I am excited to have my friend, Lindsey, guest posting for us today. We were friends in college and thanks to our husbands being best-buddies we have kept in touch since then as well. When my husband and I visited our friends in Chicago they expanded our culinary horizons with unique restaurants and quirky home cooked food that I had never had. Seriously, I had never known there were so many ways to make pita bread taste delicious. I love that Lindsey is experiential with foods and flavors and am happy to reap the benefits of her culinary adventures. – Polly
During a summer internship in New York, I went to a Jamba Juice for the first time. I fell in love, and as usual when I fall in love with something outside of my day-to-day budget, I immediately went about trying to re-create that experience at home. And my first attempt—a handful of frozen “mixed berries,” ice, and some milk—perhaps unsurprisingly didn’t achieve the delicious flavor or texture I remembered.
Over the years, I would learn that a smoothie is all about balance. The perfect smoothie is not juicy or icy, but creamy and thick. It isn’t dessert-sweet, but highlights the natural sweetness of fruit balanced by a bit of tartness. And rather than a “medley,” which forces your strawberry to fight with a raspberry, blueberry, or mango for flavor prominence, smoothies are best when they put just one star in the spotlight. Then you can surround it by a supporting cast for complexity and nutrition. Say, frozen bananas for creamy texture. A handful of nuts and pinch of salt. Half an avocado and some fresh kale. A carrot or two and some coconut milk. After making hundreds—maybe even a thousand—smoothies, I can say that the possibilities for harmony are literally endless.
These three smoothies celebrate summer by putting seasonal fruits in the spotlight. They’re accompanied by unique flavors that also pump up the healthiness factor. I hope you like having them as a part of your breakfast rotation as much as I have. Enjoy!
A few notes to start us off:
- I add at least half of a frozen extremely ripe banana to all of my smoothies. Not only does it make the perfect creamy texture without overpowering flavor, it also adds natural, sugar-free sweetness. Just buy a few bunches, let them turn brown and spotty, slice them up, and freeze until you need them.
- If a farmers market is available in your area, I definitely recommend local produce when it’s in season. It’s amazing how much more powerful the flavor of a piece of fruit is just after picking. (As opposed to being kept in cold storage for days or weeks, as is typical for grocery store produce.)
- If you use frozen fruit where I call for fresh, that works fine! Just nix the ice cubes and keep a little extra liquid handy.
THE SUMMER PEACH SMOOTHIE
Instead of making pie of those leftover peaches—the ones so soft and ripe they make your kitchen smell like an orchard as they go about collapsing under their own weight—try this spiced late-summer smoothie instead.
The flax seeds add a toasty, nutty background—and vegetarian omega-3s—to this peaches ‘n almond cream-style shake. Rolled oats bring on the fiber and protein, while turmeric and ginger lend pie-spice flavor along with fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. I try to avoid sweetened almond butter and almond milk at the grocery store; they’re both packed with surprising amounts of sugar. A super-ripe peach and banana should be all the natural sweetness you need; and if not, a little teaspoon of honey or maple syrup goes a long way.
Get the Summer Peach Smoothie Recipe HERE.
THE GREEN PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
If you love super-bright, refreshing, tropical flavors, this one is absolutely made with you in mind. With juicy pineapple, tart lime, and a few sprigs of fresh mint, there’s far more summer sunshine in this glass than the spinach-green color lets on.
I love the sweet, slightly nutty flavor of coconut water, and a bit of extra-virgin coconut oil adds gorgeous coconut fragrance without the heaviness of canned coconut milk. If you can’t find coconut water at your grocery store—I find mine on the same shelves as the bottled or boxed juice, plant milk, and other shelf-stable beverages—try diluting half a cup of canned full-fat coconut milk with water.
Last but not least, I’m always looking for ways to add a little extra protein. If you want a boost, you can go with a neutral-tasting protein powder (I like Sunwarrior Natural), but I like the slightly grassy flavor of hemp seeds with this flavor combination.
Get the Green Pineapple Smoothie Recipe HERE.
THE RASPBERRY COCOA SMOOTHIE
This is a truly healthy option for you chocolate lovers out there. As one among you, I adore this smoothie. I love this gorgeous reddish earthy hue, which tells you exactly what you’re about to taste: raspberry-forward, followed by dark chocolate enhanced with a pinch of salt. Because the avocado lends the smoothie a thick, creamy texture, you’ll want to grab a spoon. It’s not dessert for breakfast, but it’s close enough.
If you can’t find a bag of frozen raspberries, strawberries are a great substitute. Rich, caramel-like, and potassium-packed, Medjool dates are my favorite add-in for sweetness. Although they might be a little harder to keep on hand than honey or agave nectar, I can find them at Costco.
Get the Raspberry Cocoa Smoothie Recipe HERE.
About the Author
Lindsey Howald Patton is a food, architecture, history, and art writer based in Chicago. When not accidentally leaning in way too close to the paintings, she tinkers with gluten- and dairy-free recipes at home and blogs about them over on At Burning Degrees.