BANANA HATERS REJOICE!
I’ve long been a banana hater. Apparently it began at the weaning stage when my Mum fed me mashed up banana for the first time and I promptly proceeded to vomit it back in a way that she explains as having ‘great force’ and cover the carpet, myself and my wig-like hair that aged me by about three years. You know they say you change your food preferences as you get older? Well that’s never been the case for me and bananas. I check the label of any smoothies for the banana content (SPOILER: It’s always in there somewhere), actively avoid them in the supermarket if possible and have to hold back my gag reflex when someone eats one on the train in front of me and leaves the browning skin out on the table. To think that there was a day when I didn’t like spaghetti bolgenese is madness, but to think of a day that I’ll ever like bananas is completely out of the question.
Day-to-day it’s not something that bothers me. Sure it means I can’t get on board the ‘Banana Bread is AMAZING’ train and I’m lacking in self-protected fruit choices, but mostly I get by. The one struggle I do have though is when it comes to the aforementioned smoothies. If you ask to have the banana component removed at a juice bar, you are greeted with a look that suggests that you have a third eye growing out your forehead. ‘Sorry it just won’t have the same consistency!‘ – no really, I’d rather have a watery blend of fruit thanks. But it doesn’t have to be that way and as I’ve delved into the world of breakfast smoothies 1) Because they’re so darn quick to make, 2) Because it’s summer and they’re refreshing and 3) Because I need to up my fruit and veg consumption in my diet; I’ve actually found a great recipe that I just have to share. Hold onto your hats.
The recipe in question is the Beetroot and Berry Smoothie from the recipe book Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, which is by my lovely mate Dana who runs the blog Minimalist Baker (well worth a read if you fancy some vegan and veggie meal and baking inspiration). I found it in the breakfast section snuggled between recipes that did have bananas in, and once I realised that the ingredients were easy enough to replenish regularly and have hanging around AND that I liked everything on the ingredients list, I knew that she was onto something. I’ve tweaked the quantities a little, but it’s the same idea and over the past couple of weeks it’s all I’ve been having in the mornings. See? I even had it in this video. It’s a nice little routine to whip out in the mornings, plus it makes me feel well smug that I already have three portions of fruit and veg in me and one of them in beetroot. All before 9am!
One thing this recipe does require is a high powered blender or food processor. One that’s a little too weak will result in a lumpy liquid with beetroot chunks that you have to slurp up which just ain’t that cute early in the morning. I do recommend a purchase of some metal straws too, because smoothies taste better when you consume them with a straw. FACT.
BEETROOT & BERRY BANANA-FREE SMOOTHIE (serves one): A refreshing breakfast smoothie that’s perfect for the summer months, or times when you want to get some fruit and veg in your morning routine but don’t want to faff around in the kitchen. Make and drink immediately as smoothies don’t tend to keep too well.
You will need: 1 green apple (cored and diced), 1 beetroot (I use one from a pack that’s pre-boiled and peeled), 120g yogurt (I like the Nush Almond & Blueberry Yogurt, but use whatever one you fancy), 1/2 frozen mixed berries mix, 1/2 cup milk (I use almond or coconut, but use whatever you fancy) and a squeeze of lime juice if you like it a little sour.
There really isn’t much in the directions part here aside from – add into a food processor and blend until smooth – that’s it! Even with the the chopping I’d say this recipe takes about four minutes for me to do. It’s so quick and tastes so good. Plus the addition of the creamy yoghurt and the frozen berries means that it’s got the thickness in texture, but without needing to use a banana.
The beauty with smoothies is that you can’t really go too wrong. They’re too thin? Add more fruit and veg and another dollop of yoghurt. Too thick? Thin it out with a glug of milk. Too tasteless? Add in some cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon or lime, a dollop of honey or another handful of berries. Not cold enough for you? Lob in some ice cubes or another cupful of frozen fruit to make it proper slushy. If you find that it’s just not filling enough then experience with adding some fats and carbohydrates to the mixture. Half an avocado won’t do much to alter the taste and will amp up the creaminess. Personally I like to add half a cup of oats which make it feel more breakfast-y for some reason, or a dollop of a nut butter helps to bulk it out a little.
The moral of the story is, you don’t have to add a banana in order to make a smoothie that actually looks, tastes and feels like a smoothie. A bit of beetroot, apple and some berries will do the trick. Who knew?
Photos by Emma Croman
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