How to make the perfect smoothie

SlateMay 27, 2014 

FOOD PEANUTBUTTER 1 TB

The best smoothies have lots of fat and sweetness. Use 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter for a banana-peanut butter smoothie.

BILL HOGAN — MCT

The corporeal effects of blended fruit beverage consumption are apparently a matter of widespread concern. Bon Appétit sums up smoothies’ salubrious veneer and their true diabolical nature:

“In theory, smoothies seem like the perfect quick breakfast or healthy snack: a cup or so of fruit and a splash of dairy whizzed in the blender with a little ice and fruit juice. What could be so bad about that? A lot, unfortunately.

“Here’s the problem: Too much sugar (sweetened fruit juice, sugary frozen yogurt, dollops of honey, all those bananas) and too much fat (that frozen yogurt again). And if you cut out the dairy to save calories, you’re cheating yourself out of the protein fix that will keep you satisfied until it’s time for your next meal.”

Goodness. If Joseph Heller had known about smoothies, surely he would have set “Catch-22” in a Jamba Juice instead of an army camp.

How to escape this wretched dilemma? Bon Appétit suggests that you add coconut water and whey protein. I suggest that you stop caring about how healthy your smoothie is, and instead focus on making it as delicious as possible.

What constitutes a maximally delicious smoothie differs from person to person. If you like nothing better than a mango lassi, you’ll want to disembowel some mangoes. If fresh, sweet strawberries are your thing, get hulling.

For me, the best smoothie is a smoothie with peanut butter in it, because peanut butter, as a rule, makes everything better.

No matter what you put in your smoothie, you’ll want to follow one essential rule: Do not add ice. Instead, freeze your fruit before you blend. Frozen fruit will make your smoothie appropriately thick and cold, but it won’t dilute its flavors, the way ice does (nor will it melt and turn your smoothie into a watery mess). Frozen bananas are crucial to establishing a rich, creamy texture – in fact, vegans and people who fear added sugar swear by blended frozen bananas as an ice cream substitute.

Whether you add sweeteners depends on how ripe your bananas are and how naturally sweet your other fruit (if you add other fruit) is. By all means add a drizzle of honey or agave nectar, or a spoonful of sugar, if that’s all you have on hand, but I like to add dates, which, like smoothies, are a treat disguised as a health food.

Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie

2 frozen bananas

1 cup milk or nondairy milk

1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut milk

3 pitted dates

PUT the bananas, milk, peanut butter, coconut milk and dates in a blender. Process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 to 2 servings.

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