Everyone has their favorite way to make a smoothie, and you don't need a specific recipe. Below are the basic smoothie components and ways to incorporate other food items you may have on hand,.
Liquid base - sometimes water is all you have available, but consider making use of these other liquids you might have hiding in your fridge:
- juice - any type of fruit or veggie juice can add needed liquid and extra flavor to a smoothie. Consider a smoothie a way to use up a "fun" flavored juice you bought or made but didn't love the flavor of.
- milk - so many different types of milk out there to choose from and they don't all work well in coffee or cereal. If you have some opened milk in the fridge and can't think of a way to use it up, a smoothie might be it! (even the last bit of a can of coconut milk can add some creamy coconut flavor to a smoothie)
*Tip for saving liquids - consider saving any remaining juice or milk for future smoothies by freezing it in an ice cube tray. When you're ready to make another one, just pull from your cubes and add some extra water.
Fruits and veggies - summer is a great time to start your smoothie freezer bag to catch fresh fruits and veggies that are past their prime:
- bananas - bananas add a great dense, creamy texture to smoothies, especially when they're frozen! Consider starting a freezer bag of just bananas. We like to peel and break them into rough 2" chunks for easy blending and portioning.
- overripe or bland fruit - sometimes everything ripens at the same time, or a beautiful fruit takes on a grainy texture (stringy mangoes) or bland flavor. Give these fruits a rough chop (remove super mushy or moldy bits), and throw them into a freezer container for your next smoothie. You can also put them straight into the blender.
- wilted and surplus greens - kale, spinach, and even lettuce, can be easily hidden in a refreshing smoothie. If you have time (and a LOT of greens to process), you can blend these with a bit of water and freeze into ice cubes to add to smoothies (see Freezing Spinach).
Additions - when making a smoothie, consider what bits and pieces of ingredients you may have lingering in your fridge, freezer, or pantry:
- yogurt - similar to milk and juice, there are so many flavors and types out there and they can't all be good (lemon? pumpkin?). Smoothies can dilute flavors and use up the last of what you have.
- baking ingredients - how many packages of opened baking ingredients do you have hiding in your pantry? Flax meal, chia seeds, and dried coconut, are recently unearthed treasures that are quickly being used up in our household by adding them to smoothies. How satisfying is it to throw away an empty package that you know has been sitting forgotten for much too long!
- ice cream - maybe controversial, but consider throwing in the last bits of sorbet and ice cream into your smoothie. Sometimes it's just a satisfying way to clean out some freezer space and adds a little extra sweetness (offset and balanced with handfulls of spinach, of course).
There are undoubtedly more fun and tasty ingredients that you may find in your home to add to smoothies. Please share your favorites with us in the comments below!
What to do when you've made too much smoothie:
1. Premade smoothies for later
- Pour extra smoothie into single serving jars (whatever single serving means to you), seal with a lid, and place them in the freezer. Make sure not to overfill jars above the shoulders as they can crack!
- Pull premade smoothie out of the freezer and move it to the fridge the night before or when you first wake up. Depending on the size of your jar, it'll be mostly thawed in a number of hours.
- Shake the jar vigorously to even out the texture, breaking up remaining frozen chunks. Enjoy!
2. Popsicles (see Surplus Fruit Popsicles)
- Pour remaining smoothie into popsicle molds, ice cube trays, muffin tins, or whatever other small containers you might have on hand.
- Freeze until solid and enjoy!