Mint Chip 'Shamrock Shake' Smoothie

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Skip the Shamrock Shake from the fast food joint, and satisfy your craving for a creamy mint chip smoothie at home.

You can feel great about indulging in this rich, delicious treat because it's made with nutritious greens, fresh mint leaves and cacao nibs, and it's sweetened only with fruit.

I recommend adding a packet of matcha powder if you could use a little rev-up-and-go in your smoothie. It's a nice complement to these ingredients, and adds some more superfood antioxidants to the mix.

Your Healthy Mint Chip Green Smoothie is wonderful for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or as a post-workout recovery drink, because it's also packed with plant-based protein and healthy fats.

Give this a try -- it's amazingly delicious. I promise you'll thank me later.

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Ingredients

This recipe yields two 8-oz smoothies

  • 2 Medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 tsp JOI almond base (see notes below)
  • 1 frozen banana (a fresh banana will work; adjust ice as noted below)
  • 1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein powder (see notes below)
  • 1 large handful fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ of a ripe avocado
  • 1 cup baby spinach, firmly packed
  • 1 tsp matcha powder (optional for an extra energy boost)
  • 1-2 tsp raw cacao nibs (plus more as topping, if desired)
  • ½ cup of crushed ice (or 1 cup of ice if you used a fresh banana)
  • 1 cup coconut water

Ingredient notes:

  • I love JOI almond base. It's delicious, and in my mind, a more eco-friendly way to use almond milk, because you add the water at home yourself, rather than having boxes of (mostly) water shipped to grocery stores. Plus, no added fillers -- only one ingredient: almonds. I love adding it to smoothies like this, and then I add coconut water as the liquid, for extra nutrients. I recommend picking up some JOI, and if you use code GREENSAGELIFE at checkout, you'll save 10%.

Instructions

1. In a heat-proof bowl, place the two pitted Medjool dates and cover them with hot water. Let stand to soften for 10 minutes.

2. Halve your avocado, and then slice one half in half again. Slide one quarter out with a spoon and place it in the blender.

All we need is a quarter of an avocado for this smoothie, so save the rest for another use -- I recommend a salad or tacos!

3. Chop your fresh or frozen banana and transfer it to the blender. Note: If you're using a fresh banana, you'll need to add more ice later so your smoothie will have that semi-frozen consistency. Instructions below.

4. Add the vanilla plant-based protein to the blender, and the matcha powder, if using (optional).

5. Add the softened dates to the blender, as well as the baby spinach, fresh mint leaves, crushed ice (half cup of ice if you used a frozen banana; whole cup if you used a fresh banana), JOI almond base, and raw cacao nibs.

6. Add a cup of coconut water, and then blend all the ingredients together. Begin on the slowest blender setting, and gradually increase the speed until you've reached the blender's highest speed. Blend until smooth.

7. Transfer the smoothie to two 8-oz glasses. Top with a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if desired.

8. Serve with a reusable straw.

Enjoy! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What’s healthy about this recipe?

Obviously, when compared to a fast food shake, this green smoothie is a godsend for your health. But let's talk about specifics...

Plant-based protein: The exact amount will depend on the brand of plant-based protein powder you chose. But the banana, avocado, spinach, cacao nibs, almond puree and dates all contribute some, too. That’s right! All fruits and veggies have protein, so don't worry so much. You're getting what you need from plants.

Breaking news! Spinach is good for you. Just kidding, of course, about the "news" part -- everyone surely has an idea that spinach is good for you. More specifically, it is a great source of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2 and calcium. In this recipe, we're sneaking it in to enhance the beautiful green color and nutritional value (but you won't taste it!)

Fresh mint leaves provide a nice dose of Vitamin A, iron, manganese and folate, as well as a huge antioxidant boost.

Avocados are loaded with fiber and potassium, as well as offering Vitamins C and B-6, magnesium and iron, while bananas bring in an additional boost of the same nutrients.

Matcha green tea powder is loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help repair damage to cells, as well as reduce inflammation in the body. Personally, I find that the stimulating effect of matcha curbs my appetite, and I’ve read it also boosts the metabolism, so these properties could help for weight loss, as well, if that’s a goal of yours.

Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes to help keep you sufficiently hydrated, as well as Vitamin C. It's often referred to as nature's Gatorade. I love to use it as the liquid in all my smoothies.

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