As many of you know, I live in Australia, and last year there were massive crazy floods in the areas where most of the country’s bananas are grown. So amongst other things, the price of bananas went, well, a little bananas for a while. During that time, to save money, our household didn’t eat bananas as a snack like we might otherwise do, but we couldn’t resist buying them occasionally to put in our smoothies.
Now, perfectionist-procrastinator me wondered for a long time how to make banana smoothies at home, until one day I had some leftover banana after making banana pikelets (otherwise known as drop scones or mini pancakes), and we all felt like drinking some chocolate milk smoothie, so I threw the rest of the banana in with the smoothie, and lo and behold, chocolate banana smoothie!
Once I worked out that there was actually no magic to this, (except that you do need a blender or food processor – I use an ancient old blender from the 70’s that is still going, but I lust after a Vitamix), I was off and away making all flavours of banana smoothies at home for my family.
Here I’ll share with you my four favourite recipes, all keeping in mind the ideals of Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A Price foundation guidelines for nutrition.
You’ll see that all the recipes allow for the addition of some sort of complex-carbohydrate buffer, rather than just being banana+liquid. This is because bananas, although full of healthy nutrients, are also a high-GI food, meaning that the sugar in them causes a blood sugar spike in your body. Adding a complex carbohydrate (or in the case of the green smoothie, lots of natural fibre), helps to buffer that jolting spike in blood sugar.
1. Chocolate banana smoothie made with raw milk and raw cacao
…raw and wholesome chocolate
This is a delicious and adaptable smoothie which takes no time at all to make, and is a good way for people who are averse to the taste of plain milk, to still consume raw milk for all its benefits. If you can’t get raw milk, you could choose grassfed milk, organic milk or unhomogenised milk as a second, but still good, choice. Raw cacao is both yummy and wholesome – it’s the raw version of cocoa powder.
- Take one banana per 2 cups of raw milk.
- Because the banana makes for such a good sweetener in itself, we don’t find it necessary to add more sweetener, but if you do, add a touch of rapadura sugar, maple syrup, or other natural sweetener of your choice.
- Add one tablespoon of raw cacao, or plain cocoa powder if that’s all you have, per cup of milk.
- Throw all of these ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.
- I often add ground chia seeds or cooked soaked oats to add some complex carbs.
- You can also add a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil if you like, which make this smoothie an all-round meal in a hurry! And so chocolatey and yummy.
2. Banana, beetroot, berries and yoghurt or milk kefir smoothie
I stumbled upon this unexpected but delightful smoothie combination one evening when I was trying to work out what to do with some milk kefir I had ready. Usually I bake with milk kefir because I don’t like to drink it straight like some people do, but I wasn’t planning to bake the next day. I decided to try making a milk kefir and berry smoothie, sweetening it with some banana. And, since I had roasted some beetroots that day and was just about to put them in a container in the fridge, I threw one in on impulse. Blended the lot with a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil, and discovered my new favourite use for milk kefir! This smoothie comes out slightly fizzy and tangy but with a smoothness and sweetness added by the banana. By the way, you can use over-fermented milk kefir for this recipe – it doesn’t matter if it’s separated a little. And for those without milk kefir on the go, you can use yogurt in place of it. Here’s how I make natural yoghurt at home.
- Take one banana per 2 cups milk kefir. (If you don’t have any milk kefir, then substitute 1 cup yoghurt and 1 cup raw milk.)
- Add half a cup of berries per 2 cups milk kefir.
- Add 1 roasted or tinned beetroot.
- Add a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil.
- Blend together until smooth. Add extra milk kefir or raw milk if necessary to make a pouring consistency.
- Drink and enjoy the crazy purple colour!
3. Green smoothie with banana, avocado and greens
Green smoothies were popularised by Victoria Boutenko, not Weston A Price (WAP) or Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions fame, but I personally believe they have a valuable place in a modern diet based on ancient nutrition. Both Victoria Boutenko (see Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko) and WAP/Sally Fallon agree that consuming more vegetables and raw greens is a good thing – although I disagree with the premises that Boutenko uses to come to the conclusion that humans ought to be vegan. (Click image at right for Green For Life Victoria Boutenko)
The green smoothie is a modern way to get lots of raw greens into your body without gagging or choking them down. The trick is to blend the greens with some fruit to get a green smoothie tasting of fruit. The result comes out smelling like sweet fresh grass and has a fruity taste. The first of these I consumed was made from a Victoria Boutenko green smoothie recipe from her Green For Life book, and now I just make them up as I go along. Not convinced? You’ll just have to try it once and see what you think. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I find that even kids will consume raw greens in this way, especially if you tell them it’s pond slime or dragon snot or something else suitably gross and humorous. If you’re a green smoothie skeptic, add extra fruit the first few times you make this.
- Take a big bunch of greens – not vegetables. For instance, carrot tops, beetroot (red beet) leaves, lettuce, kale, bok choi, nasturtium leaves, and celery are all greens. Think leafy and watery. Green beans, broad (fava) beans, cabbage heads and broccoli, for example, are vegetables, not greens.
- Chop the greens if necessary; just until they are small enough to put in the chute of your blender.
- Peel 1-2 bananas. If you’re new to this or you have a strong aversion to greens, then go on, add a 3rd banana. Lots of banana isn’t very fitting with Nourishing Traditions guidelines of low sugar consumption, but once or twice it won’t hurt, right?
- Peel or scoop out an avocado. Add it to the blender.
- Pour a cup of water into your blender.
- Add the banana/s and blend it all up.
- Adding the greens last can sometimes help get the avocado and banana blended through more smoothly.
- Pour into glasses and drink! Drinking green smoothies with a straw can make them taste more sweet, and less green, for some reason. Feel effortlessly virtuous – green smoothies are so fresh, sweet and yummy!
4. Smoothie with honey, vanilla, banana, chia seeds and soaked rolled oats
…including a dairy-free option
If you’ve read the last few recipes, you’ll now have a good idea of how to make banana smoothies at home because you’ll see that it’s as simple as putting all the ingredients into a blender and whizzing it up. But you might not have thought of this particular combination which really is quite delicious, so I’ll explain what I put in – you may find, as I do, that the method matters less than the quality and purity of the ingredients you use. If this is the first time you’ve heard of chia seeds, check them out – they’re the best thing since sliced bread (and actually, you can put them in bread, too!)
- Take some raw milk. I do 3 cups and store any leftovers in a jar in the fridge for later. You can substitute coconut milk here if you want to make a dairy-free smoothie.
- Add to blender with 1-3 tablespoons of raw honey. I use less because I like to avoid too much sweetener.
- Add natural vanilla in your chosen form. Vanilla beans are heavenly but not always available. I use natural vanilla essence or extract most of the time. They vary in strength so add enough that you can taste the vanilla.
- Add 1-2 bananas.
- Add 1/2 cup of soaked and cooked rolled oats. I soak oats overnight then cook them lightly to store in the fridge for smoothies. The soaked cooked oats keep for about 5 days in the fridge. Soaking reduces phytic acid and makes the oats more easily digestible. It also makes them smoother to add to a smoothie than just adding dry rolled oats.
- Add a few tablespoons on ground chia seed, if you have it, for added protein and omega-3s.
- Blend together until smooth and then serve in glasses with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a veritable dessert – or an extravagant liquid breakfast. Ooh lah lah…
Now you know how to make banana smoothies at home. So which is *your* favourite recipe?