30 ideas for fruit and vegetable sorbets without added sugar

sorbets without added sugar

Summer is the hottest season of the year; temperatures are always high, the sun heats up a lot, and it is essential to drink lots of water to cool off. Drinking water to replenish fluids is absolutely recommended to anyone in this season, but there is nothing better than a nice cold snack to recover energy and fight the heat. Ice creams represent the summer snack par excellence.

But ice cream, especially industrial ice cream, can be a huge enemy of your diet as it is very rich in sugar. Although I know it’s hard to resist a nice fresh ice cream covered in dark chocolate!

Of course, I don’t mean that you should never eat ice cream during summertime, but moderation is the key, as in all things. You can also eat alternatives to the classic ice cream, namely sorbets or smoothies. I love sorbet, and I think it’s an underrated summer snack. A sorbet is a perfectly refreshing summer snack that can be prepared with natural sweeteners, fruit, and vegetables. Sorbets are delicious and healthy snacks.

In this article, you will discover thirty ideas for sugar-free fruit and vegetable sorbets, all easy to prepare even if you are not talented at cooking. These sorbets will give you freshness and energy without making you put up weight.

If you want to make your sorbet a little sweeter, you can use a bit of agave syrup or some stevia (a natural sweetener which is a common alternative to sugar). You can also add a bit of dark chocolate to add taste to your sorbet. You can grate a little of it on top of your sorbet before serving it.

Here are my thirty ideas for sugar-free fruit and vegetable sorbets!

Making these sorbets is very easy. You just need a blender or food processor.

First, you have to start by cutting fruit and vegetables into pieces, and then freeze them in the freezer for at least 12 hours or until they are completely frozen (if you want a faster food, a smoothie is better, for ice cream and sorbet the fruit must be frozen). You’ll need to put all the ingredients in a blender together with ice and then blend everything for a couple of minutes.

The mixture can be either grainy or smooth, and the consistency depends on the fruit used and the type of cream. If you want a more liquid variety, blend more.

Place your sorbet in the freezer and take it out right before eating it.

I prefer to prepare the sorbet and eat it immediately, but the result does not change even if the sorbet is frozen.

1) Lemon sorbet: The classic Italian sorbet. To prepare it, you need the juice of two lemons, ice, and cream. You can also add a few drops of your favorite liquor if you prefer.

2) Orange sorbet: A variant of the lemon sorbet. You need orange instead of lemon juice.

3) Green Apple Sorbet: Another great classic. You can use lemon juice, which must be mixed with a puree of green apples, and then mix everything in a blender. The mixture can either be placed in the freezer for a few hours or blended with ice if you want to eat it right away.

And here are some creative variations. As mentioned before, cut the ingredients in small pieces, freeze them, and mix them in a blender.

4) Orange and carrot: fresh and nutritious, very rich in vitamin C. With practice, you will be able to understand the best balance between the two ingredients to give the sorbet the flavor you prefer.

5) Beetroot, Orange, and Carrot: you are going to love the sweet taste given by the beetroot.

6) Green Apple, Mint, and Lime: A really refreshing sorbet.

7) Peach and Lime: A mix of flavors that never disappointed me.

8) Pear, Lime, Watercress, Grapes, and Cucumber: A nice mix of ingredients, including an often-underrated vegetable such as watercress. Enjoy the contrast between the flavors of the various ingredients included in this recipe.

9) Beetroot, lemon, plum, raspberry, carrot, and apple: Plum isn’t exactly the first ingredient that comes to mind when it comes to desserts, but it is balanced by the other ingredients and it favor the digestion.

10) Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries: A variant of the sorbet with berries, one of my favorites.

11) Carrot, papaya, and pink grapefruit: Summer flavors mixed with the beneficial properties of carrots.

12) Pumpkin, blueberries, raspberry, and carrots: I thought I made a mistake by putting the pumpkin into this sorbet. Instead, its great taste was a big surprise.

13) Pomegranate, cucumber, red apple, lemon, mint, and parsley: Parsley makes this sorbet unique, with many but well-balanced flavors. Use red apples only.

14) Spinach, kiwi, mint: A green leafy vegetable, the exotic touch of kiwi, and the strong flavor of mint. Try it out and let me know if you like it.

15) Oat milk, banana, strawberries, and blueberries: Oat milk is a valid alternative to traditional milk and it will make this sorbet creamy. Remember the oat milk must be frozen in cubes before being blended with the other ingredients.

16) Almond milk, avocado, and blueberries: I recommend adding some agave syrup or some dark cocoa. Almond milk is an excellent plant-based alternative to cow’s milk, and I recommend freezing it before blending it with the other ingredients. You can freeze it in an ice mold.

17) Coconut water, spinach, papaya, avocado, and grapes: The coconut water must be frozen in cubes before you blend it with the other ingredients.

18) Mango, Carrots, and Lemongrass: Lemongrass is a plant used for preparing essential oils and remedies against mosquitoes, but it also has a citrus and balsamic flavor that is ideal for balancing the flavors of mango and carrot. A decidedly innovative sorbet!

19) Lime, spinach, pear, chard leaves, and cucumbers: The pear makes this sorbet sweeter, which I love.

20) Pear, cabbage, turnip, celery, and spinach: A mix of beneficial nutrients for the body.

21) Strawberry, Carrot, Watermelon, and Pink Grapefruit: The summer sorbet par excellence, which also has a beautiful color.

22) Pineapple, Pumpkin, Passion Fruit, Carrot, and Coconut Milk: A nice tropical sorbet. I recommend freezing the coconut milk before blending it with the other ingredients.

23) Kiwi, cucumber, and lime: Lime manages to give that acidic flavor that makes sorbet special.

24) Pear, celery, and lime: Excellent sorbet, very refreshing.

25) Almond milk, raspberry, banana, blueberries, and carrot: Freeze the almond milk before making this sorbet.

26) Banana, vanilla extract, and coconut milk: A variation very similar to a milkshake, which uses vanilla extract as a sweetener (you buy it online or in the supermarket) and coconut milk instead of traditional milk. Coconut milk must be frozen before blending.

27) Pineapple and mango: A pleasant summer sorbet with a very particular flavor.

28) Strawberry, banana, and yogurt: A smoothie-like variant. Any type of yogurt can be used, but I recommend using low-fat yogurt (read the label to find out which is best). Freeze the yogurt in cubes to be able to blend well.

29) Pitted cherries, chopped almonds, and raspberries: A crunchy sorbet, which can be blended after having blended it coarsely.

30) Pears, raspberries, and pistachios: Pistachio gives a very particular flavor to the sorbet, but don’t overdo it. Pistachio brings many benefits to the body but is very rich in calories.

Here is my personal list of thirty delicious fruit sorbets to eat at the end of a meal or as a refreshing snack at any time. Do you have other recipes to suggest? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll post the best ones.

The story of ice creams, smoothies, and sorbets

Ice cream is a food with a very long history. Already in the Old Testament, there was talk of food made by mixing snow and goat’s milk, and it can be considered one of the first written testimonies of a food similar to what we now know as ice cream.

Even the Romans had a sweet tooth for cold foods made with ice, but we don’t know who invented the ice cream as we know it today. The person who comes closest to being considered the inventor of the modern ice cream is the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti, who lived in the sixteenth century in Tuscany (Italy).

Mr. Buontalenti created the basis of the recipe that is still in use today to produce ice cream (or better, gelato) with milk, eggs, and dairy cream. Another relevant figure in the history of ice cream is Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli, a man born in Palermo and who opened the first officially recognized ice cream shop in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli’s ice cream parlor still exists: it is the Cafè Procope in Paris, which is now a restaurant.

Other significant figures in the evolution of the ice cream were Filippo Lenzi. The latter emigrated from Italy to America in the 18th century and was the first ice cream entrepreneur in the United States. More recently, William Lee Young invented the hand-cranked sorbet maker, while, in 1903, Italo Marchioni patented the biscuit ice cream cone. Marchioni designed this cone because he wanted to find a better alternative to the traditional method of selling ice cream spread on a piece of paper.

The development of machines to make ice cream (ice cream makers) allowed the rapid growth of ice cream parlors in many cities, as well as the appearance of industrial ice creams. All over the world, there are many famous ice cream brands, such as the Italian Sammontana or Ben & Jerry’s, in America, not to mention the ice creams sold in any McDonald restaurant. Even today, new ice cream ideas pop up every year, while great classics are sometimes re-proposed. 

Smoothies are a type of food with a shorter history than the ice cream. We do not know who the inventor of this recipe is. Still, most people discovered its existence in the late 1940s when the smoothie recipe was included in the official recipe book of a kitchen blender, ancestor of the modern Thermomix.

The name “Smoothie” comes from the word “Smooth” and perfectly describes this drink: a milkshake made with a series of ingredients and ice, with a texture similar to a cream that people can drink.

Smoothies became very popular during the hippie period because they are easy to make, affordable, and nutritious, therefore perfect for young people.

The success of this drink continues today worldwide, and they are sold in food shops and supermarkets. Anyone with a food processor can prepare a smoothie at home in a few minutes.

The sorbet is a variant of ice cream with fruit and with a water base (ice cream contains milk or dairy cream instead). The sorbet is eaten with a spoon or can also be drunk and usually has a slightly grainy texture. The sorbet can also be alcoholic, for instance, when prepared with prosecco.

Sorbet can be considered the ancestor of ice cream and has a very interesting history.

Since Roman times, it was widespread to use ice to make cold drinks, and Emperor Nero loved sorbets and demanded to always have a supply of fresh ice at any time of the year. Therefore, a large pool of ice from the Apennine mountains was always available in the imperial palaces.

The collapse of the Western Roman Empire led to sorbets falling into oblivion. Still, the Arab invaders in Sicily in the 9th century revived this food tradition using lemons from Sicily, inventing the ancestor of the contemporary lemon sorbet.

Today, the sorbet is usually served in restaurants. In Italy, it works as an interlude between various courses or at the end of the meal as a dessert.

Among the three foods we have seen, ice cream is the one that takes the longest time to prepare, and that requires more attention during the various stages of preparation. For example, it is necessary to incorporate air during its preparation to make the mixture soft, but not too much.

Picture of Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon is an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. He started his career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden. He has been involved in several EU research projects and has extensively worked and published on the association between diet, longevity and cardiovascular risk across the lifespan, also studying potential interactions between diet and genes. His work about the Mediterranean diet in Sweden has been cited by many newspapers worldwide including the Washington Post and The Telegraph among others. As a speaker, he has been invited by Harvard University and the Italian multi-national food company Barilla.

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