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Delicious, Healthy, and Creamy Green Smoothie Recipes Without Bananas

Updated on April 5, 2017
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Are you looking for green smoothie recipes that do not have bananas? Whether you've just gotten on a smoothie kick, or you've been drinking smoothies for years, it most likely did not take you very long to figure out that it's hard to find smoothie recipes without bananas. Whether you are avoiding bananas because of their high glycemic index, cutting hybrid fruit out of your diet, or you simply don't like the flavor and/or texture of bananas, it can be a frustrating process to find recipes that you can use. The good news is that there are recipes out there as well as a lot of great tips for making substitutions and building your own concoctions from scratch. You'll still be able to enjoy healthy, gluten-free, and vegan drinks without any unwanted ingredients. Enjoy!

Please note that I did not write this article because I wanted to debate the health benefits of bananas. Personally, I simply don't like the flavor or smell and consequently have spent a lot of time researching this topic. It is completely up to you whether you do or do not eat them and why you make those choices. Thanks!

Tip: Another reason that bananas are so popular is that they are readily available year round at affordable prices in many areas of the country. Don't be afraid to use frozen fruit in smoothies, as it is still very nutritious and it allows for the option to use fruits that are only available fresh for a few months of the year.

Substitutions

One reason that bananas are such a popular smoothie ingredient is because they create a desirable creamy texture and/or flavor. If you are going to substitute other fruit, look for fruits that are not rich in water. Mangoes, apples, pears, papayas, peaches, and nectarines are all great options. You can choose a single fruit or experiment with different combinations. You can also pair fresh young coconut with any of these fruits.

Many people also substitute avocado for banana. It may sound like a weird choice, but the flavor blends in seamlessly for many smoothie recipes. You won't feel like you're drinking guacamole. The general rule of thumb is that 1/4 of an avocado can be substituted for one banana.

Finally, some people substitute silken tofu, which also sounds odd but doesn't affect the smoothie flavor. If you keep tofu on hand for cooking, this is a natural choice. Keep in mind that both avocado and tofu can make smoothies less sweet. If you don't like this less sweet flavor, add some natural sweetener, such as honey, to compensate.

Fresh or frozen blueberries are a great substitution in many green smoothies.
Fresh or frozen blueberries are a great substitution in many green smoothies. | Source

Masking the Flavor

If you are steering clear of bananas in blended drinks purely because of the flavor, you can try masking it with other fruits. Consider pairing it with strong flavors, including pineapple, strawberries, peaches, kiwi, and berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries). For recipes that call for two bananas, simply substitute one banana for another fruit. You may have to experiment with the quantities to find a combination that suits your personal preferences for taste and consistency.

Adding a little fruit juice with a strong flavor can also help mask the flavor. Orange juice is a widely used juice, as so many people keep it on hand. If you add orange juice, subtract other liquid (i.e. water, milk) accordingly.

Strong spices, such as ginger, and chocolate are also popular substitutions. Chocolate may not seem like the healthiest smoothie ingredient, but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. A couple teaspoons or a tablespoon of cocoa powder at most is all you'll need for a 1-2 serving recipe.

Green Smoothie Tips!: Farmer's Market Haul

General Tips

  • In order to maintain desirable creamy flavor, you must make some sort of substitution. You cannot simply leave out banana and hope for the best. It can take some trial and error to find the right flavor and texture, but it is well worth the effort.
  • It can be overwhelming making recipes from scratch, especially if you're brand new to green smoothies. Start making substitutions and alternations for recipes that you find online. Over time you'll learn how to make your own adaptations with success.
  • There are also a lot of free guidelines available online with ratios for green, fruit, and other add-ins. Instead of winging it and assume that things will go all right, use these suggestions to get you started.
  • Layer your ingredients in the blender or other container of your choosing with fruit on the bottom and green on the top, adding the liquid and add-ins last for optimal blending.

Immersion Blender

Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Stainless Steel
Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Stainless Steel

I use this immersion blender model to make my green smoothies, and I really cannot say enough good things about it. It's durable, affordable, and easy to use.

 
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Putting It All Together

There are four basic components for a green smoothie: green base, fruit, liquid, and add-ins. As you get comfortable making your own smoothies, you'll learn what proportions and ingredients you prefer.

Green Base Ingredients

The two most widely used green ingredients are spinach and kale. When used with the right ingredients, cilantro and mixed greens can work well, too. While frozen fruit is always okay in smoothies, fresh greens are mandatory. Many people select baby spinach leaves or Dino or Tuscan kale varieties because they have milder flavors. While you may have no problem with regular spinach and stronger kale varieties, be mindful of the different options.

Green Smoothie Recipe (High Fiber)

Popular Green Smoothie Fruit Pairings Without Banana
Mango / Peach
Mango / Pineapple
Apple / Blueberry
Kiwi / Strawberry

Fruit Ingredients

As previously mentioned, if you're going to use banana in combination with other fruits to mask the flavor, choose fruits with strong flavors. In general, it is best to steer clear of fruits that have high water content, such as oranges, because they significantly affect the consistency. There are few very other fruits that do not work in smoothies. Peaches, mango, and berries are just a few of the most widely used options.

Keep in mind that using yellow and/or orange fruits almost guarantees that a green smoothie stays green. Adding fruits with other colors (i.e strawberries, blueberries) tend to make the smoothie more brown. The taste may be just as desirable, but some people find the color off-putting.

Liquid Ingredients

  • Water: Filtered water, coconut water.
  • Fresh-squeezed or store-bought juices: Look for compatible flavors with favorite greens and fruits.
  • Regular, lactose-free, or nut milks: Soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are readily available in stores. You can also make your own nut milk using additional nuts such as cashews and pistachios.

Glowing Green Smoothie : Vitamix Channel

Other Add-In Options

  • Spices/seasonings: Ginger, vanilla bean, clove, cinnamon, shredded coconut, extracts (i.e. vanilla, orange, lemon).
  • Seeds: Flax, sunflower seeds, hemp, salba, goji berries, spirulina, chia seeds.
  • Infusion/protein powder: Whey protein, wheat germ, matcha. There are a number of protein and smoothie powder lines, such as the Vega's Shake & Go line.

Also, as previously mentioned, chocolate / cocoa powder is also a great add-in choice.

© 2014 Rose Clearfield

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    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Useful and informative hub about smoothies with helpful suggestions. Thank you for sharing.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Vellur! Glad to hear it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up and Useful. Thank you for these very good tips. I love bananas in my smoothie, but not everyone in my household does. This is very helpful.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great to hear, MsDora! Thanks!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC

      This is a great Hub. I've only just started experimenting with smoothies. Thanks for the helpful information.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Suzie! Best of luck to you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I have to say that I love smoothies with bananas, but I don't always have them on hand so these are some great ideas for those times. And as for an immersion blender, well I think that is one of the greatest kitchen inventions ever!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Glimmer Twin Fan, I'm glad that these suggestions are still helpful! It's good to have back up options. I agree with you about the immersion blender!

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

      Jamie Jensen 3 years ago from Chicago

      What an informative hub! This is the first I'm hearing anything negative about bananas (besides personal preference, of course), but I'm glad there are so many alternatives. I think -though I actually love bananas- I would prefer not to have them in my smoothies. I really need to get a smoothie blender because they can be so delicious and healthy for my family and I!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Jamie! From everything that I write about bananas while researching for this article, the negatives are very insignificant. The most important thing to remember about eating any kind of food is moderation. Bananas are a great source of nutrition, but you should also mix up your fruit intake.

      You should think about getting an immersion blender. They're very affordable (mine is stainless steel and only cost me $30, the same model sells for about $40 these days) and are awesome for smoothies and so many other recipes as well including soups, sauces, and baby food.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 3 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Raw beets taste good.Much better than cooked in my opinion.

      Mixed with blueberries , raspberries or other berries is very good with watermelon.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Good to know, someonewhoknows! Thanks!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I'm with you. Although I like bananas, only the light greener ones are acceptable with me. They have little flavor but have lost their bitterness that comes with being too green. It's good to know there are good alternatives. Thanks for the ideas.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      FlourishAnyway, it's good to know that I'm not alone! I'm glad that alternative ideas are helpful for you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another great recipe to save and vote up of course. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Eddy! I really appreciate it.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks so much for sharing recipes that don't have bananas. For some reason, bananas have a tendency to give me leg cramps. I definitely will be trying some of these smoothies.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm glad that this article is useful for you, PegCole! Enjoy!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 3 years ago from United States

      Thanks for sharing!! I can't stand the smell or taste of bananas, so I've been avoiding many smoothie recipes due to them. I forgot about using avocado instead.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Marissa, I'm so glad that this article is helpful for you!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I love green smoothies and I do normally use bananas, but I will certainly try the other fruits you've mentioned. These recipes look wonderful.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Careermommy, I'm glad that these suggestions are still helpful for you! Enjoy. :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      I have not made green smoothies, yet. I would like to try this and some other suggestions you have. Thanks for sharing this awesome and healthy recipe. Voted up and shared.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thelma, I hope that you do get to try green smoothies soon! Enjoy the recipes.

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 3 years ago from California

      This is great! I have a two clients who don't like bananas either. Wonderful hub. Thanks!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Turtlewoman! That's great. I'm sure that they will appreciate these recipes.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Last night I was wondering if there was a substitute for bananas and then was happy to come across your hub. I grow kale, so I like to use kale as my green ingredient. I like your banana substitute suggestions a lot.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, MarleneB! Enjoy!

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 3 years ago from New York

      That looks good. I also make green smoothies with celery, spinach, green apples. Your hub is very useful for anyone who jumps into making or drinking green smoothies.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, hotwebideas! I appreciate the additional suggestions for green smoothie ingredients.

    • Sumi-Main profile image

      Sumi 23 months ago from India

      Nice and useful

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Rose. Very informative and detailed on how to make smoothies with different combos to get the most of the health benefits out of it.

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