Why we love smoothies:
- They are delicious
- They are cold and creamy
- You can hide veggies in them
- They can replace meals
- They are easy to digest
- They can be more nutritious than solid food
- You can hide “superfoods” in them
- They are quick and easy to make (if you know what you’re doing)
- They make great frozen treats for our kids 😀
The simplest smoothies consist of fruit, dairy or nondairy milk or yogurt, and ice. The fewer ingredients you add, the better the chances that it’ll taste yummy.
But the most fantastic OMG wonderful amazing smoothies contain much, much more…and are easier to make when you have a high speed blender. If you have a cheap blender (under $400 😉 then you’ll want to add nut butters instead of nuts, cocao powder rather than nibs, vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, and chopped fruits and veggies so you don’t overwork your motor or end up with large chunks.
The most important thing to remember when making a smoothie is that your blender needs plenty of liquid to do its job. You can use water, juice, dairy or nondairy milks or yogurts, kefir, coconut water, kombucha, or even coffee or tea as your base liquids. I usually use filtered water, personally, though if I have it on hand, I use kefir, kombucha, or coconut water for their various health benefits. I avoid dairy and sugar, as the former makes me sick and the latter makes me moody.
Here is what I put in my breakfast and snack smoothies, in this order:
- Water (or soy/almond/hemp milk, rarely tea or juice)
- Veggies (a handful of leafy greens, a small handful of sprouts, a few baby carrots, maybe a stalk of celery or a bit of cucumber. I’ve seen recipes that call for tomato, red pepper, squash, radishes, beets, and other veggies, but I usually prefer those veggies roasted or in salads or soups.) Leafy greens are especially high in calcium and iron, and vegetables are great for minerals, fiber, protein, and a few vitamins.
- Fresh fruit (a peeled orange, a kiwi sliced in half, apple, pear, watermelon, or whatever I have on hand that needs to be used up before it goes bad.) Fruit is great for vitamins, fiber, and a few minerals.
- Frozen fruit (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, pineapple, mango, peaches, grapes, or whatever I have on hand.) Frozen fruit means I don’t need ice.
- Sweetener (preferably a small handful of dates, which contain vitamins and fiber like all fruits, but sometimes I’ll choose raw local honey, agave syrup, stevia, brown rice syrup, grade b maple syrup, or molasses.)
- A small handful of nuts, such as coconut, avocado, pecans, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, filberts/hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts. Nuts are high in minerals and make smoothies creamy, adding healthy fats and protein.
- A couple tablespoons total of assorted superfoods such as bee pollen, raw chocolate, maca powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, fresh ginger or other spices, sprouted quinoa, goji berries, etc. Superfoods tend to have strong flavor (and they tend to be expensive,) so go easy on them!
- Ice, if it needs extra cooling or thickening after I blend the rest
Foods that thicken smoothies, and so should be used lightly and rarely in combination unless you want a pudding, include:
- flax seed
- chia seed
- dates and figs
- dried fruit
And then there are the amazing dessert smoothies of decadent love – using extra sweeteners and a bit of chia seed, flax seed, or banana to make them more smooth. Vanilla and cashews with a sweet orange tastes like those orange cream popsickles I loved as a child. Chocolate, with hazelnuts for a nutella flavor, peanuts or peanut butter for a Reeses’ flavor, coconut and almond butter to taste like almond joy, any of those combinations plus coffee and ice for a perfect cafe blended drink…the possibilities are endless.
I love making chai tea lattes, a vegan egg-less nog with almonds and spices, strawberry kiwi slushes, and vegan ice kreams with avocado to make them rich and creamy.
Crap, now I’m 45 minutes away from my vitamix and hungry…