The Art of The Smoothie

My favourite dairy-free chocolate 'milk' shake
My favourite dairy-free chocolate ‘milk’ shake

Smoothies are quick to prepare and drink, great for breakfast on the go, a snack or a dessert.  They are an easy way of using up slightly past their best, over-ripe bits of fruit, they are kid-friendly and there are endless possibilities and flavour combinations.  You can also add lots of extras and super foods for maximum nutrition, which is important if you are on a restricted diet for any reason such as food allergies or intolerances.  Plus other ingredients make them extra tasty.

We have smoothies at least once a week in our house.  I keep a tub in the freezer where I chop up any leftover half-bananas that the kids haven’t finished.  This gives the smoothie are more milkshake-like quality.  I also buy frozen berries especially for making smoothies (and dairy-free ice cream) because they are cheaper than fresh berries and they will often contain more nutrients than fresh berries bought out-of-season and flow in from abroad.

My basic recipe is, per adult:

  • 1 chopped, frozen banana (you can of course use fresh banana)
  • 250ml dairy-free milk (I like unsweetened almond milk, my kids prefer coconut milk drink)

To which you can add any combination of the following:

  • 1/2 avocado – this makes the texture extra thick and creamy and utterly divine.  They are a great source of healthy fats.
  • 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen fruit, chopped if necessary – berries, mango, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, whatever you fancy
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 handful spinach, fresh or frozen – so good for you and with all the other flavours you won’t even know it’s there.
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil – another source of healthy fat and makes the smoothie more filling and satisfying
  • 1-2 tsp coconut butter – delicious and goes well with tropical flavours
  • 1-2 tsp nut butter (my favourite is almond) for a malty, almost toffee-like flavour
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds – these absorb liquid and help to thicken the texture.  They are also a source of calcium and omega-3s.
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed/linseed –  like chia seeds this will absorb liquid and make the texture thicker.  They are also packed full of nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, fibre, omega-3 and calcium.
  • 1-2tsp honey (preferably raw) to sweeten.  Raw honey is not heat-treated so it retains all its enzymes and antioxidants, and a study has found that eating a small amount of honey may be beneficial to your gut bacteria.

Just chuck all the ingredients in your blender, and whizz it all up for a couple of minutes.  Taste it and adjust if necessary (e.g. add more honey to taste).  Easy peasy! Our favourite combinations are:

Chocolate ‘milk’ shake

  • 250ml almond milk
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 handful spinach

Tropical smoothie

  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 1 chopped mango
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds/linseed

Berry smoothie

  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 2 handfuls frozen strawberries, raspberries (my 4-year-old’s favourite), or blueberries, or a mixture
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds/linseed

Are you fans of smoothies in your house?  What’s your favourite combination? What ‘extras’ do you like to add