Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Vegan Chery GarciaVegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream had a stroke of Genius when they invented their Cherry Garcia flavor, named after the famed Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) of the Grateful Dead. It’s still their best selling flavor, because it’s freaking delicious. What’s not to love about cherry flavored ice cream with whole cherries and dark chocolate pieces? Too bad they haven’t created a vegan line of their ice cream…

Cherries and Chocolate Stirred InCherries and Chocolate Stirred In

Who else has been to a Grateful Dead Concert?

 I went to one show in Las Vegas in 1995 just before Jerry kicked the bucket. I thought I’d died and gone to hell. 30,000 people with nudity, drugs and chaos everywhere. Though I love the Dead, I’m pretty sure Dave Matthews opening for them was the best part of the show before everyone and their dog was higher than a kite. Funnily enough, we went as a family, as in my some of my siblings and my parents went to the concert too. We went to celebrate and mourn the life of my brother, Ben, who had passed earlier in the year. The Grateful Dead was one of his favorite bands. During the show another sibling who shall not be named here, went missing at some point during the show. We later found him passed out in the parking lot. Someone had stolen the Teva’s off his feet.

Vegan Cherry Garcia 2

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

For the Ice Cream Base:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 C. raw sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla OR cherry extract if you can find it
  • 1 C. fresh or frozen pitted cherries
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice

For the Dark Chocolate Pieces: 

  • 1/2 C. chopped vegan dark chocolate or vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 2 T. coconut oil

Method: Make the dark chocolate pieces first: Melt the chopped dark chocolate and the coconut oil together over a double broiler on low-ish heat. Once fully melted, pour the chocolate mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Stick in the freezer and let chill til solid.

While the chocolate mixture is chilling, blend coconut milks, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and just a few of the cherries (for color) until completely smooth. Pour into prepared ice cream maker and let churn for 25-30 minutes. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can try this method. While the ice cream is churning, cut the chilled chocolate into pieces with a pizza wheel. Return chocolate pieces to the freezer.

When the ice cream finishes churning, pour ice cream into a large freezer safe container and stir in the chocolate pieces and the remaining cherries, so they stay mostly intact. You can eat it now, like soft serve but it’s much better when you freeze it for 2 hours til it’s nice and solid.

For a raw vegan version of this recipe, please check out my post on Sunwarrior’s site.

Top View

Ben, we’re still “truckin” along without you, but man, we miss your guts, you ratbag. What a long strange trip it’s been.

BenBenjamin McCowan December 9, 1974 – April 1, 1995

ben-back of  005This post was shared on Allergy Free Wednesdays


  1. I love how you and your family remembered Ben – doing something he loved. It truly is a tragedy to lose someone so young, with so much life ahead of him and I know all of you ache for him. The inscription on his grave is lovely; so bittersweet. Love to you all, babe.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that you lost your brother so young, Somer. You found a very unique way to celebrate his life, one that you will always remember well.

    I love Cherry Garcia – this recipe is very do-able.

  3. OH MY!!! And perfect for this time of year!!! I will have to try this ASAP!

    Thanks and Love you.

  4. *slurp* *slurp* and more *slurps*

    Hubby and I looooove the Cherry Nirvana ice cream by Turtle Mountain! If it were available here, how plump we’d get!!!

    Your Garcia one with coconut cream sounds extra extra yum!!!

    Beautiful memorial post for your brother. *hugs*

  5. I’m sad to hear that your brother died, Somer. I can’t imagine the heart ache for you, your siblings, and your parents. Thank you for telling us about him.

    This recipe is making me want to run out to the shops and buy an ice cream maker! Right. Now.

  6. I really like the layout of your site and that ice cream looks wonderful. Thanks for going by to check out my new blog KCinAZ earlier. I am having fun getting it going.

  7. Somer, I am not kidding – I am buying an ice cream maker this summer solely because your recipes looks so good and are dairy-free. Keep them coming.

    How’s the raw diet coming along?

  8. i need an ice cream maker this summer.. like seriously! this ice cream looks soo soo good. i dont particularly like cherry in ice creams, but anything with chocolate is good to go.
    that is such a sweet way to remember Ben. Hugs.

  9. This ice-cream looks great. We have a fantastic cherry season here in Portugal, and I look forward to making the ice-cream then! I have not made ice-cream with coconut milk before . . . so this will be a good time to try. No ice-cream maker, so I will do what I always do, freeze ‘n’ scrape, freeze ‘n’ scrape. 🙂

  10. XOXO. You have such a big heart. [HUG] And for the record- yum. Made a cherry smoothie the same day you posted this. Washing the ice cream maker now (needs washed after making the pistachio recipe!)

  11. Holy crap. The moo-ified version of this was responsible for many pounds during my first year of teaching. I am excited and afraid of this all at once. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Your vegan ice-cream rocks! It looks super amazing & I am sorry to hear that you lost your brother when he was so young. What a great way to remember him doing somthing he loved, all together! 🙂 xxxx I see he is so much missed!

  13. Thank you for sharing with us about Ben. I love how you and your family remembered him. xx

    I’ve never had the original Cherry Garcia, but I’ll be that this was better than the original. 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing the memory of your brother with us Somer 🙂 This ice cream is an amazing tribute- anyone that digs Cherry Garcia (my personal fav!) gets a 2 thumbs up and a high five on the side!

  15. So touched by your tribute to your brother… cried, then laughed as I read about the sibling gone missing, then found minus his Teva’s. I lost my younger brother almost exactly a year before your brother passed. He was not as young as your brother but, still quite young at 34. Miss him every single day. The shenanigans at Todd’s wake sound so similar to your family’s experience at your memorial Dead concert… one of my bro’s best friends was a DeadHead who followed the band for years selling T-shirts in parking lots before and after concerts. He helped to,plan and execute the wake so you can imagine the fun and chaos that ensued!
    As for the ice cream, I have been looking for a vegan alternative to tempt my very B & J addicted husband. Looks awesome, can’t wait to try it!

  16. Your vegan ice cream looks amazing! Fruit, especially cherries and strawberries, pair so perfectly with chocolate, so I’m sure I’d eat the entire recipe all by myself… And look out, Ben and Jerry’s might come knocking on your door for the recipe pretty soon!

  17. Oh…when I make this I am going to have to hide it at the back of the freezer just for me! I recently made a coconut milk chocolate chip ice cream and it was a big hit here at home. Looks fabulous!

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