Making a vegan smoothie all comes down to personal preference and nutritional needs. That being said, there are some basic guidelines we can follow to create a great-tasting, nutritious vegan protein smoothie that you can adapt to your tastes.
To make a base for your smoothie all you’ll need is some frozen fruit and a non-dairy liquid of your choice, such as almond milk. However, if you’re looking to substitute a main meal with a smoothie, you’ll have to add some extra ingredients to bulk it up and make sure you stay full.
So let’s take a look at how to make a great vegan smoothie that’s tasty and nutritious, and that will keep you from reaching for a midnight snack!
Step 1: Choose A Liquid for the base of your smoothie
- non-dairy plant-based milks such as soy, almond, hazelnut, cashew, oat or hemp.
- tinned coconut milk (low calorie or full fat)
- coconut water
- 100% fruit juice such as apple,
- cheery, pineapple or orange
- green tea or chai, black tea or camomile.
Personally, I don’t like using fruit juice in a smoothie, but that’s just my personal preference. If you want to use fruit juice in your own recipe, go ahead! Just make sure that you use 100% juice, without added sugar or preservatives. Better yet, use good old-fashioned water and simply add in the fruit you like later. You’ll still get the great taste of the fruit, plus nutritional benefits that include added fiber.
Although fruit-based smoothies are incredibly easy and delicious, you can make simple, flavorful smoothies from other ingredients too. Some great fruit alternatives are:
- Sweet potato or pumpkin
- Butternut squash
- Cauliflower or broccoli
If you are looking for a high-protein meal replacement, then I recommend soy and hemp milk as
they are great options for your smoothie base. Also, if you are concious about your calorie intake,
your best bet would be to try oat or rice milk. Almond and cashew milk both sit somewhere in the
middle; being pretty easy-going on both calories and protein. And, if you’re someone who just
wants an amazing tasting smoothie, and couldn’t care less about calories or meal replacements, use
full-fat tinned coconut milk and make your smoothie feel more like a dessert! Sometimes, I even use
coffee in my smoothies to give me an extra boost in the mornings.
If you’re interested in even more recipes with a little caffeine kick, you’ll find more in the rest of the book.
Step 2: Add Some Frozen Fruit For Extra Flavour
Some great frozen fruit options are:
When making a smoothie, remember: you can always add liquid but you can’t take it
away again! Start with 1 cup, as this will usually be enough. If you find your mixture is too
thick and won’t blend properly, add more liquid very slowly until you get your desired
Alternatively, if you’re making a smoothie bowl you’ll want a nice thick mixture, in which
case you should start with ¼ cup of liquid and increase the amount as you go. Depending
on what fruit or veg you’re using for your base, you might not need any liquid at all.
Whether you’re making a drink or a smoothie bowl, having a good blender such as the
Vitamix or Blendtec will make your life a whole lot easier.
- Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries. Supermarkets often have bags of mixed frozen berries, so no need to buy all of them separately
- Tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, which you can easily find in the frozen aisle
- at the supermarket
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes
Peaches, strawberries and blueberries make excellent low-glycemic, lower carbohydrate options that still provide sweetness to smoothies. I use peaches and strawberries a lot for this reason.
Step 3: Add Some Herbs & Veggies
In the following section, we’ll go over the best herbs and vegetables to add to your smoothie and how to use them. No, you’re not making a Sunday dinner! Vegetables can bulk up your smoothie without adding any excess sugar, and are a great way to boost your diet with even more vitamins and minerals; and herbs can add a little extra flavor. Some of my favourites are:
- leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce
- Stachy vegetables such as sweet potato, squash and pumpkin
- Beets, celery, cucumber, carrot, zucchini
- Herbs such as parsely, basil, cilantro and mint.
Step 4: Add Healthy Fats
Healthy fats help to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates in the body, help keep blood sugar levels stable, and will keep you fuller for longer. They also aid the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, provide energy reserves and keep your skin, cells, and nerves functioning properly. Some great sources of healthy fats to add to your smoothie are:
Healthy Fat Options
- 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado, fresh or frozen
- 1 to 2 tbsp of nut or seed butter, such as peanut, almond, sunflower seed, coconut or tahini
- up to 1/4 cup of nuts such as walnuts, cashews or almonds
- 1/4 cup of nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, or almonds
- 1/4 cup seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, or hemp
- 2 tbsp of chia seeds or ground flax
- 1/4 cups flaked coconut or cacao nibs
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh or frozen coconut flesh
While coconut and cacao nibs are delicious, keep in mind that they do add saturated fat. If you want to keep things super-healthy, go for the unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats you find in avocado and nuts instead.
Step 5: Add Nutrition Boosters
To super-charge your smoothie, consider adding some of the following ingredients:
- Camu Camu
While all of the above are considered “superfoods”, they are not essential to making a high-protein, tasty, filling smoothie. If you do have the inclination, try adding some of these added extras, as well as:
- Rolled oats
- Lemon and lime
- Dairy-free yogurt
- Spices such as ginger, nutmeg, tumeric, cadamom, peopper and cinnamon
- Fresh ginger
- Pure vanilla extract
- Sea salt
Step 6: Add Protein Powder (optional)
Using protein powder in your smoothies is completely optional, but I almost always do it. On average, it adds about 20 extra grams of protein to my meal.
Popular Vegan Protein Powders Include:
SunWarrior, Vega, Orgain Organic Protein, Jarrow Brown Rice Protein, plain organic hemp protein, plain organic brown rice protein and North Coast Naturals Vege Pro-7.
Personally, my favorite is the North Coast Naturals powder, which is made without pea protein.
For some (myself included!), pea protein can cause some digestive problems, hence why I prefer North Coast Naturals. If you’re looking for whole-food protein, try the plain hemp, soy, or brown
Whatever you add to your smoothie, it should be delicious and fun!
If you enjoyed this How to Make A Vegan Protein Smoothie Without Protein Powder please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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