Shake up Your Smoothie Game with These Tasty Hacks
We’ve got the inside scoop on how to make fueling and delicious smoothies from Sandra Wu’s book Feel Good Smoothies.
What do tahini, frozen grapefruit, and pumpkin have in common? They’re all ingredients in delicious and easy smoothie recipes shared with us by Sandra Wu, author of Feel Good Smoothies.
To help us all make better blended beverages, Wu compiled 40 recipes as well as insight on ingredients and blending tips. Each recipe is illustrated by artist Rocio Egio, giving the book pops of color through its pages.
Making smoothies is a simple way to take your meal on the go and make sure you get your daily nutrients. They’re also an easy way to help you cool down on a hot day when you just can’t turn on the stove or oven. Though, at times, when winging a smoothie recipe, you might end up with a drink that’s too watery, too thick, or is overpowered by one ingredient—mine always just taste like bananas, no matter what else I put in it.
Wu has ideas and fixes for all of that. To start, she shared with us four recipes from the book, which is sectioned into “Wake-Up Blends,” “Chockfull o’ Berries,” and “Sweet Treats” (because smoothies don’t just have to be for breakfast). “Just as diverse as you’d want any meal to be, these smoothies tap into different moods and moments of your day to suit your needs,” Wu writes in the book’s introduction.
While some of the recipes call for ingredients that you might not be used to adding to your blenders, like frozen grapes or overnight oats, these ingredients add texture and protein as well as exceptional flavor. Both of these ingredients are showcased in a smoothie fittingly titled PB&J, which combines a cup of frozen grapes with overnight oats, maple syrup, and peanut butter to deliver a smoothie that is reminiscent of the popular lunch sandwich.
The comforting classic flavors in Wu’s recipes don’t stop there. She also shares a recipe for a pumpkin frappé smoothie that combines pumpkin purée, pepitas, frozen banana slices, and a few other ingredients to offer a healthy alternative to the seasonal sip (that can also be made year-round).
To make sure bland blended beverages are a thing of the past, Wu’s got all the insight you need.
Know Your Ingredients—and Their Benefits
“Every drink featured relies on the magical flavors and health benefits of ingredients you can find in any grocery store or specialty market,” Wu says in the book’s introduction. Ingredients like bananas, brown rice, chickpeas, and coconut water make regular appearances in Wu’s recipes to add protein or enhance the thickness of a blend.
If you find that your smoothie is running too thin, try adding frozen bananas or a scoop of rolled oats to thicken it up. Too thick? Add coconut water or an almond beverage for a hydrating boost or added creaminess. “Almonds are a powerhouse ingredient, packed with protein, antioxidants, and other essential vitamins and minerals,” Wu explains. “When buying the butter and milk versions, look for brands that use a minimal amount of additives.” Making homemade nut butter is an easy way to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary additives and is as easy as blending nuts (raw or toasted) with a little bit of neutral oil until smooth.
A stand-out ingredient in a TBD (tahini, banana, date) smoothie is tahini, which Wu explains is “a creamy and savory way to add in healthy fats.” Tahini is made from blending sesame seeds with oil (similar to almond butter) and carries a strong sesame flavor that complements fresh fruits like bananas, or sugar alternatives like dates.
Speaking of which, dates are a great way to add sweetness without using refined sugars or honey (for vegans who omit it from their diets). “Medjool dates, cultivated in California, are the ideal variety for smoothie making, in that they tend to be softer than the imported versions and easier to blend,” Wu shares.
Another tip from Wu is to add the ingredients in the order they’re listed in the recipe, as well as to use chilled ingredients whenever possible. The ingredients for the recipes in Feel Good Smoothies are listed in a specific order for optimum blending, so be sure to start at the top when adding to the blender. For an even icier smoothie, freeze half of the liquid you’re going to use prior to blending.
Make Bigger Batches to Store Smoothies for Later
While you may have thought you had to blend a smoothie just before sipping to ensure texture and flavor, Wu lets us in on a fun fact: “You can store pre-made smoothies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day or in the freezer for up to two months.”
To defrost your smoothie, leave it on the counter or in a bowl of cold water until it’s a sippable consistency—you may want to give it a shake or stir to make sure there’s no separation.
If you make a big batch of your favorite smoothie, it’s also easy to transform it into something not-so-sippable like a smoothie bowl. Smoothie bowls are even easier to store, as you can freeze them and pop them into the fridge the night before you want to enjoy them to let them defrost. Top off the smoothie bowls with fresh fruit, shredded coconut, nuts, chia seeds, or even granola for an added crunch.
If you’re a fan of fresh smoothies and don’t want to blend in advance, you can still save yourself time by portioning out fruit and ingredients into containers or bags. Adding all of the ingredients for your smoothie to one container makes it easy to dump everything into the blender at once and hit the power button without having to fiddle with jars, lids, and going in and out of the fridge.