Banana-free smoothie?
March 22, 2011 2:45 PM   Subscribe

What's a good substitute for banana in a smoothie? Bonus difficulty, also not really including dairy products or peanut butter.

I would like to eat/drink smoothies.

Unfortunately, I don't like bananas in smoothies (although I like eating bananas plain). I'm also mildly lactose intolerant and don't have milk, ice cream or cream. I've seen recipes that include peanut butter, but I think I would prefer to start out less adventurous.

So, what other fruit/ingredient could I put in a smoothies to replace the banana and make them thicker? Whole recipes would be welcome.

Also, are there any smoothies for sale in the UK that are banana-free?
posted by plonkee to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Tofu. Instead of dairy milk, soy milk. If you like the taste of tofu, this works; if not, try flavoured tofu.
posted by smorange at 2:48 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

I like to use strawberries.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 2:50 PM on March 22, 2011

CHICKPEAS. Really. They'll thicken it up, plus give you good fiber and protein, without adding much taste. Especially if you make them with tart things like various berries, you won't even be able to really taste them. Seriously. Chickpeas.
posted by raztaj at 2:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

Papaya works really well in smoothies. You can cut it in squares, freeze it, then throw them into your blender for an awesome smoothie. It goes well with other fruits like apple, mango, pineapple, strawberries, etc.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any stone fruit or berries will do - fresh, canned or frozen. I've even used home-stewed fruit such as apples and pears.

Soy milk (the light or skim kind, not the 'full' soy milk which has added soy oil). Rice or almond milk. Soy yoghurt and soy ice-cream add an extra creamy delight.

For added yumminess, add a dash of natural vanilla extract, rosewater or other natural flavouring such as malt.
posted by Kerasia at 2:51 PM on March 22, 2011

Have you tried yogurt?
posted by QueenHawkeye at 2:51 PM on March 22, 2011

Almond or other nut butters might substitute well in the recipe that you already have.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 2:53 PM on March 22, 2011

I've used cooked, cooled oatmeal.
posted by methroach at 2:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

I use avocado in my smoothies. It adds a nice peanut-buttery texture, is full of excellent nutrients, and the flavor is mild so it's masked by the other ingredients.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 3:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

Oh man I put half an Avocado in my smoothie just yesterday and it was AMAZING. Surprisingly a hit of sweetness too. I don't consider peanut butter in a smoothie to be adventurous at all though, so avocado may be off the charts for you.

I've also used uncooked, raw oats, which get busted into smaller pieces by the smoothieing blade.
posted by xueexueg at 3:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

There's also soy yogurt.
posted by GuyZero at 3:04 PM on March 22, 2011

Yep. Uncooked raw oats.
posted by jbenben at 3:04 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Raztaj, if my son could read, and he read this, he would totally curse you for all the chickpeas I'm planning to slip into his smoothies! On that note: black beans might work, too, in a chocolate smoothie - black bean brownies taste NOTHING like black beans; the chocolate works really, really well to disguise them.

To add banana-y unctuousness to smoothies, I've been using Trader Joe's peanut flour - however, it's been discontinued (woe!), so I'll have to find it elsewhere. It works nicely without adding much fat.
posted by julthumbscrew at 3:07 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Coconut milk yogurt.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:08 PM on March 22, 2011

3rding avocado
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:24 PM on March 22, 2011

I haven't had coconut milk yogurt, but coconut milk ice cream tastes amazing and a hefty dollop would probably be perfect in a smoothie. There are a few good brands out there now, Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss and Purely Decadent are the two I have tried. Both are good and are in a lot of health food stores and Whole Foods. I think the Purely Decadent kind might be better in a smoothie because it seems a bit more "melty" (probably air or something, but the other one is a lot firmer).

However, I had tried those to get away from dairy based ice creams and found they upset my stomach even more somehow (probably didn't help that I usually tanked the whole pint).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 3:24 PM on March 22, 2011

Wheat bran will work to thicken up the can also try yogurt and/or apple sauce. Also, Almond milk is a better substitute than soy imo, as is almond butter in lieu of peanut butter. Never tried an avocado...that's a good idea.
posted by jnnla at 3:29 PM on March 22, 2011

I also came here to say avocado. Seriously--just did it the other day, was afraid it would be gross, but instead it was awesome. Another good add-in is ground flax seed, if you're looking for the fiber you'd be missing from the banana.
posted by availablelight at 3:37 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm also intolerant to milk (though casein, not lactose). I usually use creamy vanilla or regular soy milk or yogurt (because yogurt is ok for me), but, if you're doing smoothies more on the sweet side, I would definitely try almond milk. It is delicious (if you like almonds that is), and in between the thickness of soy milk and, let's say, rice milk (also depends on the brand you purchase though), and it has this creamy almondy goodness taste :) Think about the taste combinations when adding the other ingredients, but a lot of stuff is really good with almonds (like wild berries or even citrus). Almond and honey is also really good.
For the banana part: maybe mango? It shares the thickness and "purée" quality for which it's usually needed in smoothies. And it's yummy. I think actually that if you buy your fruit for smoothies frozen, pretty much no matter the fruit, you can get that thickness you're looking for, and add the liquid part by using juice.
posted by kitsuloukos at 3:39 PM on March 22, 2011

Almond milk. mmmmm

and rum, but I suspect that's not at all what you're looking for
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:40 PM on March 22, 2011

oh and yea for coconut milk, also (especially good if you want to do a "lassi"-like recipe (indian drink made generally with mango, yogurt, honey and spices)
posted by kitsuloukos at 3:41 PM on March 22, 2011

Best answer: coconut milk, xanthan gum, almond milk, almond or hazelnut butter, sesame oil, avocado, mango, vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon and yes of course rum and/or kahlua. Heck, if it's that kind of a day, you could do far worse than all of these even together!
posted by kch at 3:45 PM on March 22, 2011

I was going to say avocado and coconut milk. So consider those seconded.
posted by willpie at 4:23 PM on March 22, 2011

Silken tofu. I read a trick in a cookbook recently to boil it for a few minutes if you're going to use it raw (as in salad dressing), because it removes some of the soy flavor. Totally worked.
posted by something something at 4:25 PM on March 22, 2011

I was researching neutropenic diets awhile back and came across quite a few (high-calorie) smoothie recipes that used things like soy milk, Boost or Ensure as the liquid. Others suggest rice, almond or oat milk. For some interesting recipe ideas - though you may need to adjust them if weight gain isn't a goal for you - take a look here.
posted by jquinby at 4:58 PM on March 22, 2011

Oh, and if yogurt is OK for you, try Greek-style yogurt. It's super, super thick.
posted by jquinby at 4:59 PM on March 22, 2011

A couple spoonfuls of sugar free instant pudding mix. Mmmmm. Ok maybe not super healthy, but it does a fabulous job of thickening a smoothie.
posted by beandip at 5:00 PM on March 22, 2011

Best answer: Of course the absolute best replacement would be Pawpaw, but good luck finding that.
posted by clarknova at 5:10 PM on March 22, 2011

Best answer: Also, mango can thicken & creamify (word?). Like banana, it has a pleasant, but not overpowering flavor.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:11 PM on March 22, 2011

If you just want a thickener, chia seeds would probably do the trick. They're tiny little seeds that gelatinize in water. They're very nutritious and almost completely flavorless. You should be able to find them at health food stores.
posted by madmethods at 6:17 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

IIRC, spirulina will thicken a smoothie.
posted by willpie at 6:24 PM on March 22, 2011

Tofu is generally not to my liking but putting silken tofu in smoothies gives it a good consistency as well as a protein boost without making it taste at all like tofu.
posted by jessamyn at 6:42 PM on March 22, 2011

Other nut butters work very well, too. Not sure what your hang up about them is - just take a spoon and add and you'll find it is very nice. There should be enough sweetness in the other ingredients for the flavour to be quite subtle.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:35 PM on March 22, 2011

I've been given small, cooked sweet potatoes, and have used that in my smoothies (I peel 'em first). It can come out a bit thick though, so I'll use a raw egg to thins it out and add protein. I sometimes use soymilk instead of milk.
posted by eggrollover at 10:42 PM on March 22, 2011

Mmmm, avocado. Makes for a lovely silky texture. (Although my fave avocado smoothie includes peanut butter and banana.) Frozen raspberries or blueberries are great and thicken things up a bit. And I like oat milk over soy, rice or almond milks.
posted by t0astie at 10:42 PM on March 22, 2011

I like to use cold, organic whole-fat coconut milk-- the kind that comes in a can & not the milk-substitute kind. After a while in the fridge, it's nice and thick and gives a rich flavor to smoothies.
posted by sugarbiscuit at 11:39 PM on March 22, 2011

I was also coming in to say silken tofu or avocados. My personal smoothie theory is that you need two of the following: banana, silken tofu, and soy milk. If the one you're missing is milk, you can get away with water. Avocados are kind of like bananas, since they're both fruit with fat.
posted by carolr at 2:31 AM on March 23, 2011

People have already suggested soymilk or tofu, and chickpeas or black beans. I would combine those two ideas and say soybeans. If dry mature soybeans are available cheaply in your area, then they work well, just soak and then boil them like you would any dry beans, and then add them to the smoothie. It's thicker than commercially available soymilk (so, more like a banana), but not as... tofu-y... as tofu. (Actually, you can make a delicious, thick soymilk just by putting cooked (warm!) soybeans, sugar, and water in the blender.) I haven't tried chickpeas in smoothies like the commenter above suggested; maybe they would work just as well, but I'd be a little nervous about adding a chickpea flavor. Using soybeans, you get the best of both worlds.

(Bonus: Here where I am, soybeans are much cheaper and more widely available than chickpeas, so I've taken to even using them to make hummus! And they work great! After adding the tahini, garlic, etc., I literally can't tell any difference, except possibly the texture is slightly smoother with soybeans than garbanzos.)
posted by jef at 6:26 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cooked sweet potatoes and winter squash like butternut.
posted by Ellemeno at 8:42 PM on March 24, 2011

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