Adding creaminess to smoothies without dairy

by Khushboo on August 4, 2014

Guys…I hit the almond milk jackpot!  All of Mumbai seems to have run out of stock, but I managed to find one guy who still had a few packets remaining.  Like any normal almond milk hoarder person, I naturally bought him out completely.  These will come so handy on the days I don’t have any homemade almond milk in the fridge.  If only the latter didn’t turn rancid so quickly! 

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Especially as I am still on a smoothie kick, I am pretty sure this stash won’t last long.  With not a drop of almond milk at home last week, I resorted to using water in my smoothies & the texture turned out rather dismal.  I prefer thick & creamy smoothies, so drinking a watered smoothie just didn’t cut it.  As I am still trying to avoid eating dairy in my day-to-day diet, I started to think of other ways to add creaminess to smoothies.  Fortunately I got much more than what I bargained for.  Along with adding creaminess to smoothies without dairy, each one of these add-ins boost my smoothie’s overall nutrition.

  • Frozen fruit: Using fresh fruit & ice in smoothies is so 90s–> stop doing it!  Unlike ice, frozen fruit makes a smoothie thick and cold without diluting its flavors.  The key is to wait till the fruit has over-ripened and then slice it up before sticking it in the freezer.  From past experience, I’ve found that frozen bananas are particularly crucial to create a rich, creamy texture.  Other frozen fruit favorites of mine include berries, cantaloupe, mangoes & peaches. 

photo 1

  • Avocado: Before you turn your nose up, keep in mind that avocadoes are essentially a fruit. You guys know I love my avocado on toast, but I’ve recently grown to love them in smoothies too.  The creamy texture of avocadoes makes them a perfect addition & also an ideal way to use up overripe avocadoes.  I usually use ¼ – 1/3 of an avocado per smoothie, which is enough to create a richer & creamier consistency.

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  • Chia seeds: From omega 3s to magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, fiber and so much more- we already know that chia seeds are a nutritional goldmine.  Chia seeds are also hydrophilic, meaning they swell up & retain up to 12 times their weight when soaked in liquid.  As chia seeds usually take about 15-20 minutes to fully activate, pre-soak the chia seeds for an even thicker consistency.  To form a chia gel, I usually mix 1 tablespoon of chias with 3-4 tablespoons of water.
  • Xanthan gum: I know, I know, this sounds like a scary ingredient that we shouldn’t be consuming.  Rest assured, it’s an all-natural & gluten-free food thickener that’s derived from the outside of a tiny bacterium.  Although it imparts no flavor, adding just ¼ – ½ of xanthan gum is enough to thicken up a smoothie’s overall texture.  If I’m making a smoothie bowl, I tend to use a bit more.  

xanthan gum smoothie

As my previous (and ancient) blender used to leave a few pieces of fruit uncrushed,  I also bought a new blender: Oster MyBlend Personal Blender.  While it’s no Vitamix or NutriBullet, it’s powerful enough to create a thick & creamy consistency…and didn’t cost me an arm or a leg. 

oster

Source

Side note: how cute that the sports bottle fits right into the blender base- I just need to replace the blade with the drinking lid.

How do you add creaminess to your smoothies? 

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

sumathi August 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

i love silk almond and soymilk but i find it gets thick and curd like within 3 days of opening the pack….i am unable to keep it in the refrigerator more than 2 days and i am unabe to consume it so soon…..what do i do?

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Fortunately I’ve never had that problem. I tend to finish a carton of milk within 3 days but on the rare occasion I haven’t, it’s lasted up to a week. Do you shake the milk before opening the packet?

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Shashi @ RunninSrilankan August 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I am guilty of using frozen fruits and avocados in my smoothies, specially love avocado’s ultra creamy texture; sometimes, I add ground up oats for a little oomph too – I haven’t tried adding chia seeds though – thanks for the tip Khushboo!
Congrats on your blender purchase and scoring ALL the almond milk in Mumbai 🙂 – and cheers to a wonderful, smoothie filled week!

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Clink clink…that’s the sound of our smoothie glasses cheers-ing with each other 🙂

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Arman @ thebigmansworld August 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Oh wow, I’m shocked you guys have silk- that is awesome! We recently (0ver the last year or so) got almond breeze and while the original tastes like water, the vanilla is alright. I actually don’t mind cow’s milk in smoothies but understand those who can’t handle dairy too well to need a good alternative! I love adding rolled oats- so good!

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I need to start adding in oats again- love the doughy flavor that they add!

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Parita @ myinnershakti August 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

We love our Silk Almond milk around here! Glad you found the goods! 🙂

And great tricks – I use frozen bananas and chia seeds in my smoothies all the time. Works like a charm!!

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

India is getting with the times..finally 😉

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig August 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

I’m with Arman – my favourite way of thickening up smoothies is with oats!

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I need to start doing it more often- love the doughy flavor oats add!

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets August 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm

While I actually love almond milk and use it in my cooking a lot, I’m strictly a fruit and greens smoothie kind of gal. I use frozen fruit or even frozen greens (when I have an abundance of kale, I blend it with a touch of water and turn it into ice cubes for future), fresh fruit and some juice. If I’m looking for a more substantial smoothie, I’ll add yogurt or some almond milk. Love the idea for an avocado though, I bet it adds the same creaminess you’d get from a banana.

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Good idea on making smoothie ice cubes…no greens go to waste! You would love avocado in smoothies- try it out!

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I’m pretty sure it’s been years since I made a smoothie without a frozen banana – it’s just essential to me!

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

It’s become an essential for me too 🙂

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I read just the title of this post and said AVOCADO! I love it in smoothies. I also love to ass winter squash, sweet potato, or tofu. Basically, I’ll put anything in a blender. 😉

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Ooh sweet potato is a great idea- do you cook it first or add it raw?

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Actually… both! I made a raw hummus:
http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2012/02/raw-sweet-potato-hummus-wiaw/

And love it just as a sweet ‘tater pie smoothie:
http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/11/liquid-sweet-potato-pie-wiaw/

And even in chia:
http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2012/02/sweet-potato-pie-chia-pudding-a-winner/

I really love sweet potatoes. LOL!

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Khushboo August 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

Oooh this has given me great ideas, especially the sweet potato pie smoothie- thank you!!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

Sure thing! I’d love to hear what you do with it!

Lucie@FitSwissChick August 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

I LOVE avocado in smoothies!! I also figured that blended oats overnight cream up a smoothie. Or coconut milk! Sooooo yummy.

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Khushboo August 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Ooh I must try blending in overnight oats- that’s a great idea!!

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sumathi August 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

yes i do shake it but the 3rd day it becomes thick and sour…….feel so bad since its expensive and would like to use it atleast in 3 to 4 days

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Khushboo August 6, 2014 at 10:27 am

Check out Amanda’s comment below – great way to ensure you don’t waste almond milk!

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Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness August 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I have become obsessed with almond milk- i’m not sure why i held out so long on trying it, but its delicious and im happy i did 🙂 and btw- you just totally took healthy living blogs to the next level with that xanthan gum bullet point– i love it, now i need to try using it!

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Khushboo August 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

Ooh you must try it in your next smoothie- start off with 1/4 teaspoon..let me know what you think 🙂

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 6, 2014 at 5:45 am

Yay for Silk! You mentioned most of my favourite smoothie thickening techniques, save for xanthan gum, which almost landed me in the hospital. I know it’s safe for the most part, but it’s not recommended for people who suffer from some kinds of digestive distress since it can bulk up and get stuck in the intestines. Lovely, I know. I also really love adding oats to smoothies to bulk the up. Oh! And have you ever tried freezing your almond milk in ice cube trays? It’s a good way to prevent it from going bad AND add creaminess to smoothies without diluting them 😀

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Khushboo August 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

OMG that’s crazy about xanthan gum- I had no idea but please be sure to stay away from it!! I haven’t tried freezing almond milk but definitely will now- thank you for the idea! I bet almond milk ice cubes would taste awesome in iced coffee too!

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sumathi August 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

ok i can freeze it but are u allowed to freeze soy milk?? does it work the same way as almond milk?? i have read in the indian soy milk packs it says “dont freeze” ………was wondering

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Khushboo August 6, 2014 at 10:37 am

I’ve never tried freezing soy milk- let me know if you give it a shot!

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sumathi August 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

sure will try and revert

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GiGi Eats August 7, 2014 at 12:25 am

Xanthan gum is CRAZY – it’s thickening power is unheard of… Except, it gives me a lot of stomach pain, so I do NOT use it very often if at all! ha! Avocado is a dream though 🙂

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Khushboo August 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

Yikes I didn’t realise that xanthan gum could cause digestive distress- good to know!!

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Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health August 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

i have nevever tried xantham gum but other ingredients you mentioned works pretty well..i recently have started doing kefir milk..

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Khushboo August 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

I’ve only tried kefir a handful times but I can imagine a kefir smoothie taste uber creamy :)!

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Jeannot August 7, 2014 at 5:40 am

I like avocado with bread, but I never tried make smothies…

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Khushboo August 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

You must try it in smoothies 🙂

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Alexis @ Hummusapien August 7, 2014 at 8:59 am

I’ve never tried xantham gum on its own, but my MCT Lean vegan protein powder has it in there and it makes my smoothies have the BEST texture. I love adding avocado…espesh frozen! DREAMY.

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Khushboo August 7, 2014 at 9:20 am

Ooh I’m looking for a new protein powder- would you say it’s better than Sunwarrior? I’m currently hooked on Warrior Blend! Defs freezing some avocado for tomorrow’s smoothie :)!

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