Thursday, August 12, 2010

Favorite Smoothie Base Guide

Fruit Smoothies

So smoothies are one of those culinary mysteries that have always kind of eluded me. They seem so simple, right? Fruit...juice...something with a little substance in it...and yet getting that right balance of flavors has always been so hard for me.

Well, we've officially reached the point in summer where I refuse to cook unless it's absolutely necessary and preferably not inside my house. This has led to a lot of smoothie experimentation and with that experimentation, I've discovered that pretty much every smoothie is made of four parts: 2 bases and 2-ish types of fruit.

So after I came to this realization, I broke down typical smoothie fruits into different categories based on how strong their flavors are and realized that smoothie-making can be a really easy and pretty foolproof, choose-your-own-adventure-type of experience.

One thing I found is that when you can, frozen fruit is great because you don't have to worry about the ice factor.

As cool as I think Sara and her Blendtec are, most people (including me) don't have a blender nearly that awesome and therefore are likely to find giant chunks of ice in their smoothies. When you use frozen fruit, the sugar in the fruit prevents it from freezing completely solid (at least most of the time), so it blends smoother but still adds the body and coldness of blended ice.

These measurements will make about 3 small smoothies, 2 large smoothies, or 1 probably unjustifiably large smoothie. Unless you're pre-menstrual or pregnant--those are times when giant smoothies are justifiable and if people are smart, they won't tell you otherwise.

Base #1:
1 c. juice

  • Dole Orange Peach Mango (great for tropical smoothies or where you want just a hint of citrus)
  • Orange juice (use a high-quality, not-from-concentrate juice like Simply Orange for really yummy results)
  • Apple juice (a good, neutral flavor)
  • Pineapple juice
  • Pomegranate juice (strong and distinct)
  • Cranberry juice (strong and distinct)
  • Passion fruit juice (if you can find it, it makes great tropical smoothies)
1 c. milk, chocolate milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or kefir
Base #2:
  • 6-8 oz. yogurt. Vanilla is a great neutral base, but you can use any flavored yogurt as well.
  • 1 very generous scoop of vanilla or chocolate frozen yogurt or ice cream
  • 1 very generous scoop of any flavor of sherbet or sorbet
  • 1 c. crushed ice (I love buying a bag of ice at Sonic for this very purpose because it blends to a smooth, fine consistency).
  • 1 c. soft tofu, drained
  • 1 c. cream of coconut
  • 1 1/2 c. of mild fruit: peaches or cubed honeydew or cantaloupe
  • 1 c. of moderate fruit: strawberries, cubed mangoes, frozen pineapple chunks, or blackberries
  • 3/4 c. of strong-flavored fruit: 1 small, frozen banana, raspberries, or blueberries
Extra Add-Ins:
  • Protein powder
  • 1-2 handfuls of baby spinach (sounds weird, but it's seriously so good and a great way to get your kids to eat leafy greens; you can't even taste it!)
  • Sweeteners as needed; 1-2 packets of Splenda, honey, sugar, etc. to taste
  • Flavorings and spices like vanilla, almond, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc.
  • Peanut butter (1-2 Tbsp.)
So basically, all you do is pick 1 item from Base 1 (juice OR milk; don't mix those ones up!), 1 item from Base 2, and balance out your fruits. You don't have to be limited to 2 fruits, but you do have to make sure the flavors balance out. So, for instance, if you want both bananas and raspberries (strong fruits) along with peaches (a mild fruit), you'd still use 1 1/2 c. of peaches, but you want the bananas and raspberries to equal 3/4 c.together. Does that make sense? Math was never my thing.

For this smoothie, I used Orange Peach Mango juice, peaches, raspberries, and vanilla yogurt. So I used 1 c. juice, 1 1/2 c. peaches, 3/4 c. raspberries, and 8 oz. yogurt.

That's just one of pretty much limitless possibilities. Just use your noggin--don't go making combinations that are obviously mismatched or gross unless you hate the people you're making smoothies for or are a glutton for punishment. Some really yummy combinations are:
--1 c. Orange Peach Mango or passion fruit juice
--1 very generous scoop of pineapple sherbet
--1 1/2 c. peaches
--1 c. mango
--1 c. orange juice
--1 very generous scoop of pineapple sherbet
--3/4 c. blueberries
--1 c. strawberries
--2 c. orange juice
--1 c. strawberries
--1 small banana (add 1 c. ice if using a fresh, non-frozen banana or if omitting the banana)
(This is my friend Jeni's super delicious smoothie)
--1 c. apple juice
--1 c. vanilla yogurt
--1 c. strawberries
--1 small banana (or another c. of strawberries)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. ice
1 generous scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream
2 c. blackberries or raspberries
I hope this give you some ideas for smoothies of your own! I'd love to hear what you put in your favorite smoothies!

Compliments of

No comments:

Post a Comment