8 Ways to Strange Your Smoothie


Smoothies are the perfect breakfast. Not only do they taste like dessert (for breakfast!), they’re as healthy as can be – all that good fibrous pulp combined with just-released vitamins and minerals that haven’t had the time to oxidize. And making them is easy. My only gripe is the noise: I should probably invest in a Krups near-silent model before my housemates vote to have me evicted.

Variety is the key to a happy relationship. So when you can’t even look at another apple, here are a few more unusual ingredients to play around with.

-Frozen fruit. Ever tried leaving grapes in the freezer? They become crunchy sorbet. Grind them into a smoothie and drink quick in the middle of a baking summer’s day. Then wonder if it works with other fruit. (Yes, it does).

-Organic milk and yogurt. You’re probably way ahead of me, but it surprised me how many recipes don’t cream their smoothies up. If you’re non-dairy, soy milk is just as good (better, in my opinion).

-Vegetables. Carrots add a rich tang and are as good as apples for providing a base flavor. Against all the odds, broccoli is great in the mix, fresh and thickening. Cucumbers and tomatoes (technically fruit) are mostly water anyway, perfect for diluting a mix. Cabbage? Erm, that’s my line in the sand.

-Herbs and spices. Want to add some summery zing to your carroty drink? A scrunch of chopped parsley will do nicely. Cinnamon makes for a smoky undercurrent of taste – cayenne pepper is a spike of fire, lifting a blander mix into the realm of Wow. If you’re really bold, try a pinch of chilli powder.

-Nuts and dried fruit. Grind them in a mortar or chop before adding if you don’t want the final inch of your smoothie to be like fruit cake.

-Spreads and preserves. The latter are just fruit and sugar anyway, but…spreads? A spoonful of organic peanut butter, a banana, a little almond butter – and I’m in a different, better world.

-Chocolate, ice cream, coffee, espresso beans. When is a smoothie not a milkshake? I’m no philosopher, so I’ll try adding a lump of high-cocoa chocolate to any mix. The trick here is to play around between two extremes – sweet and savory. Experiment, challenge your taste buds a little. Add an espresso to a banana-based mix. A scoop of low-fat or no-sugar-added ice cream transforms carrot juice. Explore.

-Candy. Here in England there’s a shop that makes milkshakes by blending popular candy bars with ice-cream and milk. Delicious, decadent – ridiculously unhealthy. But in moderation, a tiny bit of candy bar can work wonders – say, a square of Kinder Bueno for a nutty aftertaste. Be a little bit bad, and you may end up with something better than good!

Image: sonicwalker

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Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.