Why Vegetarians Should Avoid Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road ice cream is a fan favorite, but did you know its recipe is not always vegetarian? You are probably thinking that vegetarians aren't vegans and, therefore, aren't avoiding dairy. Well, dairy isn't actually what's causing the issue; it's the ice cream's marshmallows — those wonderful sugary pillows tend to contain the animal by-product gelatin. Gelatin is specifically made up of collagen that comes from animal bones and skin. If this is news to you then you are just like Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, who demanded an apology from Baskin-Robbins in a press release. 

Baskin-Robbins responded, saying that it's not hiding any of its ingredients and that they are posted on the carton's label. Of course, Baskin-Robbins isn't the only producer of Rocky Road ice cream, leaving vegetarians at a loss for words, wondering whose idea it was to put animal products in marshmallows in the first place. After a thorough internet dig, we discovered Rocky Road has quite an unusual origin. And it was originally described in the book "Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher," published in Topeka, Kansas, in 1920, as containing chocolate ice cream, honey-flavored whipped cream, macaroons, two different kinds of nuts, and cherries ... but no marshmallows.

How to make Rocky Road at home

If Rocky Road is your favorite ice cream, you might be wondering if there's any way around this vegetarian nightmare. We recommend you try your hand at making your own. It sounds scary, but you can start with the basics and grab your favorite non-dairy chocolate ice cream or recipe. If you are vegan and making your ice cream from scratch, make sure to swap out the dairy for coconut milk or your favorite dairy-free alternative. And if you choose to reach for the coconut milk, we suggest using a full-fat canned one for more depth in your ice cream's overall flavor.

Next up are the toppings. Now you can omit the marshmallow, but we suggest you just swap that with your favorite vegan marshmallow brand. Lastly, don't forget to mix in toasted walnuts or almonds and vegan chocolate chips to make the perfect vegan- and vegetarian-friendly mix. You say you aren't an ice cream maker? Fear not; there are vegetarian and vegan versions of Rocky Road out there that you can just buy. Remember, with rumors of Rocky Road's name being coined during the Great Depression as a suggested pun, the hold this ice cream has on vegetarians and vegans alike is really no joke. So, make sure to add your vegan marshmallows responsibly.