Chocolate Blackberry Smoothie

Following a hard run in hot weather, I rarely feel like turning on a stove but still want something high in protein and properly filling as a recovery meal. Since I nearly always have frozen produce at my disposal, smoothies have become a go-to for the summer months.

Blackberry Chocolate Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

After deciding to incorporate protein powder into some of my smoothies, I debated a good recipe for using the chocolate version. Blackberry seemed the obvious answer, especially since we’re often gifted Oregon-grown boysenberries from M’s parents (something I am never sad about.) Blackberry and chocolate is a delicious combination in any form and this smoothie definitely feels quite decadent despite its healthy ingredients.

Blackberry Chocolate Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

Frozen blackberries and, optionally, a small piece of banana for sweetness form the base of this smoothie. Chocolate protein powder is boosted by cacao powder to make the chocolate aspect more prominent. Cacao is a vaguely “healthier” option that cocoa powder, but you can definitely sub unsweetened cocoa if you’d like. Standard fiber and fat boost from chia and hemp seeds if that’s something you’re looking for, but for a lighter smoothie feel free to leave them out. A generous helping of spinach to get in those veggies rounds out the deliciousness without affecting the flavor. Blended up with almond milk (or your “milk” of choice) and a decadent but super healthy smoothie is ready to go.

Blackberry Chocolate Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

 

For the days when your mouth wants dessert and your body says “but maybe a vegetable”, keep your freezer stocked with blackberries and spinach and whip up this great snack or meal replacement. Tailor the mix-ins to your caloric needs and nutrient preferences and you’re good to go for all those hot summer days ahead.

Chocolate Blackberry Smoothie

Makes 16-20z

Ingredients1

3/4 cup frozen blackberries
2″ frozen banana (optional)
1/2 – 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1-2 Tbsp (each) chia and hemp seeds
1-2 Tbsp cacao powder
3/4 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen, crushed spinach

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (add the spinach last) and process until smooth.
  2. Taste and add extra cacao or mix-ins if desired.
  3. Thin with additional almond milk as necessary.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

I listed these in the order I personally add them because I find it easiest to just fill the remainder of my single-serving blender container.

I Adds a nice sweetness but doesn’t change the flavor; I’ve made it with and without the banana and it’s good both ways.

Blueberry Almond Cardamom Smoothie

Smoothies are one of my favorite things about summer. There’s nothing like a cold smoothie at the end of a hard and hot workout for a no-brainer recovery meal. I’ve previously shared my other go-to peanut butter and banana concoction, but this is another excellent option for those that aren’t fans of banana or are in the mood for a less sweet experience.

Blueberry Cardamom Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

Plenty of blueberry flavor with hints of almond and cardamom make this reminiscent of one of my favorite pies, while the other mix-ins add protein and healthy fats to keep me full. Spinach is the best secret ingredient and if your blender allows, feel free to add more. As written, this recipe nearly exactly fills my single-serving blender (a bit overfills  it with the higher ends of everything) but if you’re using a standard size you can easily double the spinach content without affecting the delicious flavor.

Blueberry Cardamom Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

Like all smoothies, this one is super easy to tailor to your caloric needs: use the low end of the protein powder, chia, and hemp (or skip them entirely) for a lighter snack or a healthy dessert, and the full amounts for a proper meal replacement. I like my smoothies and milkshakes quite thick, but you can add extra almond milk to thin yours out if necessary.

Perfect for the next time you want pie but need protein, this is a great go-to to add to your summer smoothie repertoire.

Blueberry Almond Cardamom Smoothie

Makes 16-20 oz

Ingredients

3/4 cup frozen blueberries
2-inch piece frozen banana (optional, adds a touch of sweetness)
1/2 – 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
1-2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, to taste
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup spinach, frozen and crushed1
3/4 – 1 cup almond milk, to taste

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender (I find it easiest to add the spinach and almond milk last) and process until smooth.
  2. Taste and add extra spice or thin almond milk as preferred.
  3. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

Easiest way to do this is just to pop a whole bag of fresh spinach in the freezer. Once frozen you can crush it with your hands or a rolling pin, which makes it much easier to pour into the blender cup.

Blackberry Peach Smoothie

Although I mostly stick with my go-to peanut butter and banana smoothie, I occasionally am interested in a more summery flavor profile. Typically I concoct one from whatever happens to be my in freezer at the time, which is usually a mixture of bananas, berries, and melons, and maybe a cucumber or two. Blackberries are far and above my favorite berry but as they are quite strong in flavor I like to pair them with something a bit more mild. Bananas are excellent for this, of course, but in late summer peaches are easily my ideal complement.

This is another excellent smoothie for any time of day, an equally delicious way to start your day as it is to end it. With plenty of fresh fruit and a hidden veggie boost, its flavor is reminiscent of a cobbler but much lower in sugar. The spinach muddies the color a bit, but otherwise it’s not even noticeable. Ground oatmeal makes a nice thickener as well as keeping you fuller longer, and my trusty dash of cinnamon rounds it out nicely. If you prefer yours a bit sweeter, add a dollop of pure maple syrup.

It’s not necessary to peel your peaches before freezing them, but make sure they are in small enough chunks to fit in your blender. I typically cut mine into eighths since that’s the easiest way to pit them anyway. Slice and pit a whole tray at once and then arrange on a piece of parchment paper to freeze. Once frozen you can transfer them to a Ziploc or other storage without fear of them sticking into one giant clump of peach. I use this method to freeze all my fruits and veggies for smoothies (and oatmeal) – everything from sliced bananas and berries to cucumber and zucchini. It takes a little prep time, but it’s well worth the convenience later.

Sweet peaches and tart blackberries come together in combination perfect for those later days of summer when both are overly abundant. Whether you’re buying from Costco or local stand, or lucky enough to be picking them yourself, it’s a delicious way to use up excess fruits that are maybe a little beyond the raw-eating prime. With these last few weeks of toasty weather ahead, you should have ample time to give this a whirl.

Blackberry Peach Smoothie
Makes one 16-20 oz smoothie

Ingredients

1/3 cup oatmeal

1 ripe peach (pitted, sliced, and frozen)1
1/4 cup blackberries, frozen
1 – 1.5 cups coconut milk (or any unsweetened milk)

1 – 2 cups frozen and crushed baby spinach
1-2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Place oatmeal in blender (I like to use the single-serve size so I don’t accidentally make a gigantic smoothie) and blend until finely ground.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (optionally reserving a peach slice and two berries for garnish) and blend until completely mixed (this could take a minute or so). If it’s too thick, blend in additional milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Enjoy immediately with a straw, a sunny day, and a good book.

Notes

1  I typically slice mine into roughly eighths as they fit into my single-serving blender cup better that way. You can slice yours more or less to suit your needs.

I like to put a bunch in the freezer and then crush it all once it’s frozen. Then it’s really easy to measure out a cup or two for each smoothie on the fly.

Race Day Smoothie

About five years ago I discovered my favorite green smoothie, which I basically lived on during an extremely hot and smokey summer in Helena. I was admittedly liberal with the peanut butter and a bit light on the spinach, but overall it was a decently healthy dinner option for those days I didn’t want to eat anything warmer than ice.

Over the years I’ve lightened up my original recipe, opting for coconut or almond milk instead of cow’s and substituting PBFit peanut butter powder instead of the real deal. Peanut butter powder may sound silly, but in baking or smoothies I actually prefer it over the original. The peanut flavor is a bit more concentrated and it really lowers the amount of calories and fat. I’m not a calorie counter by any means, but it makes it much easier to create a snack-sized version while keeping all that wonderful peanut flavor.  I’ve also probably doubled the amount of spinach I use, since I’m now inclined to add it to almost anything from smoothies to soup to scrambled eggs, and it’s definitely my preferred salad base. The spinach only vaguely modifies the flavor but gives a big nutrient boost – presuming you don’t mind the crazy green color. I admit it’s a bit off-putting to the uninitiated but I’m so used to it that this smoothie without spinach now looks and tastes strange to me.

During the summer and fall I participate in tons of running events, where you have to get up stupid early in the morning in order to make it to the start line or bus pickup on time. My usual race day breakfast (or really any day breakfast) is oatmeal with banana and PBFit, but on the days it’s too hot for that I opt for this smoothie instead. They contain basically the same ingredients, with the smoothie having that extra spinach boost. It goes down much easier when it’s already 75 degrees or more, and takes just as little time to prep in the morning.

I like to pre-grind the oatmeal so there aren’t large chunks clogging up my straws, but it’s not strictly necessary if you have a really quality blender. The oatmeal not only adds some calories and makes the smoothie more filling, but I really enjoy the hearty flavor it adds to the palate. It’s not overwhelming but reminiscent of an oatmeal cookie, and is still pleasant for people who necessarily enjoy oatmeal on its own.

This smoothie tastes like a peanut butter banana milkshake but is a much healthier way to start the day. With the addition of oatmeal it sticks with you for quite a while, making it perfect for both pre-race and post-race. It’s also a pretty legit dinner for those days you’re feeling lazy or in a hurry but still want something on the healthy end of the spectrum, and your boyfriend isn’t around to insist smoothies are not a real dinner.

Race Day Smoothie
Makes one 16-20 oz smoothie

Ingredients

1/3 cup oatmeal

1 ripe banana (peeled, sliced, and frozen)2
1 – 1.5 cups coconut milk (or any unsweetened milk)
2 Tbsp PBFit
1+ cups frozen and crushed baby spinach
cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Place oatmeal in blender (I like to use the single-serve size so I don’t accidentally make a gigantic smoothie) and blend until finely ground.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until completely mixed (this could take a minute or so). If it’s too thick, blend in additional milk 2 tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Enjoy immediately with a straw, a sunny day, and a good book.

Notes

1  For a lighter smoothie I just leave out the oatmeal; this is great for the days you want a lighter breakfast or a healthier snack/dessert later in the day. But for an entrée smoothie the oatmeal adds great flavor and makes it a lot more filling!

2  I typically slice mine into roughly eighths as they fit into my single-serving blender cup better that way. You can slice yours more or less to suit your needs.

I like to put a bunch in the freezer and then crush it all once it’s frozen. Then it’s really easy to measure out a cup or two for each smoothie on the fly.

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

Has summer hit your area yet? It’s been hit or miss here but we did have a lovely hailstorm the other day. And I say that with great sincerity, storms are fun so long as they don’t happen constantly.

The recipe I have for you today (although “recipe” might be kind of a generous term for a smoothie, if I’m honest) is great for those hot days when you want a healthy and filling meal but it’s too hot to make anything. It may not seem like much but I’m always surprised just how full I am at the end. Great for lunch (or dinner, if you’re as lazy as I am) and it is awesome for refueling after a long run.

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ll admit the green color can be a bit off-putting, but it tastes like a peanut butter banana milkshake. If you’re extra afraid of vegetables, like I was when I first started making this, just add a little bit more peanut butter or yogurt until you can’t taste the green. Maybe even put it in an opaque cup if that helps you come to terms with it.

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

Cold, creamy, and sweet, it drinks like dessert but is a protein- and vitamin-packed meal replacement perfect for any day, but especially great on hot ones. A few years ago we had an extremely hot summer here in Montana (especially by Alaskan standards) and there were a couple weeks where I had one of these for dinner while I sat in front of the air conditioner pretty much every day after work. Five minutes to make and no heat to add to already scorching 98 degrees inside and out. Perfect.

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re looking for a quick, cold, and healthy meal (or very large snack), this is the one you want. Go forth and blend!

Note: I like to blend the spinach and milk first to make sure it is well puréed. If you have a really nice blender and/or are not as averse to larger bits of leaf in your smoothie, you can definitely just blend it all at once instead of in two steps. Also! You can totally buy one of those giant containers of baby spinach (like Costco sells), blend it all up at once with some milk (or water if you prefer), and freeze it in to smoothie-sized portions. I used a muffin tin because that’s what I had on hand, and then I use two frozen portions per smoothie. Works great and there’s no risk of your spinach going bad (although I’ll admit getting them out of the muffin tin was somewhat annoying. In the future I will line it with foil or plastic wrap or something.)

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Makes one ~16oz smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 – 1 cup milk (I use 2% but any milk or plant wannabe will work)
1+ cups baby spinach, to taste1

1 ripe banana (peeled, sliced, and frozen)2
1/4 cup yogurt (I use vanilla honey Greek yogurt)
2 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions

  1. Blend spinach and 1/2 cup milk until reasonably smooth (no large pieces).
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until completely mixed (this could take a minute or so). If it’s too thick, blend in additional milk 2 tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Enjoy immediately with a straw and a sunny day.

Notes

1  I use one or two cups depending what fits, but you can add up to around four cups if you’re a big spinach fan. You likely want to use more yogurt and milk if you add much more than two cups of spinach.

I typically slice mine into roughly fourths as they fit into my single-serving blender cup better that way. You can slice yours more or less to suit your needs.