Last weekend, I found myself one Christmas cookie away from an uncomfortable breakup with my jeans. All of those holiday indulgences were delicious, but like many of us, I resolved to start the New Year on a lighter note. Frozen fruit smoothies are a great way to add fruit to your diet, especially when fresh produce isn’t at its peak. I like to add fresh mint leaves and ginger to these Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothies, for a fun, refreshing, and satisfying twist on a classic.
Smoothies always make me feel like a kid again. My mother and I often made fruit and yogurt smoothies for an after school treat in the 80’s and early 90’s. The base of this recipe has been my “go-to” ever since then. Back in the day, Greek yogurt wasn’t readily available in the US, so we always used plain yogurt in our smoothies. They were delicious, but once the Greek yogurt craze hit, I started making the substitution and haven’t looked back. Low-fat Greek yogurt is a wonderful natural protein source. It also adds extra creaminess and a light tang to smoothies that balances the sweetness of the fruit well. I absolutely love it.
Fresh ginger and mint leaves are optional add-ins to this smoothie, but I think they’re a really lovely addition to the classic strawberry-banana pairing. I started adding ginger and mint to my smoothies after visiting a local juice bar that favors both of these ingredients in many of their blends. I prefer not to be heavy-handed with them in smoothies; just a touch of each as supporting flavors. The mint brings brightness to the sweet fruit, while the ginger wakes up the smoothie with a hint of spice in the background that’s present, but not overly assertive.
I love my smoothies frosty-cold and just thick enough to drink though a large straw. In most smoothie recipes, I find that using a least a portion of frozen fruit results in the best texture and flavor. Using all fresh fruit will create a thinner consistency, which is often chilled and thickened by adding ice to the blender. When using frozen fruit, there’s no need to add ice, yielding a thick smoothie with a rich fruit flavor. Freezing your own fruit at home is easy and a great way to savor the best of your local farmers’ market’s pickings year-round. It’s an especially welcome taste of summer in my kitchen once December’s festivities end and the cold winter months set in!
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups orange or pineapple juice
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups cleaned and frozen strawberries (unsweetened, about 8.5 ounces weighed)
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (optional)
- 1/4 cup loosely-packed fresh mint leaves (optional)
- honey or agave for sweetening (optional, if your berries are particularly tart)
- Place 1 cup juice, yogurt, strawberries, banana, ginger, and mint in a blender in the order listed, and blend until smooth and creamy.* Add additional juice to thin, if needed, to reach your desired smoothie consistency. If desired, add sweetener to taste, blending to combine. Serve immediately.