Seven Steps to a Perfect Smoothiejennifer@bigplatesupply.com
Ever wondered to how to make your own delicious, healthy smoothie at home? Want to know which blender we suggest you use? (Spoiler alert: our recommendation is NOT the most expensive smoothie maker on the market!) Have you been confused about whether or not to use crushed ice in your smoothie? We will answer all your smoothie questions in this blog post! Making a smoothie is truly as simple as tossing ingredients in a blender and letting it rip, but we want to make sure you succeed every time, so we’ve written out our exact process. This method is completely customizable, so complete each step with the ingredients YOU prefer, and even leave out up to five of the steps that you don’t like or don’t have the ingredients for. Smoothies are very forgiving and can be as simple or complex as you want to make them.
Step 1. Add liquid to your blender.
This step is essential, but you have lots of options, depending on your taste preferences and dietary needs. Nut milk, dairy, fruit juice (orange, cranberry, apple, lemon, pineapple, etc.), coffee, coconut water, or even just water are all good options. The recommended amount is about 1 ¼ cups. Make sure you add your liquid FIRST, as it helps the blender blades do a thorough job.
Step 2. Add in any fibrous foods.
If you want to include spinach, okra, cauliflower, zucchini, chard, carrots, beets, kale, fennel, oats, etc., this is the time to toss it in. The key to getting all the fiber and nutrition of these foods into a smoothie without ruining the flavor is to get a really fine blend. For some reason, if the texture is undetectable, the flavor mostly is, too! The recommended amount is about ½ cup. Omit this step if you want.
Step 3. Add in your frozen fruits (or veggies).
It’s easy to always keep a frozen banana on hand for smoothie making, but any frozen fruit works! We love mango, all the berries, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, oranges, watermelon, grapes, and peaches. Some people like ice, but we prefer frozen fruit so your smoothie doesn’t get watered down. You can buy frozen fruit, or you can freeze your own. Tip: freeze cut up fruit in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer the frozen pieces to a container and easily remove only the amount you need at a time. Freezing your own is a great way to keep from wasting fruit that’s about to go bad! Aim for your total fruit volume to be about 3 cups (this will include fruit from step 4). If you do choose to use ice, we recommend using crushed ice just to make it easier on your blender. You can skip this step as long as you include step 4.
Step 4. Add any canned, fresh, or dehydrated fruits you’d like to use.
Here is where you’ll toss in fresh strawberries, fresh or canned pineapple, pitted dates, canned pears, fresh or candied ginger, fresh mango, preserved lemons, etc. Aim for your total fruit volume to be about 3 cups (this will include fruit from step 3). You can skip this step IF you include step 3.
Step 5. Add a creamy element.
Bananas give smoothies a nice creaminess, but other options are yogurt, any nut butter, cooked sweet potato, kefir, coconut oil, cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, seamoss gel, or half an avocado (click here to see how to store the avocado’s other half). The recommended amount is about ½ cup (unless you use coconut oil—add way less of that). Omit this step if you want.
Step 6. Top it off with your favorite nutrition and flavor mix-ins.
Add protein powder, flax, hemp seeds, peanut powder, collagen, chia seeds, fresh mint, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lemon zest, cacao powder, vanilla or other extracts—whatever you’d like to boost the nutrition and/or flavor of the smoothie. The recommended amount is really going to depend on what you add in. For extracts, start with ¼ teaspoon. For spices, start with a dash (click here if you’re wondering how much a dash is). In general, check the packaging and add one serving of whatever ingredient you’re adding. Skip this step if you so choose.
Step 7. Add the sweetener of your choice.
You often won’t need any sweetener in a smoothie because the fruit adds so much natural sweetness, but if you want it sweeter, there’s always sugar. You can also try honey, maple syrup, agave, or stevia. Add these ingredients to taste. Feel free to omit this step.
Blend away! Start the blender on low and then slowly ramp up to full speed. This makes sure everything is mixed well and the blades don’t get stuck. Blend until the smoothie looks silky, then pour and enjoy immediately.
As promised, we have a blender recommendation. Everyone talks about a Vitamix, but at a $400+ price tag, this is just not a practical option for most folks. We love the Cuisinart Velocity Blender. Its premium ultra-sharp stainless steel blade assembly and one horsepower motor are more than up to the task of crushing ice, pureeing fibrous fruits and veggies, and producing silky smoothies. At less than $100, this blender is much more affordable while still being heavy duty and built to last, even with lots of use.
Smoothie Flavor Inspiration:
Tropical: coconut milk, pineapple juice, banana, pineapple, mango, yogurt
Chocolate Peanut Butter: milk, peanut butter, okra, pitted dates, banana, cocoa or cacao powder
Orange Cream: orange juice, orange, carrots, yogurt
Red: almond milk, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, beets, vanilla, yogurt
Antioxidant Rich: pomegranate or cranberry juice, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, vanilla, yogurt
Green: orange juice, kiwi, avocado, spinach, vanilla, yogurt
Strawberry Banana: milk, strawberries, banana, strawberry banana yogurt
Citrus Ginger: orange juice, ginger, pineapple, spinach, lemon juice & zest, yogurt
PBnJ: almond milk, strawberries, peanut butter, vanilla, yogurt
Mocha: coffee, banana, okra, cocoa powder, vanilla, yogurt
Key Lime Pie: lime juice, banana, yogurt, vanilla, honey
You can keep your smoothie in the fridge for a day or so, but if you used frozen fruit or ice, it will lose that “frosty” consistency. You can keep your smoothie in the freezer, but you’ll have to leave it out to thaw for a while before consuming it. For more tips on storing your smoothie, click here.
A handy tip is to pre-package your smoothies. Combine the frozen fruits you desire in the right proportions in small zippered bags in the freezer. You can even pre-blend your fruit and freeze it in portion control containers to add to your smoothie later. You can also pre-portion your dry mix-ins. This just helps streamline the smoothie making process for busy mornings or hectic schedules.
Let us know YOUR favorite smoothie recipe, and happy blending!