Mamma Mia! Gelato Has Gone Vegan!

Vegan Gelato
Soon — hopefully! — vegans can line up for ages like everyone else does to scoop up some ever popular gelato. This divine possibility is thanks to three Canadian students who, for a food innovation competition, whipped up a winning version of the Italian ice cream using … wait for it … fermented beans.

Don’t make that face. The dairy- and gluten-free dessert, called BiotaGelata, got rave reviews at Mission:ImPULSEible, a competition that challenges students to get creative with Canadian pulses (or, as we call them in America, legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans). The University of Alberta team exhibited three flavors (top image): Passion Fruit, Maple Walnut, Dark Chocolate Cassis.

‘That gelato was incredible’

In fact, the vegan gelato was so good that even though Nutrition and Food Science students Nicolle Mah, Chandre Van de Merwe and Austen Neil came in second behind a high-fiber meat alternative called Fiberger, they were asked to join the grand prize winners on an all-expense-paid trip to the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago. There, the trio can potentially find an investor that can bring their prototype to market. (Please, please, please!)

Event organizer Allison Ammeter, chair of Alberta Pulse Growers, said, “If you had given me that gelato in a blind taste test, I would have said, ‘It’s a milk product.’ That gelato was incredible.”

Fermenting white and kidney beans created a yogurt-like base for the gelato, that is as healthy as it is creamy. Clearly, at Mission:ImPULSEible nothing’s impossible. Watch out, Ben & Jerry.

vegan gelato inventors

Vegan gelato inventors Nicolle Mah, Chandre Van de Merwe and Austen Neil

Images: BiotaGelata and Edmonton Journal