Look, I’m not even sure if you need a recipe to make a smoothie, but this one has been on the menu at our place a lot recently, generally in lieu of breakfast, and I’m excited about it, because I’d never thought of using non-dairy milks in smoothies (still loving your book, Amber!), and they are really lovely. Much less rich, somehow, and if you use almond milk, you can start the day feeling that not only do you have your daily 2 servings of fruit covered, but you’ve also made a good start on all those healthy nuts you’re supposed to eat. This is especially helpful if, like Andrew, you don’t actually like nuts – these are stealth almonds, cunningly disguised as milk (which Andrew also doesn’t like – did I mention that he can be a little bit difficult?) and just adding a light, slightly almondy backing note to the strawberry lead singer.
And speaking of backing notes, I just have to pause here and say something totally un-cooking-related, because I had an absolutely brilliant time on Saturday night getting to sing with a Scottish dance band at a wedding – I’ve never sung with a band before and I’m still totally excited from the experience and can’t actually hold any sort of conversation that doesn’t include a mention of it. Including, apparently, a blog post about smoothies. And they want me back – halfway through the evening, there were all these discussions about things they could do ‘now we have a singer’. Yay!
Also I got to dance, which was also fabulous, because I usually avoid dancing, on the grounds that I am horribly unco-ordinated, but I actually really love the kind of dances where you just need to be able to skip and count and make patterns, because these are more reliant on one having a brain and a working pair of legs than an ability to remember where one’s hands and feet are, and that’s what most Scottish dancing is, and it’s really fun. Though I do think the definition of courage is dancing country dances in a strapless wedding dress for four hours. I’d be terrified of dancing right out of the dress…
Oh, and while I’m just generally bragging about singing stuff, I passed my singing exam with Distinction and 84%, which was much better than I expected, and what’s more, the examiner’s comments suggest that he really enjoyed my performance, which is a bonus (and something no piano examiner ever implied about me even slightly, I might add). So I’m very happy right now!
Right, anyway, about that smoothie! I really love this recipe – it tastes fresh and a little minty and is one of those things that you can just *feel* is doing you good as you drink it, but is still fun, which is important. I’m not much of a believer in healthy foods that taste aggressively healthy and kind of boring.
Also, it’s pink! Very pink! Pink like my new blender! I cannot tell you how much this adds to my joy in this recipe… though I imagine all the pictures of pink blenders and pink cups in this post are a bit of a giveaway in that respect…
Your Shopping List (makes 2-3 serves)1 banana, smallish 1 date, fresh, not dried, because if it is dried it will not smoosh up properly in the smoothie, and a smoothie should not have chewy bits in it 9 tinned apricot halves. But if you had fresh apricots, that would probably be even better 250 g strawberries, hulled 6 big mint leaves, or to taste 1 cup almond milk
Now what will you do with it?
Do you even need instructions for this one? Put everything in a blender, and blend it until it is fabulously pink with little green flecks.
Taste it, to see if it needs more mint, more apricots, or more of anything else. This is probably the most important step, come to think of it, because the thing with drinks composed of fresh fruit is that you really never know how sweet, acidic, or strongly flavoured they will be, because this depends on the ripeness and freshness of the fruit, the season, the particular variety, and sometimes just luck.
What you are aiming for, flavour-wise, is something that is fresh strawberryish, but with a bit of creamy banana and apricot in the background, and enough mint that you can taste it without it being all about the mint. Or at least, that’s what I was aiming for – feel free to aim for something different.
Drink at the start of the day, to feel invigorated and ready to dance your way through all the Scottish Reels your heart desires, though perhaps not in a strapless gown unless you have checked that it passes the jump test…
This is vegan and gluten-free, of course, but not low fructose, and I don’t think you are going to get very far making a fruit smoothie low fructose in the first place. It should be OK in terms of GI, I would think. Obviously, almond milk is not nut-free, but soy milk or a dairy milk would both work here, and oat or rice milk might also be nice.
In terms of flavours, honestly, the sky is your limit. I’ve written this combination down because I really like how it comes together, but you can really use any sort of fruit which appeals to you – berries are always good, and I’d tend to keep the banana, because it provides a good texture. The date is there for a natural sweetener, and it does seem to be needed – strawberries can occasionally be insipid, and this helps counteract it. But if you weren’t trying to be raw or anything, it might be interesting to go Italian and try a balsamic strawberry smoothie – I’d keep most of the ingredients the same, but take out the mint and add some balsamic vinegar to pep things up.
Just don’t forget to enjoy it!
(and also to enjoy cleaning the blender, because I do love that you can just put soap and water in and switch it on and watch it all sud up and clean itself…)