The vast majority of green smoothie recipes call for bananas because they provide the perfect creaminess, texture and natural sweetener. But what if you don’t like banana? Whether it’s the flavor, the high glycemic index or if you’re cutting hybrid fruit out of your diet, here are some tips for making vegan green smoothies without banana.
Choose A Different Base Fruit
Bananas aren’t the only fruit that provide a creamy green smoothie texture. Any fruit that is not water-rich (like oranges or grapes) will make a creamy, flavorful smoothie. Try mangoes, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pear, apple and even durian. (Click on the above links for lots of non-banana smoothie recipes!)
Fresh young coconut works well with any fruit to add creaminess and texture to a green smoothie. You can also thicken smoothies with avocado. Add up to 1/4 of an avocado to a smoothie recipes and you’ll get a smoothie that is as thick and creamy as any made with banana.
Banana-Free Green Smoothie Recipes
Peach-Strawberry-Vanilla Green Smoothie Recipe with Pistachio Milk
This is a delicious, banana-free green smoothie for the spring or summer. I used fresh, organic strawberries and peaches, accented the flavor with vanilla bean and homemade pistachio nut milk.
Peaches are one of my favorite fruits. Toward late spring, I eagerly await their arrival in local fruit markets. I often cut them up and eat them before they actually end up in my green smoothies. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, lycopene and lutein. Research shows that lycopene and lutein may help prevent heart disease, macular degeneration and certain cancers.
The strawberries, carrot and dandelion greens are loaded with antioxidants. Dandelion greens are also a great source of protein, iron and calcium. They are one of my favorite greens to add a green smoothie.
- 3 medium peaches, pitted
- 13 medium strawberries
- The vanilla from one vanilla bean (How to use vanilla bean.)
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 3 cups dandelion greens, chopped
- 8 ounces homemade pistachio milk
Calories: 329 | Fat: 3g | Protein: 11g | Carbohydrates: 77g | Calcium: 32% | Iron: 7.1mg | Vitamin A: 216% | Vitamin C: 245%
Chocolate-Nectarine Green Smoothie Recipe
I love nectarines! Especially when they are extremely ripe and juicy. The next best thing to eating them as is is blending them in a delicious green smoothie!
You’ll notice there is 1/2 teaspoon of dulse fakes in this recipe. Dulse is a type of sea vegetable, and it is an exceptional source of iodine. Iodine is crucial for thyroid function. It is important for you to incorporate iodine into your diet – especially if you do not consume iodized salts. One of the best sources of iodine is sea vegetables (particularly kelp and dulse).
One teaspoon of dulse flakes contains 110% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine, and it won’t make your smoothie “salty” or “fishy”. If you don’t can’t find dulse flakes, it is okay to leave them out, just make sure you have another source of iodine in your diet.
- 1 cup raspberries
- 2 nectarines, pitted
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dulse flakes (optional)
- 3 cups of escarole lettuce, chopped (or other leafy green)
- 8 ounces almond milk
Calories: 307 | Fat: 3g | Protein: 9g | Carbohydrates: 77g | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 3.4mg | Vitamin A: 189% | Vitamin C: 80%
Mask It With Flavor
The best thing about bananas are that they are always in season (unlike mangoes, peaches, nectarines, apples and pear). They are also readily available (unlike durian).
If you do not want to use bananas because of the flavor alone, try masking the banana flavor with strawberries, raspberries, peaches, pineapple, kiwi or other flavorful fruit.
Using spices like ginger or even chocolate (cacao) will turn a banana green smoothie into a rich, dark chocolate smoothie. I have made lots of smoothies with banana that didn’t taste like a banana smoothie!
Should You Avoid Eating Bananas?
Okay, so I’m going to briefly defend bananas because they do get an undeserving bad rap.
Too Much Sugar (“They’re Fattening”): Bananas contain natural sugars that are totally different from table sugar or corn syrup. Unlike donuts and cookies, bananas will not make you fat. Yes, they contain fructose and carbohydrates, but they’re the good kind of carbs that help fuel your workouts. And the naturally-occurring sugars in bananas will not expand your waste line, or increase your risk for diabetes.
High Glycemic: The Glycemic Index was introduced in 1981 and was based on a study that measured how foods affect blood sugar response. It is true that bananas are “high glycemic” compared to other fruit, but they are no worse for you than pasta, rice, corn, bread, potato, broad beans and many other foods. High glycemic simply means that the food elevates your blood sugar quicker than other foods.
All foods raise your blood sugar and in healthy, non-diabetic people, this is not a reason for concern at all. In fact, if your overall diet is low in fat, the sugar in fruit isn’t a concern for you either. Foods should not be avoided by healthy people because an expert made a list of foods based on a study that raise blood sugar more than other foods. Sometimes you want to raise your blood sugar quickly, like after working out.
Hybrid Fruit: Sure, bananas are a hybrid fruit. They are missing seeds and cannot reproduce without human intervention. However, hybridization is not the same thing as genetic bio-engineering as is done with genetically modified foods or GMO’s.
There are no known health risks with eating hybrid fruit such as bananas, seedless watermelons, seedless grapes and navel oranges. In fact, hybrid fruits have been around for generations with no documented ill effects.
Bananas are highly nutritious but they aren’t necessary for making thick, creamy green smoothies.