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!
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