Smoothie Basics (and how to make a Banana Protein Smoothie)

I’ve been craving smoothies so much recently, and making so many of them, that I finally no longer need a recipe for them. That’s a big achievement for someone like me who loves to cook but still relies on instructions to make a dish.

Essentially I have now hit upon a great base for any smoothie. While it may not be original or inventive, it’s nice to know I only need to have a few key things in the fridge in order to make any flavor smoothie I like.

Start with a quarter cup each of fat-free yogurt and orange juice for one regular serving. If the fruit you’re using isn’t chilled, then put a small handful of ice cubes in the blender along with the yogurt and OJ. (Using lightly thawed frozen fruit like berries is especially nice.) A spoonful or two of protein powder adds extra nutrition if you want it, and a swirl of honey (or agave syrup, my preference) adds sweetness if the drink still needs it.

There you have my perfect smoothie base. As for fruit, use whatever you like — that’s the fun of making these things. I often add banana because I like the touch of creaminess it lends the mixture. If I include other fruit, then I use half a banana. I have found a total of one serving of fruit works well with the amount in the base, but of course all of this is entirely up to your tastes.

Here’s the smoothie I made this morning — straightforward and delicious.

Banana Protein Smoothie
makes 1 serving

Blend the following until smooth:
1/4 cup fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
Small handful ice cubes
1 Tbsp. protein powder
1 banana

Blueberry-Nectarine Smoothie

I’m back after a long absence, and I can explain. I’m pregnant and those food aversions hit me in the autumn, affecting my appetite in a big way. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat, other than fresh fruit and vegetables — and the odd vanilla shake. I certainly did not want to cook.

The due date is still about seven weeks away, and while the food aversions have mostly gone away, my appetite is still dictated by the baby. The other day I woke up and wanted nothing more than freshly squeezed, high-pulp orange juice for breakfast. But opening the refrigerator, I noticed a punnet of blueberries I had bought the other day and immediately knew what I wanted: a fresh smoothie. Here’s what I came up with, and it was delicious.

Put in a blender:
1/2 cup fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 nectarine, chopped in chunks
Handful of ice cubes
170g fresh blueberries
Agave syrup, to taste (two thick swirls in the blender was the amount I used)

Blend together and enjoy. Makes 1 mega serving.

Pineapple-Banana Smoothie

This smoothie is a favorite of mine. It’s delicious and easy — it only has three ingredients — and it’s quite a good way to start the day. I had it for breakfast just this morning.

Serves 2

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 15.5-oz (434g) can of pineapple chunks in juice (preferably chilled beforehand)
1 banana

Combine everything in a blender and whizz until smooth. Be sure to include the juice from the pineapples.