This recipe was inspired by a popular juice shop that a friend brought me to one day. I tried it and immediately knew I needed to recreate it. My version is a little less sweet, however you can always add more dates/coconut nectar if you'd like. The cashews also add creaminess, but if you'd prefer less calories you can definitely leave them out without sacrificing flavor.
My goal in recreating this smoothie was to up the nutrient profile, so I added the fully-loaded "superfood" spirulina. Spirulina is a potent blue-green algae that, like many foods and herbs, has several benefits. It's an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and two of it's most poignant features include it's chlorophyll and protein content.
The beautiful green color of spirulina comes from it's chlorophyll content. Think back to grade school when you learned about photosynthesis - chlorophyll is what allows plants to absorb and create energy from sunlight. Now think about that for a second - chlorophyll literally takes sun's light and turns it into energy (through the process of photosynthesis) like magic. And this same magic, you can EAT! So it's kind of like eating the sun. Ok, maybe that's too far, but I like to think of it that way...Spirulina is also 50-70% protein by weight, and contains all essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). And because spirulina does not have cellulose walls, the protein is easily digestible and highly bioavailable. However, while spirulina is an excellent protein source, a typical serving size is around a couple teaspoons, so I wouldn't use it as a main source of dietary protein.
Since spirulina is such a dense source of nutrients, a little bit goes a long way. If you decide to start incorporating it into your regular diet, start off slow. Although there are no known negative side effects of spirulina, it could take your body some time to adjust. Spirulina is super cleansing and detoxifying, so depending on your current state of health, the effects of detoxification can sometimes feel like excitement, sleepiness, or skin breakouts. Start gradually and always listen to your own body.
- 1 c homemade vanilla almond milk
- handful of spinach
- 1/4 tsp spirulina
- 1 frozen banana
- 2-3 drops pure mint extract
- 1/4 c cashews, optional
- 1 - 1.5 tbsp cacao nibs
- To a blender, add all ingredients except the cacao nibs.
- Blend on high until smooth. If you want a creamier texture, add cashews.
- Taste and adjust. If banana isn’t sweet enough, add 1-2 dates. If you like more mint, add another drop or two.
- Add in cacao and pulse or blend for just 2-3 seconds, until slightly chopped and mixed throughout.
- Pour into a glass and top with extra cacao nibs. Or, freeze in popsicle molds!