Why are bananas used in so many smoothie recipes?
Bananas are frequently used in smoothies because they do several things at once; they thicken the smoothie, give it body, ads a nice fruity flavor and natural sweetness. Plus they are really easy to peel and not so messy. They are a quick smoothie-fix so to speak.
But what if I can’t eat bananas, or don’t like them?
Because bananas are so easy to use in smoothies, many recipes include them. But the good news is that there are several substitutes that you can use.
Frozen mango is a great banana-replacer. It’s sweet, has a mild flavor and makes your smoothie nice and creamy, especially when frozen. Use about 1 cup frozen mango to replace 1 banana.
Avocado gives a really creamy and thick smoothie but it will not be as sweet as the original recipe, so you might want to add a little honey to balance the flavors. The flavor of avocado is very subtle and nice. Use about ½ avocado for a 4 cup/2 pint/1 liter smoothie size to give it a perfect creaminess. (Normally 2 bananas are used for this size of smoothie and with just half of an avocado you will end up with less smoothie than normal. Add 1 whole avocado or more of the other ingredients if you need more).
If you’re looking for something that replaces the creaminess rather than the sweetness, we also recommend a couple dollops of your favorite nut butter (unsweetened).
You’ve probably heard of chia seeds and how nutritious they are. But did you know that you can use them to thicken smoothies? Chia seeds can absorb a lot of water and when they do so they produce a thick gel. This gel can be used to thicken your smoothie without using bananas. This is how to do it: place 1 tbsp of chia seeds in ¼ cup water and leave for 5-10 minutes. A gel has now formed and you simply pour this into your smoothie! An added bonus is that chia seeds are packed with minerals, vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids.
Gluten free grains
Some gluten free grains add body, creaminess and protein to your smoothie, for example oats or millet flakes. Use about ¼ cup and blend everything together.
Soaked cashew nuts
Cashew nuts are great in smoothies because they add creaminess and protein all at once. The flavor is very mild and doesn’t interfere with other ingredients. Soak them in water for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Use about 1 handful to replace a banana. You can also use almonds but they work best when soaked overnight if you don’t have a high speed blender such as the Blendtec or Vitamix.
Coconut milk makes wonderfully rich and creamy smoothies. Perfect to make a filling breakfast smoothie. Exchange half or all of your liquid base for coconut milk and you won’t need to add bananas.
Do you have any other suggestions for how to replace bananas in smoothies?
Please share in the comments!