Squish, Blend, and Sip: Tales and Recipes for Becoming your own “Smoothie Operator”

By Mimi DelGizzi

Smoothies bring out my creative side.  I throw in all kinds of ingredients—fruits, vegetables, different juices.  From scoops of ice cream to handfuls of granola, there is no limit to ingredients one can include in a smoothie.  The smoothies I make use simple ingredients, but I do like to experiment every now and then with more complex flavors.  Be your own smoothie artist!  Add fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, or parsley; experiment with different nut butters; use canned, fresh, or frozen fruit; be liberal with adding leafy greens (I promise you won’t even be able to taste them!).

You’ll see that I use a lot of bananas in my smoothies.  They give a nice creamy texture, and their sweetness cuts the tartness of plain yogurt.  I buy a bunch of bananas and let them hang out on my counter until they’re flecked with brown spots.  The riper they are, the sweeter they’ll be in smoothies.  Peel your ripe bananas, place each in a snack-size zipper baggie, and keep squishing until your bananas are mashed.  Place these bags in the freezer and add to smoothies as you want to!  Another idea is to pour your plain (or flavored) yogurt into an ice cube tray.  Freeze, then pop out into a big zipper bag and keep these yogurt cubes in your freezer to add to smoothies.  Try the following recipes and get ready to become a smoothie addict.  

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

The ingredients in this smoothie are a pretty familiar combination, but the first time I blended this up, I couldn’t stop ranting and raving about it to anyone who would listen.  It tastes like peanut butter banana ice cream (but it’s protein-packed and healthy!)

Ingredients

1 cup dairy or other low fat milk

1 frozen banana

2 Tbsp peanut butter or another nut or seed butter (creamy works best)

*add 1 Tbsp coca powder for Chocolate PB Banana Smoothie

Put all ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy.

Farmer’s Market Smoothie (or Fruit Soup!)

I created this smoothie last summer when I realized my fridge was overflowing with fruit from my CSA pickup that needed to be used before it spoiled.  I blended a variety of cut-up fruit.  Late for work, I quickly poured the mixture into a Tupperware and grabbed a spoon.  It became fruit soup!  This smoothie soup is so refreshing, especially with the kick of cilantro.

Ingredients

2 cups sliced fruit (I used peaches, plums, nectarines, berries, grapes and melon)

¼ cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 cup water

1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

¼ cup cilantro leaves (you can eat the stems on cilantro, so feel free to use that part, too)

1-2 ice cubes (otherwise, you can chill this smoothie for 20 minutes after blending)

1 Tbsp agave, honey, maple syrup*

*for a tarter taste, omit the sweetener.

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy with or without a spoon!

The Green (Line) Smoothie

This smoothie is as healthy as it looks.  Just make sure to check your teeth afterwards.

Ingredients

½ avocado

½ green apple, chopped

½ cup apple juice

½ cup water

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy.

Eggnog Smoothie

Eggnog is a holiday treat that I wait months for, but a cup of the real stuff packs about 9 grams of fat (if not more) per cup.  There’s almost no fat in this version—and it tastes like the real thing which means that eggnog-lovers can have that spicy, creamy taste all year-round. 

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

1 cup dairy or other low fat milk

1 tsp nutmeg

pinch of cinnamon

Put all ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy.

Orange Cream Smoothie

Pour this smoothie into little paper cups, add a popsicle stick to the middle of each, freeze, and you have orange cream frozen pops!

Ingredients

1 cup yogurt (plain, vanilla, or other flavor)

1 cup orange juice

½ orange, peeled, seeded, and pith removed

Put all ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy.

Want it green?  Add a small handful of spinach.

Chai Masala Smoothie

This smoothie is adapted from one in the book, Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies by Leah Shomron and Hani Borovsky.  I saw this recipe and immediately fell in love. 

Ingredients

1 chai teabag

¼ cup hot water

¼ cup dairy or other low fat milk

¼ cup water

½ frozen banana

1-2 Tbsp honey, agave, maple syrup

5 ice cubes

Place chai teabag in boiling water and let steep for 30 minutes.  Strain tea and pour into blender.  Add all other ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Sweet Beet Smoothie

Do you like that earthy-sweet taste of beets?  Your temporary pink fingertips that follow chopping beets will be worth it after you taste this deliciously sweet smoothie.  Pack in an extra health kick by adding a handful of spinach. 

Ingredients

½ medium raw beet, chopped

¼ cup orange juice

½ cup water

¼ cup green grapes

Blend all ingredients in blender.  Strain through fine sieve or cheesecloth.  Discard solids.  Enjoy!

Tabasco Gazpacho Smoothie (adapted from the book Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies)

Who said smoothies always have to be sweet? This one also masquerades as a soup.  Chill it for 30 minutes and beat the upcoming heat of summer with this spicy cool-down treat.

Ingredients

1 cup low-sodium tomato juice

½ cucumber, chopped

½ red pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

handful of parsley or cilantro (you can eat the stems of cilantro, but remove parsley stems if using)

1 garlic clove

5 drops of hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand)

pinch of salt and pepper

Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Chill for 20 minutes, then sip from a glass or pour into a bowl and have soup!

*Photos 1 and 3

*Photo 2

Mimi DelGizzi is an incoming Friedman student who loves smoothies, her dog, farmer’s markets, and running (among other things).  She’s currently the Coordinator at Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters® Massachusetts teaching families how to eat and cook better for less. 

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