Frozen sweets are a beloved treat any time of year but especially in the warm summer months. In fact, according to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 22 pounds of frozen desserts like ice cream and gelato per year!
Ordering sweets from outside the home can get expensive and are often higher in calories compared to homemade versions. On the other hand, cold treats can be cumbersome to make at home: boiling cream ingredients followed by using a home ice cream machine.
One way to enjoy a cold, healthy sweet treat is by making homemade gelato. Learn more about how this guilt-free strawberry gelato recipe checks all the boxes. It is refreshing, healthy, and easy to make while satisfying any sweet tooth!
Gelato traditionally is based on cream, milk, and sugar in addition to other ingredients added for flavor. Like ice cream, gelato can be kept simple with just a fruit flavor or fancied up with chocolate, nuts, or candy bar additions. Options can be endless for gelato flavors!
What is the most popular gelato flavor in Italy where gelato originated? The answer may be surprising: Pistachio gelato reigns supreme in Italy according to Taste Atlas.
While gelato is lower in calories and fat compared to ice cream, tweaking traditional ingredients when making gelato at home can further enhance gelato's nutritional profile. As the below gelato recipe proves, using frozen fruit can cut down the need for added refined sugars, and Greek yogurt can be used in place of cream and milk.
What's the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream?
Gelato is considered ice cream's Italian cousin. They use similar ingredients, and the main difference between ice cream and gelato is in the texture. Gelato is smoother and denser than ice cream.
Both gelato and ice cream contain cream, milk, and sugar. Ice cream uses more cream compared to gelato and may also contain egg yolks. Gelato uses more milk than cream and because of this, gelato is naturally lower in fat compared to ice cream. The lower fat content also helps the other flavors in gelato shine more than in ice cream.
Homemade Strawberry Gelato Recipe
The healthy strawberry gelato recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth any time of year but especially during the summer when strawberries are in season. Only four ingredients are needed for this recipe with frozen strawberries being the main ingredient. An added bonus from the strawberries, a serving of this gelato provides 65 percent RDA vitamin C!
This recipe is light on added sugars and can be adjusted up or down depending on desired sweetness level. Unlike traditional gelato, there is no cream or milk needed. Instead, this recipe uses Greek yogurt for creaminess which cuts down on the fat while bumping up the protein content.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition per serving: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g protein, 32 g total carb, 3 g fiber
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
*Optional freezing time detailed in the recipe
• 1 1/2 lbs frozen strawberries, unsweetened
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1/4 cup agave nectar (or another liquid sweetener)
• 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
• Optional: fresh strawberry slices and whipped cream
1. Place half of the strawberries in a food processor and pulse until chopped.
2. Add yogurt, agave, lemon juice, and the remaining strawberries process all ingredients until smooth. You may need to break up chunks of berries or scrape the sides of your food processor to achieve a smooth consistency. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of organic agave nectar based on the ripeness of the berries.
3. For best results, serve immediately. Option to freeze 20 to 30 minutes before serving for a more solidified gelato. If it freezes solid, pulse again in the food processor before serving.
4. Garnish with a freshly sliced strawberry and a dollop of whipped cream as desired.
The Sweet Conclusion
It is possible to enjoy frozen dessert without paying a high price from a restaurant or spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Homemade gelato can be made even healthier by cutting back on the typical ingredients of refined sugar and altering the cream and milk ingredients.
Making this strawberry gelato at home can be easy and made in just a few minutes with a food processor. It only takes 4 ingredients with the main star being frozen strawberries!
Poon L. Why Scream For Gelato Instead Of Ice Cream? Here's The Scoop. NPR. Published June 16, 2015. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/16/413223571/why-scream-for-gelato-instead-of-ice-cream-heres-the-scoop.