Pina Colada Protein Smoothie Recipe
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For the month of February, I have been doing a smoothie challenge and creating a new smoothie each day. I frequently use recipes from my go-to resource, Body Love by Kelly Leveque, but I have started getting comfortable with creating my own healthy recipes and today I have a good one for you! When I was in my early to mid-twenties (before I had kids!) my go to drink of choice was a pina colada. As a college senior, I would buy the sugary mix sold in the grocery store and make it in a blender, but then Chris and I went to Hawaii, followed by Costa Rica a couple years later, and I found out just how disgusting the mix was… and how wonderful a drink made with fresh pineapple was! These days, I drink wine or beer in moderation, and stay away from liquor entirely, but I still remember just how wonderful those freshly made pina coladas were. Today I want to introduce you to that drink’s healthier, happier twin sister who never leaves you with a hangover… the vegan pina colada protein smoothie! As soon as you taste this, you’ll have visions of tropical beaches dancing in your head, and the best part, you looking your happiest and fittest in your bathing suit!
Before I get into the recipe itself, I want to give you a little bit of background on some of the ingredients I like to keep on hand as well as my smoothie process.
Because I don’t like a soupy texture and prefer my smoothies to have a similar texture to a frozen mixed drink, frozen fruit is a must! We buy so many bananas, and on day two of brown spots appearing, I peel them all and place them in a freezer-friendly container and freeze them. With both Wilder and I starting our day with smoothies we go through a lot of these. Having the freezer stocked at all times is a must!
In addition to frozen bananas, I keep large bags of frozen fruits I buy at Costco or the grocery store on hand, especially this time of year when it’s harder to come by fresh. We typically have berries, mango, pineapple, and peaches. If I buy fresh fruit because it’s on sale, or I needed it for a recipe, I will freeze the extra before it goes bad.
Spinach! Spinach doesn’t add much flavor to a smoothie, but it’s loaded with magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins B6 &B9, vitamin C & K, and more… it’s such a n incredible super food that I try to add it to every smoothie I make for its health benefits. Even when Kelly Leveque‘s recipes don’t call for spinach, I add it. I buy it fresh or frozen, and add it in either way. You better believe Wilder gets a dose in his morning smoothie as well.
Unsweetened milks and liquids are essential… If you’ve ever done Whole 30 or a sugar detox, you start to really notice how much sugar is in products, and you start to develop a taste for items in their natural unsweetened state. It’s honestly the best benefit I got out of doing Whole 30. I truly appreciate foods with no added sugar, and I drink my coffee black. Added sugar now tastes artificial and too sweet to me (unless we are talking about ice cream, but that’s another story). I check my labels and make sure that the liquids I am buying do not have added sugar. I will say, I am not perfect and I completely messed up last week. After learning about the environmental impact of almonds and how much water they used, I decided I need to cut back on my use of almond products and bought oat milk at the recommendation of one of my good vegan friends. He told me about a specific brand but my store didn’t have it so I bought another kind. When I used it, I noticed how sweet it was and checked the label… sure enough, there was sugar added to it. Lesson learned!
A quality protein powder is a must. I’ve been trying all sorts of different protein powders until I find the one I like best. I do make sure that whatever I am trying is clean and plant-based. Currently I am using this one for vanilla, and it’s OK, but not my favorite. I’d also love to get one with collagen added- I know my skin would thank me for that. As for chocolate, I’ve only tried one so far because I haven’t made it through the container. I am so much more of a vanilla girl than chocolate! The one that I have is the Whole Foods version, and I do really love it, and it was the most affordable at the time I purchased it. I’ll probably just stick with it.
After months of blending, I’ve mastered the order in which ingredients should be placed when making a protein smoothie especially. Most recipes just say to put everything in a blender and go. However, I’ve found if you add nut butters, protein powders, or seeds first, they tend to just stick to the bottom. I use a Ninja Blender which has single serving cups with a blade you blend in. Here you can see my cup attached to my Ninja.
When I remove the cup and fill, add the blade, and flip over and attach to the base, I wind up with nut butters or powders stuck to the top of the cup if I added them first, and not reaching the blade and getting fully blended. Always add the liquid to your blender first.
Now that I’ve shared my essentials and tips, let’s get to that delicious recipe and super simple recipe, shall we? As I’ve been doing this challenge and creating recipes, I’ve been sharing them in my instagram stories, so this one had its debut there. Andi tried it and said, “It’s the Goldlilocks of smoothies, not too sweet… just right.”
If you make this one, I would love to hear your feedback as well. You’ll find the recipe below, but I have one more thing to ask… Do you like pina coladas? And getting caught in the rain?
Note: I garnished mine with shredded organic coconut just so it would look prettier in photos. You don’t need to do this! 😉
Pina Colada Protein Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut beverage
- 1 small frozen banana sliced or broken into a few pieces
- 1/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 scoop plant based vanilla protein powder
- 1 Tbsp flax seed
- Pour liquid into blender first. Next add powder and seeds, then avocado and frozen fruits. Lastly, add spinach. Blend until desired consistency.