Friday, July 20, 2012

Banana Bread Protein Smoothie (Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free)

This recipe is easy.  Almost too easy to be considered a 'recipe'.  But it has a few distinct characteristics that make it stand out from other banana smoothies.  It has the tell-tale signs of banana bread.  Cinnamon, ripened bananas, walnuts, and a rich and buttery flavor, thanks to the liquid butter flavoring.

I actually made this smoothie in an attempt to cover up the 'earthy' taste and grit of a vegan protein powder, gifted to me by my friend Sarah...and also to use up a plethora of frozen bananas, which originally came from the Saturday morning City Market desert-like heat-infused trip.  (At 5 lbs. for a dollar, I couldn't let those poor bananas caramelize. all alone, in the Kansas City heat!)  Sarah had invited me to do a three-week cleanse, and I had no 'meal replacements' in my house at the time.  So instead of having to invest in the expensive protein powder myself, she was a pal and gave me a small container filled with the organic, good-for-you grit.  And I failed pretty miserably at the cleanse.  But I continued making the smoothies and using the protein powder because it gave me lots of energy and made me feel healthy for at least the first half of the day.  I just pretended the food consumed during the 2nd half of the day never happened.  Nobody saw me.  Therefore, there is no proof of my 'food crimes'.

This smoothie ended up being surprisingly pleasant, despite the healthy dirt I hesitantly added to it.  It was cold, it was very creamy, it was DEFINITELY bursting with the distinct flavor of overly ripe bananas, AND the protein powder was minimally detectable.  And that makes me a happy, healthy girl.

Play with the flavorings and the amounts.  This isn't rocket science.  It's smoothie science.  And anything goes in the kitchen lab.

Banana Bread Smoothie:

  • 1 large, very ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 C. unsweetened almond milk (more as needed)
  • 2 spoonfuls of chilled Coconut Milk/Cream
  • Handful of Raw Walnuts
  • 1 scoop of raw, vegan protein powder (about 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. for me)
  • 1 tsp. organic maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. butter 'extract' (I use Wilton)
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt (do not omit!)

Break up the frozen banana into chunks so that your blender doesn't have to work so hard.
Then add everything else and blend.
I usually pulse the blender a few times to break down the banana and walnuts first.
If you want your smoothie thinner or need to add more liquid, just pour in a little extra almond milk.
You could use heavy whipping cream in place of the coconut cream if you like.  But don't omit it...makes the smoothie super rich and creamy.  :-)
And if you cannot find the butter extract, just leave it out and double the vanilla. 
Don't you dare omit the walnuts...they GIVE this smoothie its unmistaken identity. 


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