Andrew Dole, RDN
Everyday Chef, Fruits & Veggies—More Matters
Would it be lazy to say that sometimes drinking my breakfast or a quick snack is just easier? There aren’t always enough hours in the day to get everything done, but I don’t want to let my health and nutrition suffer, so I use fruit and vegetable smoothies as a quick solution.
In the past, I have had really bad luck with frozen smoothie recipes. The consistency was never right, they would get too watery, the ice too chunky, the flavors watered down, or worse they would have too much sugar from using juice in the recipe.
It was a wonderful day when I learned how to solve all these frozen smoothie problems by using frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. Bananas are my favorite because of their thickening power, but any fresh fruit cut into chunks and frozen works wonderfully. Even canned pumpkin as you will see. With summer creeping up and lots of fresh fruits on sale this is a great way to preserve ripe fruit to use later instead of throwing it away. Buying already frozen fruit is even easier and just as healthy.
Pumpkin Pie Anytime Smoothie
Prep 30 minutes
Yield Serves 5
15 ounces Canned Pumpkin
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon, ground
¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1 Cup Favorite Milk or Milk Substitute
1. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin purée with vanilla, honey, and spices. Mix well.
2. Using a 1 ounce scoop, or spoons, portion out the pumpkin mixture onto a plastic wrapped sheet tray.
3. Place the tray of pumpkin scoops into the freezer and let them harden.
4. Once the pumpkin is firm transfer the mini scoops into gallon freezer bag.
5. Label and date the bag and return pumpkin to freezer.
1. Fold the open edges of a gallon freezer bag over and set aside.
2. Cut the ends off the bananas.
3. Run the knife down the long edge of the banana making a slit just deep enough to cut through the peel, but not into the banana.
4. Remove the banana from the peel and cut in half.
5. Lay the banana halves inside the gallon freezer bag.
6. Keeping the bananas flat, fold the open edges of the freezer bag back over.
7. Press out the air, seal tight, label and date.
8. Keeping the bananas flat, transfer the freezer bag to a separate sheet tray and place in the freezer. Or carefully lay the bag of bananas flat inside the freezer until they harden and no longer stick to one another.
With all of the work done in advance making a tasty smoothie is 1 cup of your favorite milk or milk substitute and few minutes of blender time away.
1. In the blender combine 1 whole frozen banana (2 halves), 3 frozen pumpkin scoops, and 1 cup of liquid.
2. Cover tightly and blend on the highest setting until the fruit is combined and the shake thickened.
If your bananas were really big or the smoothie is too thick just add more liquid until it is just right for you.
It isn’t in the ingredient list, but 1 scoop of your trusted vanilla protein powder is a excellent addition to this smoothie. Just add the protein powder into the blender with all the ingredients.
If you were thinking a chocolate banana smoothie would be just the thing; you’re right. Chocolate banana peanut butter is even better! Leave out the pumpkin and just use the frozen bananas.
Once you know how to use frozen fruit as a smoothie base instead of ice the sky is the limit for combinations.
Photo Credit: Andrew Dole