servings.
This recipe is simply astounding! The incredible texture the avocado and coconut milk provide is closer to a gelato than any homemade frozen dessert I have ever made. The mouthfeel is perfect, and while I was a little worried that it might be on the sweet side, the tart lime balances it nicely. The recipe is actually for a very slight amount—perfect for 4 people as a dessert but would serve even more if used as a between-course palate refresher. Immediately out of the ice cream maker, the sorbet was a lovely, slightly sticky, soft-serve consistency. After 5 to 6 hours, it was scoopable yet perfectly firm. The bright contrast of the flavors comes together in a sublime way. I like the overall richness of this recipe with the light coconut milk—full-fat coconut milk might have put it over the top. This is perfect for vegans and most anyone else. We are already plotting to take our ice cream maker on a vacation week so we can make this for our guests.
On a second batch, which I doubled (because with the same amount of effort you get a reasonable quart), I reduced the agave by about 30%. After tasting both batches side by side, I felt the change in sweetness was barely detectible. For the second (double) batch, I was a little shy of my planned 2/3 cup agave, so I made up the last 2 tablespoons with maple syrup. There was no detectible difference in the flavor, though a complete substitution might be noticed. Another alternative would be Lyle’s Golden Syrup.
This recipe gets 5 stars from us. I can’t wait to make this for others. If you want to dress it up, put it in a shot glass and sprinkle it with a couple of flakes of Maldon salt. You can thank me later.
Let me start by saying this sorbet (if you can really call it that) is DELICIOUS! Wonderfully creamy and lightly sweet with a lovely citrus zing, it certainly satisfies the sweet tooth in a guilt-free, healthy-fat kind of way. It was the perfect way to finish a meal of chilaquiles. The recipe calls for 80 grams avocado cubes. The avocados I sourced were small-ish, perhaps pushing medium-sized, so 80 grams equaled half of 1 avocado. “Surely this is a typo,” I thought. So I kept going and cut up 2 avocados. The result was 2 whole avocados = 290 grams = 2 cups chunked avocado. And just from eyeballing the ratios, this looked like the proper amount of avocado for the the remaining ingredients. So I continued. I used light agave syrup and the amount (1/2 cup) was perfect. It added a soft sweetness. I did use light coconut milk but questioned why full-fat wasn’t called for…calories? I used roughly 1 1/2 medium-sized limes to get the 1/4 cup fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons lime zest. I have a regular ole blender and found that cubed avocado doesn’t puree very well alone, as the first step requests. I spent many times stopping the blender to hand-mix the avocado. I would recommend adding the avocado and syrup together in the first step, giving it a little moisture. Other than that, the sorbet came together fairly easy.
Originally published August 21, 2015