After spending a month traveling in the Philippines and gorging on delicious tropical holiday fare — then taking another couple of weeks recovering from the exotic-sounding tropical dengue fever I picked up along the way — I’d had a belly full of tropical goodness for a while.
Now it’s March and Ohio’s early-spring promises of sunshine and breezy afternoons (along with three months endured of winter’s bitter winds and endless snow) have me longing for palm trees and beaches again. A nice-looking papaya has been ripening on the counter next to the bananas since the weekend, and I was ready for another taste of the tropics. I made this smoothie a bit simpler than my usual multi-fruit fare, all the better to bring out the papaya’s flavor…
Post-Tropical Papaya (and Banana) Smoothie
|1½ cups papaya chunks
||This was about half of a medium-sized papaya.
||It’s just not a smoothie without a banana, I sometimes say. And it’s a nice tropical complement to the papaya flavor.
|1–1½ cups almond milk
||Use less for a thicker, creamier texture.
|½ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
||More creaminess and a bit more protein.
|¼ cup raw walnuts
||Just a few, to balance the tropical fruit sweetness and add some good-for-you nuttiness.
|1 tbsp whole flax seeds
||Need some of those delicious Omega-3s!
|dash chia seeds (optional)
||Add these if you like a little texture (and chia nutritiousness) in your smoothie like I do.
Good for about two 8-ounce servings.
Place all of the ingredients except the chia seeds into the Vitamix or other blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and stir in the chia seeds. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes to give the chia seeds time to settle in, then kick back and imagine the sunrise coming up over an endless blue sea…
I’m a pastry guy. But when faced with a multitude of choices in the baker’s case, banana bread almost always makes the cut as a finalist. While visiting Press (my favorite coffee shop here in Dayton) a couple of days back, I had to make a choice between banana bread and a homemade, soft-dough chocolate chip cookie… and I chose banana bread. That’s how much I like banana bread.
I decided to try my hand at making a smoothie version. I think this recipe captures some of that comfort-food goodness…
Banana-walnut bread, in a smoothie!
||Riper is better, just like with banana bread!
|½ small avocado
||Didn’t expect this in the recipe, did you? Adds a nice creaminess to the naturally smooth banana texture. Try it, you’ll like it.
|handful raw walnuts
||We’ll be adding these and letting them stay a bit chunky in the smoothie, to give it that extra bit of banana bread-ness.
|handful dried goji berries
||Adds a little nutty complexity to the flavor, some nice color and a whole bunch of great nutrients and antioxidants.
|big dash flax seeds
||A little more nutty flavor, along with some Omega-3s.
|dash chia seeds (optional)
||These remind me of tiny boba or berry seeds, and they adds protein and other goodness. If you don’t care for that texture, blend it until smooth or leave out the chia altogether.
|dash ground cinnamon
||The recipe works without it, but I like banana bread with the extra zest added by cinnamon.
|1 large ice cube
||We have a giant, cocktail-sized cube tray, so you might need a couple of regular-sized cubes.
|1-2 cups unsweetened almond milk
||Some nice grass-fed, natural skim milk would work here, too! 1 cup resulted in a fairly thick drink, the way I like it. Use a bit more if you prefer yours thinner.
Place the bananas, avocado, goji berries, flax seeds, ice and milk into the Vitamix and blend until smooth. Reserving one or two for a garnish, add the walnuts to the previously blended ingredients. Blend on low to medium until the nuts are chopped into smallish pieces. Pour into a glass and stir in some chia seeds until evenly mixed. Top with a dash of cinnamon and garnish with walnuts.
Can you almost smell that fresh-baked banana bread? Enjoy!