Easy ingredients to make your smoothies nutritious and delicious

by admin on September 8, 2008 · 8 comments

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Cassie over at Veggie Meal Plans was saying just the other day that she had got into a bit of a smoothie rut.  The basic fruit and yogurt smoothie recipe we talked about last week is great but like Cassie, I’m always on the look out for inspired ideas to make my smoothies that little bit more tempting. Today’s post is list of easy additions to make your smoothies nutritious and gorgeous, as well as a recipe for a particularly fine nectarine and raspberry frozen yogurt smoothie.

Moo Moos is an immensely popular milkshake joint in Oxford’s historic covered market.  Their milkshake repertoire is astounding; if it’s sweet, they can turn it into a milkshake.   You should see their menu, which goes all the way through the confectionary lexicon from Snickers, Kit Kat and Cream Egg milkshakes to the more biscuity Jammy Dodger and Oreo versions.  The mind boggles at some of the suggestions; lemon drizzle cake milkshake anyone?  The milkshakes aren’t really my thing; the real draw for me is the fruit smoothies or more specifically, the peach and raspberry smoothie. In the absence of any figs on my fig tree this year I’ve made myself busy perfecting my own take Moo Moos’ peach and raspberry smoothie.  It turns out that making a thick, frozen yogurt style smoothie is a cinch; just put the yogurt in the freezer for an hour before you want your drink (I know, what took me so long to figure that one out).  My version uses nectarines instead of peaches (good peaches are hard to come by in the UK) which are still a match made in heaven for raspberries. A drop of orange flower water adds a lovely floral scent and somehow makes the smoothie feel like more of a grown-up drink.

There are many, many other ingredients that you can add to smoothies to get you out of a smoothie rut:

Good things to add to smoothies that don’t add calories

  • I’m all for a bit of floral honey to pep up lacklustre fruit but spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract can all create an illusion of sweetness without adding calories
  • Orange flower water and rosewater give a decadent floral scent, as in today’s recipe and my fig and rosewater smoothie
  • A squeeze of lemon or lime juice can really make those fruit flavours pop
  • Kathryn from Limes and Lycopene intriguingly suggests a slosh of cold herbal tea such as peppermint or rooibos
  • For a touch of warmth and spice add grated ginger or even a touch of fresh chilli. I suspect lemongrass would be good too, but it is probably best put through the juicer rather than the blender.
  • Unsweetened pumpkin puree is useful as very low calorie thickener
  • Garden herbs such as mint, basil and lemon verbena all add welcome freshness

Good things to add to smoothies that provide nutritious calories

  • Adding spoonful of nut butter provides flavour, texture and beneficial fats (I like homemade almond butter best).
  • A palmful of oats such as in this rhubarb and ginger thickie provide all of the health benefits of wholegrains and a particularly good helping of soluble fibre. Theoretically any wholegrains that are suitable for eating raw will work in a smoothie (I’d love to hear what you guys have tried out!).  A very easily available choice is wheat bran, a great source of fibre for many people (a little too irritating to the gut for some).
  • Avocado blends beautifully and works just fine in a fruity smoothie, providing monounsaturated fats and vitamin E.
  • As we talked about last week, milk and yogurt (cows, goats, soy, rice etc) are a great way to add calcium, plus the fat in the milk will help to slow the absorption of the natural sugars in the fruit, reducing the overall GI of the recipe. For a change of texture freeze the yogurt beforehand.
  • Hemp oil or ground hemp seeds are one of the best ways to boost any dish with a vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids, as well as providing the powerful anti-oxidant, Vitamin E.
  • Dried fruit, soaked to soften, provide texture, sweetness, fibre, energy and minerals.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully you will have found one or two new ideas in there to get you blending again!  I’d love to hear about it via the comments if you have your own favourite smoothie additions.

raspberry nectarine smoothie

Recipe for Nectarine and raspberry frozen yogurt smoothie

Note: If you are trying to impress, keep a couple of the raspberries back to use as a garnish (because the smoothie is so thick, the fruit will sit on the top rather than sinking)

Makes enough for two

1 cup yogurt, frozen for about an hour
1 cup raspberries
2 ripe nectarines, stone removed
1 tbsp orange flower water
1 tsp floral honey

One to two hours before you want to eat, put your yogurt into the freezer to thicken.

When you are ready to eat, get all of your other ingredients together and the fruit washed and prepared.

Remove the yogurt from the freezer and blend all of your ingredients together. 

Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

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