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These new L.A. ice cream alternatives are a cool, creamy treat

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Soft-serve vegan ice cream from Yoga-urt
Soft-serve vegan ice cream that tastes delicious? We'll scream for Yoga-urt. (Photo: Yoga-urt/Paul Rumohr)

Ice cream envy: It’s a common condition among healthy eaters in the summertime. You know that skipping out on questionably sourced dairy and loads of refined sugar is a good choice, but still…doesn’t taking a lick of a cool, sweet frozen treat sound divine?

Luckily, this summer there are a few new and delicious options for ice cream lovers who want better-for-you choices. We’d be hard-pressed to ever call ice cream health food, but if you’re going in for the lick, these spots serve frozen goodies that are not only health-minded but are also tasty enough to inspire the envy of others.

Gelato and sorbet at Square Ice
At Square Ice, gelatos are dairy free and sorbets are packed with real fruit. (Photo: Square Ice)

Square Ice: This new East Hollywood spot (right across the street from Sqirl) serves vegan gelato and fruit sorbets crafted with local farmers’ market produce and lightly sweetened with cane sugar. The dense gelatos—in flavors like stracciatella and Thai tea—incorporate coconut, almond and/or rice milk instead of dairy. The fresh sorbets—like mango and blood orange—contain 50 percent fruit. Order by the scoop ($3.75) or try the signature Square Ice ($6), two flavors of gelato or sorbet served on a vegan brownie topped with organic fruit and organic jam.

Yoga-urt: The organic soft serve at this recently opened Glendale shop is so impossibly creamy that you won’t believe it’s vegan (small, $5.25; medium, $6.75). It’s crafted from house-made almond milk and cashews, loaded with live probiotics and comes in great-tasting, not-too-sweet flavors like coconut chai, salted caramel and peanut butter. If you don’t want any cane sugar, try Ganesha’s Sweet Greens flavor, made with kale and spinach and naturally sweetened with dates, kiwi and pineapple. The toppings bar ($1 first topping; additional toppings $.50) includes yummy, healthy choices like organic cacao nibs and gluten-free, sugar-free ginger-turmeric granola. Try your creation on a handcrafted vegan, gluten-free waffle cone ($+2)!

SunLife Organics: Dairy lovers will rejoice over the grass-fed, organic frozen yogurt from this all-natural cafe, which just opened in Pasadena and also has locations in Malibu and Calabasas. The fro-yo, flavored with vanilla and lightly sweetened with cane sugar, is high in healthy Omega-3 fats and also contains probiotics (small, $4; large, $6.50). We love it topped with fresh organic fruit and Paleo granola (toppings $1 each). Vegans, don’t despair: SunLife has also just added vegan coconut vanilla frozen yogurt as an option as well! Super cool.

Square Ice
755 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles
(323) 327-7979
facebook.com/Square-Ice-LA

Yoga-urt
1407 W. Kenneth Rd., Glendale
(818) 545-3880
yoga-urt.com

SunLife Organics
Multiple locations in Pasadena, Malibu and Calabasas
sunlifeorganics.com