Smoothies are AMAHZING. Want to make them even better?! Check out these tips for improving flavor and texture – two key smoothie elements (whilst amping the nutrition factor – it’s totally awesome!!)
1) Add lemon for zest
Here’s the good tip – anytime you are making a smoothie of any sort, but especially a fruit smoothie, add a little lemon – like 1/8th to 1/2 (no skin/pith, obvi). This is awesome for two reasons: a) the acid in the lemon really makes the other flavors in the smoothie sharpen up and POP and b) lemon is super alkalinizing and healing. The saying really should be: a lemon a day keeps the doctor away.
2) Roast your nuts/seeds
I was at Trader Joe’s trying to get flax seeds and all they had were ROASTED flax seeds. So I was all, whatever, I’ll take it. Turns out just a teaspoon of these flavor powerhouses adds a nice nutty roasty flavor to my smoothies – a fantastic way to mask the bitterness of greens.
And I’m all for raw nuts and raw nut butters, but try toasting almonds, pecans, walnuts, (how, you ask? Either toast them on a cookie sheet in the oven or in a non-stick skillet) and blend with cocoa powder and a banana. Make sure you have a quality blender – or the nuts/seeds will get stuck and break it. I’ve reviewed Blendtec vs Vitamix blenders, for your reading pleasure. You’ll get a much stronger nutty taste – which means you can use less nuts – although, why would you want to? 😉
3) Microgreens are mild
Greens are the one area where we do not want to amp flavor; we want it to be as subtle as possible. So not to keep talking up TJ’s but they have these little packets of organic microgreens that are awesome. I use these to add green to my smoothie, since their nutritional value is off the charts and I can use less of them to get the same nutritional benefit than bigger greens. Their taste is also mild.
If you can’t find microgreens, the next best thing to use is baby spinach, chard or kale. Baby lettuces can actually be even more bitter than the baby greens I just listed, so be careful! And note – using full size greens means lots more green-y (read: grassy, earthy, bitter, salty, complex) flavor, so only go that route if that’s what you want…like a savory smoothie or a gazpacho variation (post on savory smoothies coming soon – stay tuned!)
4) Add fat for silkiness
Now we’re onto texture game changers. Obviously banana. But, adding a little bit of fat to your smoothie will make it silkier and less likely to separate into icy chunks or what have you. What are “good” fats to add? Nut butters, avocado, coconut cream, or anywhere from a tsp. to a few Tbsps. of really good for you oils like hemp seed oil (my current favorite), EVOO (extra virgin olive oil – have you tried a frozen grape smoothie with EVOO? – it’s divine!), coconut oil for hair growth or nut oils. You can even try grass-fed butter, taking a page out of the Bulletproof Coffee people’s book.
5) Spices FTW
Spices are a solid way to switch things up or take things to the next level flava-wise, plus they are healing powerhouses – cinnamon for example has been shown to help regulate blood sugar and prevent Alzheimers! The best way to make sure these suggestions work is to blend them with complementary ingredients – which I will list. 🙂
Here are a few things to try:
- Add green tea powder, offsetting the bitterness of it with creamy ingredients and honey or stevia.
- Add Dandyblend, which is a roasty-flavored dandelion root powder if you’re trying to go the cocoa/espresso-esque route, again balancing the strength of it with creamy + sweet ingredients.
- You can also try cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cardamon – these are all spices you’d find in french toast or granola, so plan your other ingredients accordingly – you can’t go wrong with banana or coconut cream. This will give your smoothie a chai-like taste.
- A little fresh ginger is amazing in a fruit smoothie, as is a tiny bit of fresh basil or mint – be careful here, only adding a leeettle, cause when you pulverize these flavor powerhouses, they become super potent.