Caramelized Banana Split


You don’t need a recipe for most banana splits. It’s bananas, ice cream, whipped cream, and cherries. Maybe a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Or caramel sauce. Or both. Maybe some walnuts. Of course, we want the ice cream plant-based. And we like to caramelize the bananas along with vegan butter, brown sugar, ground espresso, cocoa powder and cinnamon for more flavor. Aaaand that’s where this recipe comes in! Here’s our fancy but still easy-to-make banana split, complete with plant-based whipped cream and a cherry (or three) on top! 



  1. Make the Vegan Whipped Cream and keep it cold. 
  2. When you’re ready to serve, toast the walnuts (if using) in a medium dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice for even toasting. You could also toast the nuts on a sheet pan in a 350ºF/175ºC oven for 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a cutting board and chop the nuts nice and fine.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the bananas and cut them in half lengthwise, following the arc of the curve, so the bananas will lay flat. 
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then stir in the brown sugar, espresso, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Lay the bananas cut sides down in the pan and cook until nicely browned and caramelized on the cut sides, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Assemble the banana splits by mounding a scoop each of vanilla, chocolate, and cookie dough ice creams in the centers of four shallow dessert bowls, preferably oval-shaped bowls. 
  6. Use a long spatula to transfer two caramelized bananas to each bowl, cut sides up, around the ice cream. 
  7. Drizzle generously with the chocolate sauce and any caramel sauce left in the pan from the bananas. Spoon a generous dollop of whipped cream over each scoop of ice cream and top each with a maraschino cherry. Finish with a shower of chopped walnuts.


  • Most chocolate sauce is vegan and made with just invert sugar and cocoa powder. That includes popular brands of squeezable chocolate sauce like Hershey’s in the US and Askey’s Treat in the UK. Just avoid the “milk” chocolate versions!
  • To go one better, add some hulled fresh strawberries to each banana split, or drizzle with strawberry sauce. Most brands of strawberry sauce are vegan too!
  • Look for Luxardo cherries in liquor stores or better stocked grocers. They are the most luxe maraschino cherries you’ll ever taste. You can also use regular maraschino cherries, but try to find natural ones without that nasty Red 40 food coloring. Some people have allergic reactions to Red 40. Or just use fresh cherries! 
  • You might want to skip the espresso powder if you’re serving this to kids. They’ll get enough of a sugar rush from everything else!

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