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Shake it up! Refreshing smoothie recipes for summer

Today
Tropical fruits like papaya and mango make an even bigger flavor impact when blended into a smoothie with ingredients like curry powder or ginger.

Smoothies are a quick, easy way to pack lots of fruit and vegetables into one nutritious glass. They make a great snack or meal replacement whenever you want to get outside and enjoy the sun. An energizing way to start the day, smoothies are also satisfying as a light lunch, as a nutrient-dense booster snack, or even for dessert. 

The smoothie recipes below can be made with any kind of blender. When I was developing recipes for my cookbook, "The Blender Girl" (Ten Speed Press, 2014), I had 55 testers blending all over the world using all makes and models. To get the best results when using a conventional blender (as opposed to a high-speed machine like a Vitamix), make sure to pre-soak fibrous foods like nuts, seeds and dates. 

Note: If you need to prepare your smoothie ahead of time, the best way to preserve it for a few hours is to seal it in a glass jar in the fridge, or freeze it (for consumption within a few days) in a mason jar, leaving an inch at the top to allow for the expansion of liquids. Then just shake or reblend to revive!  

Papaya pleasure

Papaya is so hydrating in the warm weather. Combine it with almond milk, and you get a delicious, earthy flavor that's beautifully accented by the ginger and cinnamon. Mix papaya with other cleansing foods like flax and lemon, and you have the ultimate morning skin food.

Make 2 servings

  • 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond milk (strained if homemade)
  • 2 cups (320g) roughly chopped papaya
  • 3/4 cup (120g) roughly chopped fresh or frozen mango
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 5 drops alcohol-free liquid stevia, plus more to taste (or substitute 1 teaspoon or more of coconut nectar or agave nectar)
  • 1 cup (125g) ice cubes

Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may want more ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest or sweetener).

Tropical fruit curry

When you add curry powder and spicy ingredients to tropical fruits, the combination creates a wonderful flavor alchemy—plus it has anti-inflammatory benefits. If you don't feel quite that bold, simply omit the spicy flavors.

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups (480ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
  • 1 cup (160g) diced mango, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (160g) diced pineapple, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (160g) diced peaches, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups (250g) ice cubes (if using fresh fruit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of natural salt (such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt; optional)
  • Natural sweetener (such as maple syrup, coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or coconut sugar; optional, to taste)

Toss everything into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may want more lime zest, curry, pepper flakes or sweetener).

Berries and cream smoothie

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, this dessert-like shake tastes just like a bowl of berries with melted ice cream. Save this one for treat time!

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 ½ cups water or coconut water
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (I used raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries)
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews (soak first if using a conventional blender; see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • Pinch of natural salt (such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt; optional)

To soak the cashews: You can place in a bowl of room-temperature water for two hours and then rinse thoroughly; or you can cover in boiling water for 10 minutes, to destroy the live enzymes but still soften the cashews for the smoothest blending.

Throw everything into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Chocolate-chile shake

This drink is reminiscent of a decadent chocolate pudding. Omit the spiciness if you're serving this to children, and add some cinnamon or orange instead. This is a great way to sneak some greens into your kids' meals or snacks.  

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk)
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter or peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch natural salt (such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt; optional)

Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy. 

Today
Savory ingredients like onion and spinach in a pineapple drink? This salsa-like smoothie is as unusual as it is extra-delicious.

Pineapple salsa smoothie

I love this smoothie because it has such a dimension of flavors. Onion in a smoothie? If you use just a small amount, it really works to add a lovely middle note. It also balances out the sweetness of the pineapple and the spiciness of the chile. Give it a go. You won't be sorry. 

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup (240ml) coconut water or water
  • 2 ½ cups (400g) diced pineapple, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (43g) firmly packed baby spinach
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped red onion, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup (7g) finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño chile, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of finely grated lime zest
  • Pinch of natural salt (such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt; optional, to taste)
  • 1 cup (125g) ice cubes (none if using frozen pineapple)
  • Natural sweetener (such as maple syrup, coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or coconut sugar; optional, to taste)

Put all of the ingredients into your blender in the order listed and puree for about one minute, until smooth and creamy. Tweak flavors to taste (you may want more onion, jalapeño, lime juice, salt or sweetener, depending on the ripeness of your pineapple; I find I never need it, but different strokes . . . ).

Tess Masters is a cook,blogger and author of "The Blender Girl" cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Follow her on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram,You Tube and Google +Pineapple salsa smoothie, Papaya pleasure, and Tropical fruit curry recipes reprinted with permission from "The Blender Girl."

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