Healthy smoothies are beneficial for your whole body and fun to make. Thick, ice-cream like smoothies are even better. They keep you full for longer and are so satisfying they don’t leave you craving junk food or sweets.
If haven’t hopped on the green smoothie bandwagon yet, let me show you how you can easily make a delicious, decadent (but healthy) beverage full of nutrients. Here’s 17 ingredients that will help you make the frostiest, richest smoothie you’ve ever had:
1. Frozen fruit
Thick, ice cream-like smoothies begin with frozen fruit. Banana is the go-to fruit to thicken and sweeten, but almost any frozen fruit works really well, especially the ones with a high content of soluble fiber and pectin.
Plain avocado makes any smoothie creamy and dreamy, and the flavor is east to hide (unlike bananas). Scoop half an avocado into your blender, along with greens and fruits.
3. Vegetable purées
Yes, purées. Use sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrot purée to make soft and dense smoothies like this sweet potato smoothie that tastes like ice cream.
4. Milk ice cubes
Switch plain ice for milk ice cubes to boost the creaminess of your smoothie without watering it down.
Put your milk of choice (coconut, almond, cashew, walnut, soy or other) in ice trays and move the cubes to sealed bags once they’re frozen. Add them when a recipe calls for ice cubes. Try this orange carrot chia smoothie.
Yogurt is a go-to option for smoothies. If you eat diary, use full-fat plain greek yogurt (avoid sugary, flavored, processed yogurt). Or try coconut or almond yogurt.
6. Cottage cheese
If you eat dairy, ½ cup of cottage cheese is an easy way to get your protein and thicken at the same time.
Use it in this creamy apple cheesecake smoothie.
7. Coconut meat
Coconut flesh is great at thickening because it’s soft and gelatinous. You can get frozen coconut flesh at the grocery store or scoop it from green coconuts.
It has a strong flavor so add it when you want a coconut-y smoothie.
8. Silken tofu
Silken tofu is soft, rich, dense and perfect for a plant-based thick smoothie. The flavor hides really well so don't worry if you’re not a tofu fan.
Try adding ½ cup of tofu and increase the quantity depending on how thick you want it.
9. Chia seeds
Add chia seeds to your smoothie by making chia gel, chia pudding or simply tossing them in.
To make chia gel, let 1/3 cup of chia seeds soak on 2 cups of water overnight.
To make chia pudding, add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds on 1 cup of milk of your choice, add sweeteners and any flavors you’d like and let it sit overnight.
For your smoothie, add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds or 3 tablespoons of chia gel or pudding.
Flaxseeds thicken liquids and are a good source of omega-3s and fiber. For best results, mix a tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 2.5 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding it to your smoothie.
11. Soaked nuts
Nuts thicken well because they contain healthy fats and become softer once they’re soaked. As a bonus, they’re more nutritious than dry nuts because the soaking gets rid of enzymes that prevent the absorption of nutrients in the gut.
Put almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts in a bowl, fill it with water and let them soak overnight. The next morning, rinse them and toss them in your smoothie. Try this kale smoothie that tastes like ice cream.
12. Seed and nut butters
Nut and seed butters like almond, cashew, macadamia, hemp, sunflower and hazelnut butter are perfect to get plant-based protein and thicken your smoothie at the same time.
Nut butters can be pricey, try making them at home with a food processor. A tablespoon or two of nut butter is enough to cream-ify your smoothie.
13. Gluten-free flours
Use gluten-free flours like chickpea, coconut, almond, rice, tapioca or amaranth flour to add creaminess, fiber and plant-based protein to your smoothie.
Just one tablespoon of any gluten-free flour is enough, like in this strawberry banana smoothie.
14. Rolled oats
Rolled oats will make your smoothie thicker because of their soluble fiber. It’s perfect for a breakfast smoothie like this one.
Quinoa is the ultimate ingredient to make a meal replacement smoothie that is plant-based and delicious. It's a complete protein and its texture is perfect to thicken up your smoothie without dairy or bananas.
Add ¾ to 1 cup of cooked quinoa to your blender along with fruits and veggies, like in this creamy quinoa, kale and almond milk smoothie.
16. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is a source of soluble fiber that is sold in a powder or pre-ground. It’s excellent at thickening because it absorbs water to create bulk.
Use no more than ½ to 1 teaspoon of it for 8 ounces (1 cup) of water because it’s really powerful.
Jams can be used to sweeten and to thicken smoothies. A single spoonful of strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, pineapple, peach or apricot jam does the trick.
Bonus points if you make homemade jam, because then you have full control over its sweetness. Try this simple strawberry smoothie.
Are you inspired to blend away a deliciously creamy smoothie now?
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