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Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice

Readers email me about a lot of different things… cooking questions, substitution ideas for recipes, to tell me funny stories about their children or dogs, but the most common messages ask for healthy dessert ideas.

Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice


Is there really such a thing? It’s sort of a oxymoron, don’t you think? Like a FRIENDLY ARGUMENT or JUMBO SHRIMP; Healthy Dessert sounds like a CLEARLY MISUNDERSTOOD concept.

When I think of dessert, I think of excess, decadence, fat, carbs, sugar. I think of rich chocolate and silky cream. “Healthy” is not on the radar when I ponder dessert. So like an HONORABLE SINNER, I rebelled against this concept for some time, but have now decided to give it some consideration.

Tangy Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice

Friends longing for healthy desserts don’t want to ruin the party for everyone else. The GREATER MINORITY simply want to treat themselves without being burdened by guilt. Although I rarely have guilt after eating something sweet, I can appreciate that train of thought. If I put this in terms of shoes it makes total sense… If I give in and buy the sassy, over-priced, red heels–remorse is sure to follow!

So this one’s for you, healthy dessert eaters. You deserve a chance to indulge while staying MASSIVELY THIN. *smile*

I’ve combined Meyer Lemons and Black Peppercorns for a delightful Italian Ice. Sound strange? Meyer lemons are less acidic than regular lemons and have a slight floral essence. This, paired with a touch of peppery heat in the back of your throat, makes a tantalizing treat.

Plus~It’s Healthy!

Black pepper is thought to help with digestion, provide powerful antioxidants, and even break down fat cells!

On top of being a great source of vitamin C, lemons also aid digestion and are know to “cure” all sorts of ailments including canker sores, eczema and reduce fevers.

(What’s a little white processed sugar in comparison to all these benefits?)

If that weren’t enough to close the sale, this is perhaps the easiest recipe ever. If you can use a zester and boil water, you can make Italian Ice. Although you could put this in your ice cream maker to speed up the freeze time, no special equipment is required. You are 6 ingredients away from a light, yet blissful, reward.

If you can’t find Meyer Lemons, substitute regular lemons. Either way, it’s TERRIBLY GOOD!

Awesome Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice

Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes active time

Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed (6-8 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Boil 3 cups of water and add the sugar to the pan. Stir until the sugar in completely dissolved and remove from heat.
  2. Add the Meyer lemon zest and juice, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Stir well.
  3. Pour into small 4-6 serving cups and freeze.
  4. When ready to serve, place on the counter for 10 minutes to soften. (You could also pour it into one larger container to freeze. Then shave it with a spoon into serve dishing later.)

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

Looking for more healthy dessert ideas? Try these…

Grapefruit Basil Sorbet

Mexican Chile Pops

Strawberry Basil Ice

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60 Responses to “Meyer Lemon and Peppercorn Italian Ice”

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Foodposted March 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    What a great idea! Love this flavor combo!


  2. Belinda @zomppaposted March 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Healthy AND delicious!


  3. My Kitchen in the Rockiesposted March 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Pepper and lemon, what a great combo!! I am sure it tastes unbelievably good.
    Great pictures, Sommer!


  4. Shirleyposted March 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I’m with you, I think dessert should be an indulgence! Like double or nothing. I’m not fond of peppercorns in dessert (had an ice cream version once), but lemon ice is always light and refreshing.


  5. jennifurlaposted March 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    What a special treat, so vibrant..and so different


  6. Fresh and Foodieposted March 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Wow — how cool is this?! What a unique recipe. I love italian ice but would have never thought of adding pepper!


  7. Pachecopattyposted March 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Just had to check out what you’re up to with the Meyer lemons!
    Interesting, lively flavor combination in an Italian ice;-)
    Love the pictures too, just love the yellow with the peppercorns;-)


    • Sommer — March 27th, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

      Hey Patty! Bet you thought I’d never get a hold of any Meyer lemons after all my whining. Let’s just say I know a guy…. ;)


  8. Monetposted March 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Yum. I’m all about healthy desserts, but I’m always in need of new recipes. I love the unusual flavor combination here. Thank you for sharing with me. After a very long week, it is refreshing to return to the blogs/people that I love. Your words mean more to me than I can express. Many blessings this week!


  9. Denise @ Creative Kitchenposted March 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Love lemons…and italian ice!! This looks so refreshing and tasty! ;)


  10. elle marieposted March 28, 2011 at 12:51 am

    love, love the yellow props… did you buy the yellow prop background? I’m looking for new background sheets for my set up but they only have limited colors… I really like this a lot.. it lemons just pop.. and I would do anything to taste a meyer lemon.


    • Sommer — March 28th, 2011 @ 6:21 am

      Hi EM~

      I go with cheap backdrops because I always get food on them. :)

      This was just a poster board.


  11. Suchitraposted March 28, 2011 at 1:09 am

    It’s healthy, sumptuous and a visual treat for your eyes! lovely recipe :)


  12. Angie's Recipesposted March 28, 2011 at 1:39 am

    This could be the most creative ice I have ever seen. I wish I could taste some :-))


  13. Peggyposted March 28, 2011 at 3:44 am

    What a unique flavor combo! Definitely going to give this one a try! =)


  14. 5 Star Foodieposted March 28, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Always on a lookout for ideas on healthy desserts, and this is sure a fabulous one! Love the combo of sweet meyer lemon and fragrant peppercorns, nice!


  15. Deebaposted March 28, 2011 at 4:22 am

    As good as it gets. Might try this with limes as we don’t get Meyer lemons in India. The very thought of lime and pepper is tantalizing yum! Gorgeous post!!


  16. Lizposted March 28, 2011 at 4:41 am

    As much as I love decadent desserts (and shoes, BTW), this sounds both delicious and refreshing….mmmm.


  17. Amy | She Wears Many Hatsposted March 28, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Yummy! I bet this combo is so satisfying. My mouth is watering!


  18. Lea Annposted March 28, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I am loving the peppercorns in this. I’ve never made Italian Ice. This looks absolutely delicious. Love the photo with all the peppercorns scattered around on the yellow.


  19. fooddreamerposted March 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Quite frankly, I HATE having to eat healthy desserts…fortunately being low carb for my diabetes doesn’t mean I have to be low fat ;) But this ice looks so flavourful and refreshing, I’d eat it happily!


  20. MaryMohposted March 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Very unique and special. I would count that as a treat :D


  21. soniaposted March 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Omg…the lemon drink is looking so tempting. I cant wait to try this version of urs…too gud !


  22. Feast on the Cheapposted March 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

    How unique!


  23. sweetlifeposted March 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    oh goodness a lovely spring combo, I love ices and our temps here are wuicly rising!! stunning sommer!



  24. Sophieposted March 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Oooh Sommer! what a tasty & well flavoured special taste aka ice cream or sorbet??

    MMMMMMM,..I adore your vibrant yellow pictures!! Another must make!! :)


  25. carolinaheartstringsposted March 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Wonderful. The post, the recipe, the pictures!!!! Just awesome.


  26. Tricia @ Saving room for dessertposted March 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

    We were looking at ice cream makers this weekend, didn’t buy one yet but will be trying this recipe soon. I love lemons and my husband loves ices. We’re set! Beautiful photos once again :)


  27. Victor @ RandomCuisineposted March 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Love the combination of flavor. Healthy and delicious. Glad that I bump into your blog. Will sure pass by more often.


  28. Susiposted March 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    This is a healthy dessert I could get on board with. I have been in love with Italian ice ever since we’ve lived on the east coast and had Rita’s available. This would certainly satisfy my craving plus I can never say no to anything citrus :o)


  29. torviewtorontoposted March 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    flavourful for summer looks good


  30. Magic of Spiceposted March 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    What a refreshing combination…love it :)


  31. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted March 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks Sommer for thinking of our waistlines, especially with summer just around the corner, I could use a good healthy dessert that’s easy to make like this one. I love the addition of peppercorn here, it’s always nice to shake up traditional flavors with some added heat.


  32. Aldyposted March 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Ooo… Sommer, I’m absolutely loving this healthy dessert. Fabulous combination for summer !
    This makes me think of hot summer days trying to lick the ice cream before it melts :)

    Loving the yellow background :)




  33. Trishposted March 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    What a unique combination of ingredients! I love peppercorn and citrus…I would love this. Love how it’s a healthy dessert too :-)


  34. kariposted March 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    This looks great and refreshing!… but I will admit that I’d probably want a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt right beside it :) Sort of like a lemon-pepper dreamsicle!


  35. A Canadian Foodieposted March 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Your post JUST appeared in my mailbox and look how late that is. I am JUST posting my FIRST experience ever with a Meyer lemon – and will link to this post for a look at abundance of Meyer lemons and a fun way to use them (AAA-CHOO) It looks like you had a blast with this dessert and I imagine it was very light bright and sparkly.


  36. Kattyposted March 29, 2011 at 5:38 am

    I’m a MAJOR Italian ice lover with a budding Meyer lemon tree in the living room. Hope to try this when I have my own lemons! Lovely post and photos! And who’dathunk to add black pepper? :)


  37. Kristenposted March 29, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I love the photos. You really presented this unique dessert in a great fashion. Healthy or not, you would have everyone hungry for more.


  38. Kristenposted March 29, 2011 at 7:03 am

    More of the Italian ice, that is…I hope that came out right.


  39. Katerinaposted March 29, 2011 at 7:36 am

    To be honest I fall under the first category. The richer the sweet the more I love it! I am of the eopinion that if I will sin, I will do it all the way, no regrets, no tears! With your photos you succeeded in making this so to say “light sweet” very tempting even for my standards.


  40. Sanjeeta kkposted March 29, 2011 at 11:50 am

    A recipe which is going to save me from summer heat! This is so simple and yet so healthy with the peppercorns in it. Very exciting recipe, indeed, Sommer.


  41. Kitaposted March 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    What a wonderful flavor contrast. I love pepper – probably more than I should and these sound to die for. (they look awfully pretty as well!)


  42. Robyn | Add a Pinchposted March 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This looks mighty yummy, Sommer.


  43. Tiffanyposted March 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    This looks delicious! Perfect for a North Carolina summer day… although in the Triangle, it feels more like winter than summer! URG! Anyhow… amazing pictures and beautiful looking dessert!


  44. Lawyer Loves Lunchposted March 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    This may be your most interesting pairing yet! I would’ve never thought to combine lemon and pepper in a dessert! It looks perfect for summer :)


  45. egbposted March 30, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Yum! Love the flavor combination and it looks so easy. Great post.


  46. Joyposted March 30, 2011 at 9:35 am

    That looks lovely. I love italian ice. I would never think of adding peppercorns.


  47. Kate @ Diethood.composted March 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Oooooh meyer lemons with peppercorns….this sounds gooooood! I love Italian Ice – I will print this right now because I think it’s going to become the ‘go to’ summer treat when I need to lose a few elbees, but I also need to get my dessert fix!


  48. Julie M.posted March 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    So unique Sommer! You recipes put me to shame. You really are one talented chef!


  49. Debi (Table Talk)posted March 31, 2011 at 5:41 am

    What a great shot; I love the peppercorns scattered about! –Also love any individual desserts, especially when they are guilt free!


  50. pigpigscornerposted March 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I like the idea of adding peppercorn! Very creative!


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  52. Kelsey, from Happyolksposted April 4, 2011 at 9:57 am

    This sounds so intriguing! YUM! I feel like this recipe totally lives up to your name, a spicy “perspective” on italian ice. :) P.s… I LOVE those little cups, where did you get them!?


  53. 81 degrees right now. I’m ready for some lemon Italian ice. Bring it on!


  54. Jason Phelpsposted April 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I love this combination of of citrus and pepper. I am now figuring out when I can make it.



  55. Meganposted April 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    My husband would absolutely love this, he loves a little kick to everything he eats. I would never have thought of adding lemon and peppercorns for a dessert. Awesome!


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