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Delicious, Healthy, Creamy Green Smoothie Recipes Without Bananas

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!

Substitutions

One reason that bananas are such a popular smoothie ingredient is that they create a desirable creamy texture and/or flavor.

Fruits That Are Good Bananas Subsitutes

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.

Avocado

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.

Silken Tofu

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.

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.

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

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

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, or 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.

Fruit Juice

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.

Spices and Chocolate

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 of teaspoons or a tablespoon of cocoa powder at most is all you'll need for a 1-2 serving recipe.

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General Tips

  • In order to maintain a 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 another container of your choosing with fruit on the bottom and green on the top, adding the liquid and add-ins last for optimal blending.
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Putting It All Together

There are four basic components for a green smoothie:

  1. Green base
  2. Fruit
  3. Liquid
  4. 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.

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 very few 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.

Popular Green Smoothie Fruit Pairings Without Banana:

  • Mango and Peach
  • Mango and Pineapple
  • Apple and Blueberry
  • Kiwi and Strawberry

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.

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.

Just a Few Great Green Smoothie Recipes Without Bananas

© 2014 Rose Clearfield

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