There’s something very 80s about the smoothie. (I’m willing to wager that Jane Fonda knocked back a few of the frosty drinks in her Lycra and legwarmer days.) In my young 80s-saturated mind, every low-fat-crazed Californian got from one place to the other on roller skates, palm trees swaying in the distance, smoothie in hand. (Maybe the occasional Tab, but usually a smoothie.) And I didn’t have an Orange Julius or Smoothie King or their ilk nearby when I was growing up, but you could sense them out there, peddling their sherbet-hued blends and a Sweet Valley High wholesomeness from food courts at the mall.
Of course, many of those food court frosties had actual sherbet involved and weren’t particularly healthy, but made at home with pick-of-the-season strawberries and yogurt, smoothies are perfectly fresh and nourishing, with a naturally sweet, creamy flavor and satisfying, frozen-treat texture from crushed ice. (Forget you, Frappuccino. Homemade smoothies for everyone!) If you’re using plain Greek-style strained yogurt, as I did, you may want to add a bit of honey to sweeten your drink; many brands of traditional yogurt are aggressively sweetened already and won’t need it. As the season progresses, try adding blueberries, raspberries or blackberries to the mix.
And to be honest, I’m a little scared of the grocery store aisle with all those packaged whey proteins and wheatgrass and whatnot, but you’re welcome to up the nutritional ante as you like. I happened to have some flax seed meal in the freezer and mixed a few teaspoons into my drink (purported benefits: fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants). Couldn’t hurt, I figure, though the flax seed is certainly optional. Like, totally.
makes about one pint
- 8 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (or frozen berries out of season)
- half a medium banana
- 2 tsp flax seed meal (optional)
- 1/2 C yogurt (plain, vanilla or strawberry flavored)
- honey or agave syrup to taste
- about 1 C ice cubes
In a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until pureéd into a smooth-textured drink with little flecks of ice and seeds, scraping down the sides with a spatula halfway through. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.