Remember when we chatted about my favorite overnight oats and I mentioned that when I’m not eating oats for breakfast I usually have a smoothie? Well, naturally I assumed you were all hankering for my go-to smoothie recipe after that teaser and I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. It’s incredibly simple, packed with nutrients, and even a secret protein-packed ingredient that helps make this smoothie feel like a real meal! There are a million recipe versions of this smoothie floating around the internet, but this formula that I’ve landed on finally feels like one I want to make over and over again. Spicy ginger, sweet pineapple, and a serving of vegetables that you can’t even taste? Let’s do this.
Green smoothies can look a little scary, but the rest of the ingredients truly mask the taste of any greens. My go-to green is spinach, as its flavor is mild, it’s widely available, and relatively inexpensive. To sweeten the smoothie and also give us the creamy tropical flavor, we use frozen bananas and pineapple chunks. You don’t need a lot of banana – I use just a quarter of a banana per smoothie. Pineapple is key, as the strong sweet flavor pairs perfectly with my favorite part of the smoothie – fresh ginger! Ginger and I are kind of having a moment right now – I can’t get enough! There’s something about the refreshingly spicy kick of ginger in my morning smoothie that wakes me right up. I peel fresh ginger, cut it into chunks, and freeze the chunks so I can pop them right in the blender with my ingredients and don’t have to worry about the ginger going bad. I haven’t tried using ground ginger, but wouldn’t suggest it here, with so few flavors, the freshness of each one is really key!
Now that we’ve got our smoothie base down, are you ready for my secret smoothie ingredient? It’s…. cottage cheese! Stay with me. Many of the recipes I’ve seen for smoothies use Greek yogurt, protein powder or even avocado to make the smoothie extra creamy and add in nutrients. Greek yogurt I love, but don’t like in this recipe, as it’s tangy flavor competes too much with the ginger. Protein powder also throws off the texture, and I truly just cannot get behind avocado in smoothies. As a true avocado worshipper, I would never want to try to hide one like that; also, that would be quite the expensive daily treat! So, I experimented with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese may get a bad rep, but its flavor is milder than yogurt, it is just as nutritious, and provides just the extra creaminess you want in this smoothie. Plus, it helps make this feel like much more of a meal and gets me closer to an acceptable lunch time before I’m dreaming of whatever awaits me from the work fridge (thank goodness for co-workers who are also strict 12:01 PM lunch eaters).
I shared a sneak peak of my smoothie meal prep over on Instagram last week (if you’re part of the insta world and want to follow along as I share much more casual/ spontaneous pictures of my food, you can find me at @guacfordinner). Pre-coffee “cooking” requires being able to dump everything in a blender and hit “go,” so I’ve been making myself smoothie packets complete with the frozen pineapple, banana, ginger and spinach. In the morning, I add the cottage cheese and almond milk, and let it all blend up. This is also a great way to freeze your banana ahead of time: slice a banana, divide it between four bags, then add the pineapple, a chunk of ginger and spinach (if you want) and you’ll be good to go!
Finally comes the best part – devouring your smoothie! You can drink this straight with a straw or pour it into a bowl and feel extra hip by eating it smoothie-bowl style. Smoothie-bowls are my default, and I like to play with the toppings – sometimes I use granola (this one is a great topper), sometimes I go for something a little more tropical like coconut flakes and kiwi slices. Regular old chopped almonds would also be delicious – anything with a little extra texture is perfect.
A quick note on blenders: smoothie bowls require a thicker texture; if you have a really good blender, or a lot of patience, I think you can make this work with about a 1/4 of liquid and 1/4 cup of cottage cheese. I tend to do a 1/2 cup of each if I’m eating this for breakfast, and the smoothie is still plenty thick, provided you eat it relatively quickly :). I wouldn’t add more liquid than that though, if you plan on eating it out of a bowl. Frozen everything (pineapple, banana, ginger, and spinach) also helps with thickness!
Green Pineapple Ginger Smoothie
Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 large smoothie
1/4 – 1/2 cup low-fat or regular cottage cheese (if I’m eating this for a meal I use 1/2 cup)
1/4 – 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (start with 1/4 cup if trying to make a smoothie bowl)
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/4 of a large banana, previously sliced and frozen
1 cup fresh spinach (or fresh spinach that has been frozen; fresh spinach will blend more smoothly and give you a brighter green color!)
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger (or about 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed (for optimal blending) and blend until smooth. Stop and stir as needed with a spoon until it blends smoothly. Pour into a glass or bowl and top with fruit, granola, coconut flakes, or anything else you desire!