Make-Ahead Mango Almond Quinoa Smoothie
We're so pleased to have another guest post from our friend Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen! When she told me about this recipe, I was totally intrigued—I'd never heard of putting quinoa in a smoothie! But when I thought about it, I realized it was pretty genius and not actually that weird. After all, quinoa is super nutritious: it is a complete protein and provides loads of manganese, fiber and folate (crucial for you pregnant gals!). Also, although we usually treat and prepare it as a grain, it is actually a nutty-tasting seed that is a member of the same food family as spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Cool, huh?
So, check out Ann's post below and try out this unique, delicious recipe!
A number of months ago, I came across a smoothie recipe including oatmeal. Although I had often seen smoothie recipes with oatmeal blended in, I had never before tried one (even though I am a huge oatmeal fan).
What spurred me to try it was both the make-ahead concept and the promise of a thick smoothie without relying on ice or frozen fruit. So, I went about experimenting and came up with a strawberry pecan and a sweet green smoothie that I truly adore.
Then, one night, I had a crazy thought as I was lying in bed. I could try the smoothie with a similar ingredient! I often make quinoa for breakfast as an option to oatmeal. Not only is quinoa a nutritional powerhouse, it also soaks up a lot of liquid. I figured that, like the oats, the quinoa would go a long way towards creating a thick make-ahead smoothie.
The result was as I had hoped. Combined with the mango, the texture was smooth and pleasing. The flavor of quinoa is present, so if you are not a quinoa fan, simply substitute a quarter cup of old-fashioned oats. Two tablespoons of quinoa is the same net weight as a quarter cup of oats, and the varied amounts do, in fact, achieve similar results. The oatmeal flavor, however, goes almost unnoticed.
I really like these smoothies as a ready-made breakfast or lunch, and they are especially perfect as a meal on the go. Mason jars are the perfect storage and drinking vessel. Now...what combination to make next?
Make-Ahead Mango Almond Quinoa Smoothie:
- 2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa (or substitute 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/4 cup low-fat yogurt (I used vanilla 2% Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup mango, chopped
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- a scoop of vanilla protein powder, optional (I use a half scoop)
- agave or honey, or to taste
Add quinoa (or oats) and chia seeds to the blender, and blend on high until you have the texture of fine flour. Add the milk, yogurt, mango, and all remaining ingredients except the sweetener. At this point, I give everything a little stir so the dry ingredients don't poof up all over the blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides and blending again, as necessary. It is helpful to stir down to the bottom to make sure everything has been mixed in. Taste and sweeten to your liking. Blend again to distribute.
Transfer the smoothie to a 2-cup Mason jar or other container. Refrigerate overnight and shake or stir before drinking. Will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
If you want to freeze, first allow the mixture to soak for at least four hours in the refrigerator.
Note: With regard to sweetening, this will depend on how sweet your fruit is to begin with (fresh, seasonal fruit is typically sweeter than frozen, but frozen works just fine), which type of milk and yogurt you use, as well as personal preference. Protein powder can be a source of sweetness, too. Adjust to your taste preference. Keep in mind the flavors will develop as the smoothie sits in the refrigerator.