So, I haven’t had a blender for a very long time. I recently bought an immersion blender, as recommended by America’s Test Kitchen, but I use that for soups and pestos and such, not smoothies. I’ve been trying to stock my kitchen with equipment that I will own and treasure forever rather than the throw-away appliances I used in college, but the best blenders out there are prohibitively expensive so I just did without. Well, in a very generous move, I was given a Vitamix blender for Christmas and I haven’t stopped using it since. The first thing I made was a mango ginger smoothie, which is dairy-free, and is in fact made with green tea as a base.
All it requires is fresh or frozen mango chunks, green tea, and fresh ginger (which I store in the freezer, where it’ll last forever). You can add ice if you’d like to make it a little, well, icier, and the tea can still be hot since there’s ice involved. Alternatively, you could use milk instead of tea to increase the protein, but the tea imparts a really unique flavor that I’ve never experienced in a smoothie.
This smoothie is not only a delicious, icy blend of spice, bitterness, and natural sweetness, but it abounds in nutritional benefits. Both tea and ginger are rich in antioxidants, and mango is full of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. If the mango you’re using is underripe, then you can add some honey to add sweetness, but otherwise this smoothie is free of added sugars.
The best part about having this blender so far has been how much fruit I’ve been consuming. Previously, the only fruit I’d get on a regular basis were apples or grapefruits, especially in the winter. Now I have a smoothie almost every day because it’s just so darn fun to make them. The Vitamix whips through ice with no complaints- something I’ve never experienced in a blender. If you have a less-than-perfect blender, assemble the smoothie by putting the ingredients in the blender from softest (the liquid base) to hardest (ice) so the blades cut through soft things first and begin creating a vortex that will pull the harder items to the bottom. Use plenty of liquid and don’t be afraid to stop and stir as necessary. Also, start the blender slowly and work your way up to full speed to avoid the development of air bubbles.
Now, you may be hearing alarm bells go off in your head, reminding you of all those times you’ve heard nutritionists tell you to eat your fruit, not drink it. This is still true! In order to make smoothies a healthy produce-delivery system rather than a sugar bomb, keep a couple things in mind:
- Portion size! Would you normally eat 1 cup of strawberries, a whole banana, a handful of mango, and a cup of orange juice? No? Then don’t drink all of that either. Keep the fruit additions to 2 cups or less- something you’d reasonably consume whole.
- Avoid adding sugar. Use fruit that is ripe enough to be naturally sweet so you don’t have to add honey. Experiment with bases other than juice, like the tea in this recipe or milk/yogurt for added protein.
- Drink this in place of other sugary items, like dessert, or use it as a meal replacement. If you choose to have a smoothie as a meal, make sure there is protein either in the smoothie or on the side to slow the uptake of sugars.
- Use smoothies as one way of getting produce, not the only way. Unlike juicing (which I honestly despise), smoothies retain fiber. However, the fiber is cut up into very short strands, so it won’t have quite the stomach-filling capacity that whole produce does. So don’t just drink your fruits and veggies- eat them too!
- 1/2 cup green tea (hot is ok)
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1-2 tsp ginger, chopped or grated
- 4-5 ice cubes
- Place all ingredients, in order, in the blender. Blend, starting on a low speed and increasing slowly, until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!