I’m going to admit something, and I don’t want you to laugh (though I would if I were you.)
I’ve become a smoothie girl. The kind that mixes one up when she gets home from her run, and the one that might grab one on her way out of the grocery store with an armload of kale. Not the girl that carries the smoothie into a spin class, or sips on it with sunglasses on while talking on the phone and shopping, but the one who will say to friends “I found this smoothie recipe that I really love.” And, the kind that doesn’t laugh when the words “smoothie” and “recipe” are used in the same sentence. To say I’m ashamed would be a mis-statement, but maybe I’m astonished.
Something about the “smoothie” has always been laughable to me, because I’ve always basically felt there was some way to eat all the same stuff the smoothie crowd was mashing up in a blender. (Drink your greens? Why? Eat a salad. Maybe two. Slather a banana with peanut butter and chocolate and drink a glass of milk. Bam. That peanut butter whirlwind in an edible form.) Maybe I thought that the blending part was just fussy? Or granola-chic? Or maybe I have too-long associated “smoothies” with the oversized styrofoam cups filled with dessert disguised as health food. Whatever it was, the distaste has passed and I’ve joined the club. Let me tell you friends, its worth joining.
How did I convert? Well, these days I keep a pretty unconventional schedule and every day is different. Sometimes I’m up for conference calls with Europe or Asia in the early morning, and I’ll wait to run/ride/play until the early spring sun is higher in the sky. On these sorts of days, I tend to eat bigger, savory, brunch-y breakfasts and then, when I get home, I want something light, and quick, and something that won’t get all over my keyboard when I sit back down to work again. And a smoothie (complete with straw) fits this bill. Other mornings, I just want something quick and healthy to get me going — today, I’m headed out the door for a trip to Las Vegas with the Skratch Labs team for this weekend of fun, sipping a smoothie as we go.
I started embracing the smoothie back in Portland when I’d leave my favorite yoga class, at my favorite studio which is attached to this favorite little vegan restaurant. They had this great smoothie with strawberries + avocados, and it always had these nice little chunks of dates + hemp — so good I couldn’t help but try to recreate it now that smoothies are finally showing up in our markets here in Colorado.
Contrary to my popular and previous beliefs about smoothies, you don’t have to have a whole bumper crop of fruits or crazy ingredients to make them successfully. You’ll see that this one has a few “optional” ingredients. If you have them all, you’re in for an amazing smoothie. If you don’t you’re still going to end up with something super yummy. The hemp seeds and maca are the most likely candidates to be missing from your pantry. I strongly recommend picking up hemp seeds for this smoothie, and then to for sprinkling over cereal or salads, adding to oatmeal, mixing into cookies…you get the picture. The maca is a fantastic staple to have on hand – its loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. And if you’re looking for more ways to use it, here’s a mouthwatering list of ways to use it in other recipes.
A few notes on the smoothie: You’ll see there are a few optional ingredients below. If you have all of them, they make for an amazing smoothie. If you’re missing a few, you’ll still have a delicious concoction. if you forget to soak the dates – no worries. I actually like them without being soaked because they’re a little bit chunky instead of smooth (and then you get to chew the sweet chunks.) The ice cubes are added just to lend some frost so if you’re looking for a little potassium boost, toss in frozen bananas instead (or freeze your strawberries.) And, of course, you needn’t use almond milk if your a bigger soy, hemp, or cows milk fan. Do it up, as you wish.
Do you have any favorite smoothie recipes? I’d love to hear them — since, ya know, I’m in the club now. -xo L
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 medjool dates, soaked overnight in water
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 ripe avocado
- 1 1/2 Tbsp hemp seeds - raw, or very lightly toasted
- 1 Tbsp soaking liquid from the dates
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1-2 tsp raw maca powder (optional)
- a few ice cubes
- **Should you choose to toast the hemp seeds, it will add a nice little nutty flavor to the smoothie. To do this, use a skillet on the stovetop and add the seeds, toasting over medium/low heat for just a few moments, shaking the skillet constantly to make sure the seeds toast evenly. This should take 1-2 minutes. Do NOT leave the hemp seeds unattended -- they're too delicate to toast un-monitored and will certainly burn.**
- In a blender, add the almond milk, dates, strawberries, avocado, soaking liquid and optional sweetener and blend on high speed until well combined. You want all the ice cubes/strawberry chunks to be mashed up. Pour into a glass. I like to stir in 1/2 of the hemp seeds, and sprinkle the other half on top of the smoothie, but you could stir all of them in if you like. Add a straw and enjoy!