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Smoothie recipes and protein shakes

By Jane Darling

Use your blender to knock up some tasty and healthy smoothies or protein shakes, or why not try your hand at a cocktail or two?

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Great-tasting smoothies, muscle-building protein shakes and classic cocktails are simple to make with a blender – just pop all the ingredients into the jug then whizz together.

Get the most out of your jug blender, mini blender or Nutribullet by experimenting with different drinks and recipes. We've put together a list of ideas as inspiration. If you've never tried making homemade cocktails with your blender, why not have a go? 

If you're thinking about making smoothies or protein shakes as part of a health drive, make sure you've got a decent blender to help you along. Use our independent blender reviews to find the best jug blender or personal blender for you.

Smoothie recipes

One of the great things about smoothies is how versatile they can be – you can mix almost any combination of fruit, veg, dairy and other extras such as nuts, oats and spices. You can get really creative by experimenting with different combinations - although some might turn out tastier than others!

If you're on a health drive, we've got a top tip. By using a small amount of punchy root ginger, you can mask the taste of the less pleasant-tasting veg, such as kale leaves, in your smoothies.

Smoothie recipes to try

Easy chocolate milkshake

250ml milk
2 scoops of chocolate ice cream

Fruit smoothie for a taste of summer

100g fresh blackberries
100g fresh raspberries
100g fresh blueberries
1 peeled banana
100ml natural yoghurt
100ml milk
Dash of maple syrup to sweeten if needed

Banana smoothie with a boost

1 peeled and frozen banana
150ml milk
1 tbsp honey
4 tsp malted chocolate drink powder (eg Ovaltine)
1 tsp strong coffee or 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

Which? lab test fruit and veg smoothie

1 peeled banana
50g spinach
50g frozen raspberries
50g blueberries
30g almonds
200ml apple juice

Protein shake recipes to try

Turning your smoothie into a protein shake can be a convenient way to get maximum nutritional value. They're especially popular with people who exercise strenuously, as whey or protein powder can help to rebuild muscle after workouts.

Before you buy protein powder, you should always read the packet carefully to make sure it won't have any adverse effects on your health.

Delicious dairy protein shake

1 scoop protein powder
1 peeled banana
1cm piece of fresh root ginger (peeled and sliced)
100ml natural yoghurt
2 tbsp honey
100ml milk

Peanut butter protein shake

1 peeled banana
150ml natural yoghurt
100ml milk
1 tbsp natural peanut butter (without added oil)
1 tbsp chia seeds
Cinnamon to taste

Coconut and ginger protein shake

1 scoop protein powder
1 peeled banana
200ml coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
1cm piece of fresh root ginger (peeled and sliced)
Honey to taste (optional)

Mango lassi protein smoothie

1 mango, cut into chunks
150ml natural yoghurt
100ml cold water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch ground cardamom
1 tsp chopped pistachios

Spice carrot protein shake

1 scoop protein powder
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 mango, cut into chunks
150ml cold water

Cocktail recipes to try

As well as creating everyday smoothies, your blender can also kick-start a party if you use it to mix cocktails.

All recipes shown are for guidance only, as are any measurements. For best results, play around with the recipes until you find the one that tastes best to you.

Strawberry daiquiri

Large shot rum
30ml lime juice
Ice cubes
Strawberries, one small handful, cleaned and de-stalked
1 tsp sugar

Classic margarita

1 shot tequila
1 shot triple sec
60ml lime juice
Ice cubes

Serve in a salt-rimmed glass

Bloody Mary

1 shot vodka
Tomato juice to top up
2 drops Tabasco
5ml Worcester sauce
Salt and pepper (optional)
Lemon juice

Serve with a stick of celery

Fruity gin cocktail

Raspberries, one small handful
Fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 shot gin
50ml ginger ale
Lime juice

Garnish with a fresh raspberry

Cranberry juice cocktail 

50ml gin
50ml cranberry juice
Plenty of ice

Serve with a wedge of lime

What are the benefits of homemade smoothies?

Pros

  • Freshly made smoothies are the healthiest. Shop-bought drinks are often gently pasteurised in order to extend their shelf life, which means some of the goodness is lost
  • You can devise your own recipes and - potentially - save money
  • They're fun to make

Cons

  • It takes time to blend them and wash up afterwards
  • Fruit availability can be seasonal, and supermarkets can be expensive. You’ll need to buy in bulk to get the biggest savings

Tempted to get blending? Find the best blender for you, whether you're keen to crush ice for cocktails, make smoothies or whip up some protein shakes, by heading to our blender reviews.

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