Think of a smoothie. Think of bananas. Check out the ingredients of any smoothie recipe, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll find banana on that list. For better of worse, bananas and smoothies are like peanut butter and jelly – they go very well together.
Maybe you’ve run out of bananas or want to try something new. Perhaps you’re allergic to bananas. Maybe you want to cut down on the sugar and calorie content of your smoothies to make lower calorie smoothies. Or you just don’t like the taste, texture or sight of bananas. Maybe you just don’t like yellow? For all of you seeking smoothies without bananas know this. Bananas are convenient, but they’re by no means some sort of magical or essential ingredient to making to making a smoothie awesome.
Bananas are a popular ingredient in green smoothies and fruit smoothies for good reason – or reasons to be precise.
- have a subtle flavor
- add natural sweetness
- are healthy
- add smooth texture
- give a smoothie body (makes it more substantial – less lightweight)
- act as a binder – holding the whole smoothie together.
So yes, bananas and smoothies make great bedfellows, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t make a great smoothie without one. So, we’re giving you the low-down on how to make a smoothie awesome – without bananas.
1. Add oatmeal
To give texture to your banana-less smoothie add finely ground oatmeal to your smoothie. Simply grind oatmeal to a fine powder and add about a quarter cup to your smoothie.
For a creamier texture, add cooked oatmeal instead. This will give your smoothie body, and also make it more filling.
2. Add chia seeds
Chia seeds like banana are an incredible binding agent, and also fantastic for thickening smoothies. Either simply add one tablespoon of chia seeds in with the other smoothie ingredients and blend, or create a smoothie gel.
To make a gel mix some chia seeds with water and leave to thicken, then mix in with smoothie. You can soak the chia seeds overnight, but even 10 minutes will do.
3. Add avocado
Before you baulk at the idea of adding something green to your fruit smoothie, remember that avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable. Another reason not to persecute this pear-shaped fruit is that it’s absolutely blissful in smoothies. Like you smoothies creamy? Then avocado is your friend.
Avocados are the surfer dudes of the fruit world. They’re super mellow. Boasting a very mild taste, they’re virtually undetectable in smoothies. And it’s sublime buttery consistency transforms your smoothie into a creamy delight. It’s that good – especially if you have a predilection for the naughty end of the food spectrum. Also, try freezing them first for a frostier consistency. Simply mash them, put into ice cube trays and place in the freezer.
When it comes to being potassium-rich, bananas enjoy all the fanfare, but actually avocados boast high levels of potassium too. Plus, they’re full of healthy fats. If you’re new to avocados and smoothies, start by adding a ¼ avocado.
4. Add some yogurt
Yogurt is creamy and thick, and comes in all sorts of guises – cows, sheep, lactose-free, soy… There’s even coconut yogurt. So whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, paleo, doing low carb, high protein, or anything else. There’s likely an option for you.
Greek yogurt is worth a special mention as it’s packed with protein and works particularly great with smoothies.
5. Add coconut butter
So if you’ve never heard of this. Don’t hate me. This tasty butter is so good you’ll be eating it straight out of the jar. It’s smooth, creamy and tasty.
Just a tablespoonful makes for a great addition to any smoothie. Because it’s rich in (healthy) fats, it also helps you to stay fuller for longer.
6. Add nut butter
To make up for banana’s smoothness in a fruit smoothie, try adding a tablespoon of nut butter. Almond, peanut, hazelnut, are just a few of the nut butters of there.
Even better if you have the time, why not make your own nut butter?
7. Add silken tofu
Silken tofu is rich in protein, but more importantly has a pretty neutral favor, and adds creamy silkiness to smoothies. If you’re vegan or need to avoid dairy, double bonus.
Silken tofu will thicken and smoothen your smoothie right up and help keep you full for hours.
8. Add extra frozen fruit
If push comes to shove and don’t have anything else to hand, just add in some extra frozen fruit. It will thicken and sweeten the smoothie.
For extra creaminess fleshy fruit works best, such as mango, the meat of a young coconut, or peach.
9. Use a creamy liquid-base
To make up for the creamy texture of banana, use a creamy liquid as your smoothie base. Thin liquids such as water, green tea and coconut water lack texture and creaminess.
So think almond milk, hazelnut milk, coconut milk and rice milk. If you’re on a massive health kick, nut milks are also pretty easy to make yourself.
10. Sweeten up
Lastly, now you’ve sorted out the texture, you need to make up for the sweetness of a ripe banana. Simply, add extra fruit, a little extra honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, some dates, or other sweetener. Try to keep it healthy and avoid sugar or artificial syrups.
Sweetening up your smoothie is, of course, optional. If you’re looking to make a low-calorie smoothie or are reducing your sugar intake, cutting out bananas is a simple way to do it. To add sweetness without calories add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices.
Read more: How to make a smoothie thick
Do you have a favorite way to make your smoothies thick, creamy and smooth, without using banana?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!