Did you know: All you need to have sweet, thick, creamy ice cream in 5 minutes is a blender and a single ingredient: frozen bananas!

Blended frozen bananas are the perfect vegan alternative to ice cream. Instead of breaking up into slush like most frozen fruits put in a blender, bananas have more sugar than water so it becomes a thick stick-together consistency just like dairy-based ice cream! The frozen sweet treat is the healthiest possible way to satisfy your ice cream craving, and there are countless ways to serve it up! Below, I've provided a list of 14 different ideas to try, but the creative options for this ice cream is virtually endless. For the photos shown here, I've added in frozen strawberry slices to the blender to make a delicious (and colorful!) summer strawberry flavor.

Ready to try it? All you need is three very ripe bananas. Make sure they have at least a few little brown spots on the peel, since the more brown on the peel, the more ripe they are. And the more ripe they are, the sweeter they are.

Peel the bananas and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Put them in an air-tight container, pop them in the freezer and leave them overnight until they are frozen solid. I actually keep a stash of frozen banana slices in the freezer for any time a sweet frozen treat craving pops up, so I don't have to wait. When the banana slices are frozen solid, break the pieces apart with your hands or a spoon and put them in a blender or a food processor. Blend until totally creamy, about 2-3 minutes. You'll have to stop the blender every so often to push down some pieces and make sure everything is getting blended evenly.

It makes about three 2-scoop servings. You can enjoy the ice cream right then, or place it in an air-tight container in the freezer to harden up a bit more before scooping into bowls or cones. Here are a few recommended variations:

Pineapple and Macadamia Nuts

Top with a few chunks of freshly sliced pineapple and chopped macadamia nuts.

Nutella and Raspberries

Add one Tablespoon of Nutella to the banana in the blender, and top with a handful of fresh raspberries.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip

Add 1 cup frozen chopped strawberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or carob chips, or cacao nibs).

Cherries and Chocolate

Top with a couple spoonfuls of canned cherries and a sprinkling of chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

Cinnamon Peanut Butter

Add 2 Tablespoons peanut butter and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the blender.

Cinnamon Pecan

Add 1 cup chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the blender.

Mango Peach

Add 1/2 cup frozen chopped mango and 1/2 cup frozen chopped peach to the blender.

Raspberry Almond

Add 1 cup frozen raspberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup chopped almonds.

Chocolate Banana

Add 2 tablespoons of vegan chocolate sauce to the blender.

Apple Pie

Simmer chopped apples with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Let thicken and cool, then pour over ice cream scoops.

Strawberry Pistachio

Add 1 cup frozen chopped strawberries to the blender. When blended, stir in 1/2 cup chopped roasted, unsalted pistachios.

Chai Spice

Add 1-2 Tablespoons of condensed chai tea mix to the blender. Top with a small sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Blueberry Banana

Add 1 cup frozen wild blueberries to the blender. Top with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or almonds.

Salted Caramel

Top with a tablespoon of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

ice cream with nuts sprinkled on top

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Make ice cream in 5 minutes with one ingredient
Have you ever wanted ice cream without the guilt? Well here you go!