Start to Finish: 5 minutes Servings: 1 to 2 Difficulty Level: Beginner
Creamy, sweet and loaded with potassium and protein, a banana smoothie ticks off multiple dietary boxes. A simple version of this drink has subtle flavor, enhanced by the nuttiness of peanut or almond butter. A banana smoothie can also be a blank canvas for brighter, bolder flavors.
- 1 banana
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup almond or skim milk
- 1 tablespoon nut butter (peanut, almond or cashew)
- 5 to 6 ice cubes
Peel the banana and break it into a few chunks. Place it and the other ingredients in a blender. Cover and use the "blend" or "high" setting to blend the mixture for 30 seconds. Stop the blender, scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and blend for another 30 seconds, or until the drink is smooth.
Make an ice-free smoothie by hand when you don't have access to a blender. Mash the banana with a fork until it becomes a smooth paste. Pour the paste into a large glass, cocktail shaker or lidded jar, along with the yogurt, milk and nut butter. Stir the ingredients together with a long spoon. If you're using a cocktail shaker or jar, vigorously shake the sealed container to mix the smoothie.
The ideal banana for a smoothie is ripe enough that its peel is dotted with brown spots, but not so ripe that the fruit itself is brown. Ripe bananas have the sweetness and texture necessary for a smoothie. Steer clear of green bananas.
Use frozen bananas and cut back on ice cubes -- which dilute the drink's flavor. To freeze the fruit, cut the banana into slices about 1/2-inch thick and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with wax or parchment paper. Freeze the tray for 30 minutes or until the slices are hard, then add them to a smoothie.
When using frozen banana slices, you may still need to use two or three ice cubes if you want your smoothie to be thick and cold.
Substitutions and Variations
Any of the ingredients you love with bananas can be incorporated into a smoothie.
- Use chocolate milk instead of almond or skim milk and add a splash of chocolate syrup.
- Play up the natural combination of strawberry and banana by adding 1/4 cup of frozen strawberries to the blender and using strawberry yogurt in place of vanilla.
- Orange juice, used in place of milk, provides a tangy balance to the sweetness of the banana.
- Play with tropical flavors by using 1/4 cup each of coconut milk and pineapple juice as the smoothie liquid. Add 1/2 cup of diced mango in place of yogurt.
- Make a dessert-worthy banana cream smoothie -- halfway between a smoothie and a milkshake -- by substituting vanilla ice cream for the yogurt, or by substituting cream for 1/4 cup of the milk. Top the drink with a dollop of whipped cream.