Hit me with your best banana-free smoothie recipes
May 2, 2014 4:15 AM   Subscribe

I bought a Vitamix last summer, and a book of smoothie recipes. It was all fun and games until I was diagnosed with a banana allergy. Help me make my smoothies taste good again!

The long version: the allergist suspects it is not a 'pure' banana allergy but rather an oral allergy syndrome related to birch pollen, for which I tested very high on the allergy test. He thinks I may be able to cook the banana and use it, but I have been scared to try this as the stomachaches I got from banana are quite severe. Prior to the allergy test, my go-to was a green smoothie with strawberries and bananas. I have tried using apples instead, or using just mixed berries with rice milk, but they always need sweeteners and don't have the right consistency.

So...hit me with your best banana-free ideas!
posted by JoannaC to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
For consistency, gums are great. See this link. I also find that frozen blueberries give a better texture than fresh. Bananas are very sweet, so I would use other sweet fruit to compensate for them. Maybe mango or pineapple would work for you (think tropical smoothies with mango/pineapple and/or orange and greens, with or without the berries). Or just berries with a date for added sweetening. If you use strong greens like kale, I would temporarily go with milder greens (spinach, endive, lettuce etc.) and then build up again once you find something that works for you.
posted by blub at 4:38 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Innocent smoothies make a banana-free version.
posted by Solomon at 5:03 AM on May 2, 2014

When I use frozen mango or fresh pineapple, I don't miss the banana. Adding some whey protein powder also seems to add the thickness that the banana usually does. Honey, if you're missing the sweetness. What's your liquid base? I like a mango-passion fruit blend which always starts things out well.
posted by supercres at 5:10 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love these make-ahead oatmeal smoothies, which rely on oatmeal and chia seeds for consistency and can be made with pretty much any fruit combination.
posted by fox problems at 5:14 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like avocado in my smoothies because they add a nice silkiness (although no sweetness, really). I'd experiment with fruit (frozen or otherwise) of different varieties. I wonder if plantains would have the same allergic reaction? I wonder if they'd be good in a smoothie?
posted by backwards guitar at 5:29 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lots of so-called "paleo" smoothies use dates as a sweetener and avocado as a thickener. A good ratio to start with is something like 5 dates and 1/4 avocado per cup of milk/juice/liquid-ingredient-of-your-choice.
posted by bcwinters at 5:43 AM on May 2, 2014

Applesauce replaces banana in my smoothies.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 5:43 AM on May 2, 2014

I have oral allergy syndrome from birch pollen, and although bananas don't bother me, if I cook the things that do (apples, stone fruit, almonds, hazelnuts), I'm fine. My understanding is that cooking denatures the proteins, and it's the proteins that are the cause of the symptoms.
posted by Specklet at 6:03 AM on May 2, 2014

Best answer: Baked sweet potatoes are great in a smoothie. I usually do sweet potato, chocolate protein powder, some sort of milk/yogurt and maybe strawberries. If not strawberries, then cinnamon or other spices.
posted by hooray at 6:10 AM on May 2, 2014

I have found a blend of coconut milk, mango, mixed berries and a generous amount of fresh watermelon to be mighty tasty. Seconding what supercres said about adding chia seeds and/or whey protein for extra thickness and heft.
posted by newmoistness at 6:11 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use frozen strawberries, pure blueberry juice, water, and whey protein.
posted by crazycanuck at 6:58 AM on May 2, 2014

You can also add an egg white, which helps lighten the smoothie and give it a nice whipped texture.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 AM on May 2, 2014

Frozen cauliflower (instead of ice) adds a smooth, thicker texture (plus good vitamins and very few calories). It does have a slight flavor to it so you want to add something with a strong flavor to balance it.
posted by metahawk at 8:52 AM on May 2, 2014

Don't give up forever on the bananas. Talk to your allergist - but you might only have problems with bananas while birch pollen is high -- seasonly.

This is true for me with apples, bananas, and pineapple.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:59 AM on May 2, 2014

I use mango sometimes. I do frozen stuff, though. Not sure if unfrozen mango is going to do the same texture, but frozen mango is pretty close to frozen banana for texture.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 9:30 AM on May 2, 2014

Other than the avocado, chia, and oatmeal already mentioned (I use oat bran), I've been thinking of trying tapioca as a thickening ingredient to replace bananas. Either tapioca flour or balls. There's also silken tofu, though I don't like it in smoothies myself.
posted by Blitz at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2014

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