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Healthy Paleo Smoothie

Healthy Paleo Smoothie

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

This healthy Paleo smoothie reminds me of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, but more smooth(ie) and creamy. And it’s completely dairy-free and vegan, with a deep, rich chocolate taste.

Do I really need a recipe?

I can’t remember when smoothies first became a “thing,” but I do remember kind of rolling my eyes 🙄 at the whole idea of a smoothie “recipe.” I mean, can’t you just throw a bunch of stuff in a blender and let it rip? Well, you can… but until you have some experience, you probably don’t really want to.

There are a bunch of different elements to a good smoothie experience (stop rolling your eyes!). If you’ve ever just thrown a bunch of ingredients together, you probably know what I mean. There’s temperature (cold is the way to go—trust me), thickness, color (a greenish brown smooth is just … gross) and of course taste.

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

You also want a smooth to be easy. You don’t really want to have to cook anything before you make that smoothie. Oh, and it has to actually be smooooooth. I’ve made smoothies in the name of recipe-testing that have taken way too long to make, and then weren’t even smooth.

If you’re drinking it with a straw, you shouldn’t have to chew. I think we can all agree on that!

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

Blenders

You don’t need a high-powdered, $400 blender to make a smoothie. Of course, the better your blender, the smoother your drink will be. Over the years, I’ve had nearly every kind of blender and they all have their pros and cons.

Most recently, after my most-ordinary-of-blenders died, I purchased a NutriBullet since smoothies are a regular thing in my house. (They’re great for growing athletes!) I have the Magic Bullet 900 Series (affiliate link—but shop around!). I bought it on sale, with coupons. It’s already paid for itself since I can’t remember the last time my youngest absolutely begged to go to Jamba Juice for an overpriced smoothie.

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

Ingredients and Substitutions

Medjool dates are crazy soft and sweet, can be blended very smooth and they add a great deal of nutrition along with that sweetness. I think it’s unrealistic to eliminate sweetness completely, but anytime I can use an unrefined source, I’m game to try.

Deglet Noor dates are smaller and drier than Medjool, but they tend to be very widely available. They work perfectly well, too.

Cocoa powder. When there are so few ingredients in a recipe, it really makes all the difference when you use the right ones, so try to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder if you can. I use Rodelle brand, and I buy it on amazon. But regular Hershey’s natural cocoa powder works fine, too.

Bananas. Frozen bananas add sweetness, creaminess, and thickness to this smoothie like no other frozen fruit can do quite as well. Frozen mangoes add similar texture and thickness, but of course, a different taste to smoothies. I haven’t tried replacing the bananas with mangoes in this recipe since I’m not entirely sure how they’d pair with the cocoa powder. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

Get in the habit of peeling, slicing and freezing bananas this summer in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Once they’re frozen, pop them in a zipper-top bag. They won’t brown or get mushy, and they add the perfect texture to your healthy smoothies. You can also use those bananas to make banana bread. Just let them defrost first at room temperature, or pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds before mashing them.

Milk. I like unsweetened and unflavored almond milk best in this recipe, but coconut milk from the carton works great, too. If you’re not dairy free, go ahead and use cow’s milk. They all work!

If you’re dairy free, Lindsay from Cotter Crunch has this awesome-looking Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan (Gluten Free, Dairy Free). Since my oldest is currently (and newly) dairy free, I’m super interested in it!

Click play ▶️ on the how-to video below, and see just how easy it is to make this creamy, rich and healthy smoothie!

A healthy Paleo smoothie made with just 4 ingredients, including almond or coconut milk, dates, bananas, and cocoa powder. Like chunky monkey, but without any added sugar!

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

3 cups (24 fluid ounces) unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk

1 pound Medjool dates, pitted

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed is best, if possible)

14 ounces (5 to 6 bananas), sliced and frozen on a baking sheet in a single layer

Directions

  • Place the milk in your blender first, followed by the dates and cocoa powder. Blend until completely smooth. Add the frozen banana slices, and blend again until smooth.

  • Serve immediately. Store any leftover smoothies covered in the refrigerator. It may thin a bit but should stay relatively thick.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2013. Recipe proportions tweaked slightly, video and photos new, text modified.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Cathy
    June 11, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    I just made a single serving and yummy! I have used dates to make a salted Carmel sauce to mix in vegan ice cream. A recipe from someone else that was very delicious.

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 12, 2017 at 6:37 AM

      So glad you enjoyed this, Cathy! Salted caramel sauce made with dates sounds lovely.

  • Dana Schwartz
    June 11, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    You’re so right, smoothies DO need recipes! At least until you get the hang of the combo of ingredients. I love this one and will make it for my insanely picky five year old who is an avowed and selective chocoholic. I’ll let you know the result! (Haven’t forgotten about you Nicole or your fab website, from long time reader and former comment-aholic turned seasoned lurker.)

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 12, 2017 at 6:37 AM

      Dana!!!! I’m so happy to hear from you, my friend. I remember your chocolate-loving, picky child. I hope she loves this smoothie. Indeed it is best not to wing it, unless you have a lot of tolerance for choking down mistakes. :)

  • Karla
    June 7, 2017 at 11:11 AM

    I love me some smoothies. My go-to blend is a mix of iced coffee and coconut milk/coconut almond milk + frozen bananas (if they’re on the greener side there’s less sugar) + flaxseed meal + chia seed + cocoa powder + stevia + a handful of greens + frozen cherries OR peanut butter (depending on which flavor I want). I’ve also added a raw egg for added protein but don’t do this all the time.

    • Nicole Hunn
      June 8, 2017 at 2:24 PM

      Wow, Karla, that’s pretty hard core! I only add greens to smoothies with either mango or pineapple, as they stay green. If you added greens to this smoothie, the color would be awful!

  • Donia Robinson
    June 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Hi Nicole, I had thought of another bake free dessert. Drumsticks! My daughter loved these pre-celiac disease, and I have not seen any available GF. It would take a little finessing – waffle cone with no hole in the bottom, lined with a chocolate ganache, filled with a soft ice cream, hardened, dipped, etc. I don’t think I could do it myself. Food for thought for you. ;)

  • Karen
    June 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Yum! May I offer a variety on this? Add an avocado, and instead of dates use stevia to sweeten. Delicious!

  • Julie Hodge
    June 25, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Thank you for the healthy recipe. I love using dates to sweeten stuff. I make a chocolate chip cookie pie using oats, beans, and dates. Gluten free and much more delicious than it sounds :)

  • Jennifer Sasse
    June 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    healthy and chocolate in the same sentence? Sign me up! Yahoo! I love your Paleo streak – keep it coming!

  • No Gluten Here
    June 25, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Adding it to my list of weekend smoothies!! Looks so yummy! Thanks Nicole!

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