Last Updated on June 3, 2023
I got the inspiration to create this dish from the Japanese dessert called Ichigo Daifuku [苺大福] which is mochi filled with adzuki beans (Anko) with fresh strawberry. The tartness and the sweetness of fresh strawberry works very well with sweet adzuki beans. Instead of using mochi (or making mochi from scratch), I made one with vegan vanilla gelato! This Vanilla Gelato with Sweet Adzuki Beans & Strawberries is an easy way to enjoy the flavor of Japanese dessert. It’s vegan and gluten free if you use GF option of gelato or ice cream.
What is Anko?
Anko is a type of Japanese dish that’s commonly used in making desserts. It’s cooked adzuki beans sweetened with sugar. You can leave beans as a whole or make a smooth paste depending on the types of dessert you’re making.
Adzuki beans are dark red color and relatively small. Just like any other beans, you can buy them dry and cook on your own. Unlike other beans like pinto beans, black beans, etc., tannin is present in the skin which requires precooking to get rid of the potential unwanted taste. But other than that, it’s quite simple and easy to make at home. You can check out my full blog post with the recipe here.
That Vegan Vanilla Gelato
There are so many different vegan ice cream options available. I don’t eat dessert often enough but I’ve tried a couple of different ice cream products from different companies. Our recent favorite is Revolution Gelato. Their products are all 100% vegan and organic. You can find pretty interesting flavors like Cinnamon Spice or Orange Cream and the ingredients are very much clean. Eating ice cream (gelato) in general makes you feel a little guilty so you want to make sure that at least you’re eating something cleaner than other choices. That’s how I convince myself…
What I also like about their products is since they are gelato, the consistency is smoother and silkier (?) than ice cream and melts ever so gently in your mouth!
For this recipe, I used the “Full Throttle Vanilla” which you can visibly see tiny black dots from the real vanilla beans. That’s the type of frozen vanilla desserts that I like. As far as I consider, vanilla is a basic and bare flavor that you can easily determine if one is really good kind or not. Other than that, with the basic flavor, you can tweak a bit on store bought ones and make your own using your culinary creativity!
I tweaked mine with homemade Anko and fresh strawberries! This is how!
It’s only three components to make this delicious dessert!
- Vanilla Gelato (or Ice Cream) of Your Choice
- Anko (Japanese Sweet Adzuki Beans)
- Fresh Strawberries
I love short & simple ingredient list like this one. But I hear you saying “Anko doesn’t seem like an easy process to make.” Yeah, I agree, but reading below may help!
Anko (Japanese Sweet Adzuki Beans)
I made my anko from scratch. It’s a slow-cooking food which takes about 2 hours to make but it’s worth it! No time to spare? You can actually buy canned anko. Just search online using either;
Yude Adzuki (Azuki)
Something should come up. With the canned option, you can simply open it and serve it. How easy is that?
You may also find canned adzuki beans and cook on your own by heating up and add sugar. I’ve never done that before but it should work! Just make sure to check the label to see that the beans are not cooked with salt and/or other savory ingredients!
Gelato or Ice Cream?
Honestly, I believe the choice between gelato or ice cream will not change the result. Just make sure that it’s vegan and vanilla flavor! Otherwise, the choice is up to you!
Check out my anko recipe and other ice cream creation!
Anko (Japanese Sweet Adzuki Beans)
Vanilla Ice Cream with Toasted Sesame Seeds & Sea Salt
Vanilla Gelato with Sweet Adzuki Beans & Strawberries
- 1/2 pint good quality vegan vanilla gelato or ice cream
- 1/3-1/2 cup anko (Japanese sweet adzuki beans) (or use store bought canned option)
- 3 to 4 fresh strawberries remove the top and thinly sliced
- In a bowl or plate, simply serve all the ingredients above.