A Guide to Portland's Coolest Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Just in time for summer, let us direct your sweet tooth towards the city's vegan and dairy-free cold and creamy treats.

By Allison Jones July 1, 2015

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The Original's Polar Squares

Image: Allison Jones

Real talk: sorbet is not ice cream. When you want a spoonful of decadent, rich deliciousness on a hot day, a blend of frozen fruit and sugar just doesn't cut it*—and Portland's vast sea of alt-diet offerings understands your needs. Here, we round up Portland's true non-dairy ice cream contenders—both new and classic—for those moments when only a creamy scoop will do.

Nostalgic treats at the Original for National Ice Cream Month: Yes, July is the hallowed fake holiday of frozen desserts, and the Original's pastry chef Jeremy Intille is celebrating with a freezer case full of throwback treats, inspired by Drumsticks, Fudgsicles, Choco Tacos, and more. The dietary-preference pastry pro has included several vegan and dairy-free options in the mix, including three Klondike-inspired "Polar Squares" in flavors like vegan Stumptown Coffee coconut coffee ice cream with toasted hazelnuts, vegan vanilla coconut ice cream coated in Oreo pieces, and dairy-free coconut chocolate ice cream rolled in roasted almonds. 300 SW 6th Ave 

A new vegan and gluten-free Petunia's flavor at Salt & Straw: Local vegans and gluten-free eaters around town have already built shrines and composed hymns in honor of the first sweet collaboration between Petunia's and Salt & Straw—the incredible Coconut with Petunia's Salted Caramel Cookie Bar—and a follow-up flavor is now ready for scooping. Stop by any Salt & Straw location or Petunia's West End bakery to try the summer-only Petunia’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie: super-sweet vanilla bean ice cream with generous hunks of real strawberry rhubarb pie and brown sugar cornmeal streusel folded in. More details!

Ice cream pop-up Morgan St Theater's Vegan Delight event: On Saturday, July 18, the charismatic ice cream event experts will weave storytelling with 100% vegan and gluten-free desserts. Expect treats like peach sorbet with sweet corn cream, caramelized popcorn, and blackberries; cucumber mint sorbet with tomato water, black olive powder, and pickled cucumber; and chocolate sorbet with peanut butter swirl, salt and pepper potato chips, and raspberry shrub. The event will be hosted at a private residence and seating is limited, so contact Morgan St Theater to find out more. 

Departure's ultimate banana split for everyoneThis crowd-pleasing dessert is loaded with banana tempura, cherry compote, miso butterscotch, and peanut brittle ice cream that all just happens to be vegan. Also try Departure's house strawberry ice cream that comes perched on coconut ice, burnt coconut jellies, herbs, and candied strawberries. 525 SW Morrison St

Back to Eden bakery's ice cream

Vegan soft serve abounds in PDX: Vegan mainstays Blossoming Lotus, Food Fight! vegan grocery, and Back to Eden offer vegan soft serve, with rotating flavors from the tame (vanilla and chocolate) to the trendy (hello, pumpkin and almond butter). Back to Eden even boasts gluten-free vegan waffle cones, blends up vegan milkshakes, and scoops Eugene-based Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss—and who doesn't love options?

Fro-yo more your thang? Eb & Bean is the place to be for dairy-free frozen yogurt lovers. In addition to making her own cultured almond base for nondairy flavors like cookies n cream and pecan turtle, owner Elizabeth Nathan offers alt-diet-friendly toppings like Petunia's cookie crumbles, dye-free sprinkles, house fruit compote, and nondairy magic shells in coconut caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter. 1425 NE Broadway

*So what if you DO love sorbet? We've got you covered, too. Ruby Jewel's July menu includes refreshing dairy-free flavors like Oregon strawberry and basil and blueberry lemonade; Fifty Licks always stocks some classic vegan flavors, like coconut lemon saffron, passionfruit with sichuan pepper, grapefruit rose, and Rhode Island-style frozen lemonade; Cool Moon in the Pearl District offers a rotating selection of sorbets, from mocha and strawberry to mandarin orange and grapefruit Campari; And you should also check out our list of Portland's best fruit popsicles...and have a delicious summer!

What did we miss? Tell us in the comments!

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