Many people tend to get excited about smoothies in the summer, when fresh berries and stone fruits are at their best. Not me. My blender usually gathers dust in the summer months (I never let those fresh berries sit long enough to make it into a smoothie), but in the winter, my body craves cool, creamy, fruit-laden drinks. And this smoothie in my current go-to.
Smoothies don’t need much of an introduction. In general, they’re a dump-in-the-blender-and-blend kind of affair. And this one is no different in that regard, but there are a few ingredients I’d like to talk about briefly.
First: coconut milk. I use a full-fat coconut milk for this smoothie, which makes it super thick and decadent. I realize many people rely on smoothies for low-calorie or low-fat meal options, and while I think this recipe is incredibly healthy (and delicious), it’s not low-calorie or low-fat. If you’re looking for a lighter option, use light coconut milk or even coconut water instead. Both will work beautifully — they just won’t result in as creamy and decadent of a smoothie.
The second ingredient that’s worth taking a moment to discuss is the chia seed. I’ve long been a chia seed skeptic, not really understanding the hype and not really wanting to take the time to explore it, but I received a free, promotional bag of chia seeds in the mail a few months back and I’ve started to toss them into things here and there — namely smoothies. In short, chia seeds are little nutrition powerhouses, super rich in fiber and protein, and while that’s all fine and good, I love how they thicken the smoothie and help me to stay full longer. I’m sold.
So without further ado, here’s the smoothie recipe that helps me remember sunny, summer days and warm breezes … even in the depths of winter.
Vegan Tropical Paradise Smoothie
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 frozen peeled banana, sliced into several pieces
3/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon chia seeds
4 ice cubes
2 tablespoons toasted shredded coconut, to top (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well until uniform in texture. Make sure all the ice has been pulverized. Top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.
- If your smoothie turns out thicker than you’d like, add a little water (or leftover coconut milk) until it reaches your favored consistency. Likewise, if the smoothie is too thin, add more ice cubes — one at a time — until it’s where you’d like it to be.