I’ve been on the smoothie train for awhile now, but only within the past few warmer months have I gotten on the smoothie bowl train. And it’s a great train to be on. It takes you wonderful places. Corny metaphor but it’s 7:30am and I’m currently enjoying my peach banana mint bowl topped with all the deliciousness I’m about to tell you about, so whatever.
If you’re an Instragram user (which you most likely are because that’s pretty much how you’ll find this blog currently), I recommend utilizing #hashtags. Search for #smoothies, #smoothiebowl and look around at some of the beautiful bowls people are posting. Maybe even follow some people to get those images constantly on your feed as reminders and recipe inspiration. My goals for the blog this week are to get up a resources page for you guys with some food blogs I follow, educational films to watch, Instagrammers to follow, books, articles, all that jazz. But first I gotta give a serious shout out to one of my biggest inspirations in the smoothie bowl game, a friend of friends who somehow ended up in my network and has an Instagram called @the_wholesome_bowl. She’s an art student who took her passion for food and art to the next level and makes some incredible and delicious bowls. AND she recently came out with a recipe book that I definitely recommend. It has 30 or more smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes, and then salads, soups, bean salad deliciousness, beautiful raw desserts. Plus she has Clean eating 101 with a fantastic grocery list. Support local artists and buy it here to get a PDF on your computer right now and start making yummy things.
And now: SMOOTHIE BOWL 101
I used to think that the toppings for these were too expensive and that buying all the fruit you need for these would be really expensive too, but it’s not.
1. You’ll need a high powered blender. These can be expensive. I have the Nutribullet, which was $90 and I’ve gotten a ton of use out of it since I bought it last year (one of my current roommates recently asked me if I just blend all my food, which, to be honest, isn’t far from the truth). I use it as a food processor as well and it’s still going strong. I recommend looking on Craigslist in your area for a blender if you don’t already have one. I say high powered because the trick to affording fruit is buying frozen fruit and this can be a little difficult for not-so-good blenders. The Ninja is an amazing blender that is more expensive than the Nutribullet, but still less than the Vitamix or other top of the line blenders. My boyfriend has it and I’m mad I don’t, but now I just make him make me smoothies with it 🙂 Do some research and make an investment in a good blender.
2. Frozen fruit– this tends to be cheaper than fresh fruits and actually work better for getting the right consistency of smoothies, and makes it really easy for you in the morning. Just buy fruits that you like and experiment with different blends, you can’t really go wrong.
– FROZEN BANANAS– I use these in almost every smoothie. Buy a bunch of bananas (3-5 per week if it’s just you), peel them, break into chunks, and stick them in a Tupperware in the freezer. These give an awesome texture to smoothies and they don’t overpower everything in the same way they do when not frozen. PLUS, when your bananas are getting browner than you’d like, you can freeze them and have no waste cooking
– Strawberries– fresh or frozen works, always a great choice
– Frozen raspberries
– Frozen blackberries
– Blueberries– fresh or frozen
– Mango– fresh or frozen depending on season. I’ve been buying fresh mangoes lately because they’ve been relatively affordable
– Pineapple– I usually go for frozen, but fresh works great if you wanna go through the effort of hacking up a pineapple
– Peaches– fresh or frozen, again, depending on season
– Frozen dark sweet cherries
– Fresh ginger and mint are wonderful to add in, too
These are usually my main choices that revolve based on what I’ve bought that week (this week is bananas, peaches, strawberries, and you can make about 6 different combos there!), but head to your frozen food department, pick out 2 or 3 different options and see what you can create!
3. Toppings! This is where you can have a lot of fun and get a lot of variety. Now, some of the toppings I am recommending are a bit expensive. However, if you’re buying them in bigger sized bags (8oz, 12oz, 16oz), they’ll last you several months, as you’re only really using about a tablespoon at a time. AND if you want to be super eco, you can get a lot of these bad boys in the bulk section at Whole Foods or a specialty food store near you. Alternatively, if you buy them in the big resealable bags to start out, you can save those and reuse them at the bulk food supply next time.
– Chia seeds– I didn’t understand the hype around these for about a year after learning about them and buying them. My first 7oz bag lasted me like 8 months, but now I’ve gone through 16oz in the past 3 months. These suckers are so nutrient dense, loaded with protein, fiber, Omega-3s. And they’ll give you a TON of energy if you start regularly incorporating them into your diet. Stay tuned for chia pudding recipes coming up, which are so good.
– Hemp seeds– largely the same deal as chia seeds, but offer a nuttier flavor
– Goji berries– loaded with antioxidants, fruity and yummy (raisins and other dried fruit are a great, cheaper option)
–Raw/unsalted pumpkin seeds- listed as one of the healthiest foods in the world, these are loaded with all kinds of nutrients like zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, etc
– Shredded coconut
– Granola- any kind. Bear Naked has amazing options
– other fresh fruits– berries, kiwis, passionfruit (<— sooo good)
– Cacao nibs– caffeine boost! Make sure to buy at least 65% dark chocolate
– other raw nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews
– a protein powder (I personally don’t enjoy this chalky texture in my smoothies and other toppings tend to add enough protein)
– acai powder– again expensive, but lasts long and loaded with antioxidants and energy
Keep it simple with a few things in the beginning and then expand as you learn more and get more creative!
4. Blend-ins. You need some kind of liquid to make your smoothies blend generally. I tend to use water, but almond milk or any other kind of milk is a great option. You can just add a few splashes and then add more if it seems like it’s not blending well enough. For tropical smoothies, I loved loved loved using pineapple juice (Peach, avocado, kale, ginger, pineapple juice is one of my best creations to date. Avocados give smoothies a really unique and awesome creamy texture and flavor).
5. Green smoothies! These can be hard to get the hang of, especially if you’re like me and don’t really use any measuring devices for your smoothies. I just pour in amounts of fruit that I desire that day and it turns out a little different each time. Adding a green to your smoothies is a great option to pack in some additional nutrients. I prefer chard over anything else, but you can experiment with different greens to find out what you like best. Other great options are spinach and kale. A rule of thumb that I actually only learned very recently is that a 60% fruit to 40% greens ratio is ideal for flavor and nutrients (i.e. basically 2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of greens and 1 cup of liquid, but you’ll learn how to eyeball things for your taste preferences). Again, greens are just one other option.
There is a free online PDF of a green smoothie crash course here with some great recipes to get you started!
I’d love to hear about what you’re blendin’ up. You can tag me in your photos on Instagram @eco_corinne