Homemade Cashew Milk

Homemade Cashew Milk

Last week, I shared my favorite recipe for almond milk. She’s simple, quick and nourishing AF. Yes, my homemade almond milk recipe goes by “she.” My obsession is real, people. She’s outlasted all my romantic relationships, and will always have a soft spot in my heart.

So it was a surprise when homemade cashew milk came along. A dear friend casually mentioned it five years ago over WhatsApp, and I was like, “what is this crazy talk?”

And yet, there it was – homemade cashew milk. Even simpler than almond milk, quicker, and dare I say, creamier too. A cashew milk that I now make once a week as a base for smoothies, cereals, pasta sauces, chia puddings, or straight up drink plain.

Because of how straightforward this recipe is, you don’t need a lot of advanced planning.

All you need is:

    • raw cashews
    • water
    • a blender (high-speed is preferable, but optional).
    • 30 minutes of soaking and 1 minute of blending.

You don’t need to peel or strain anything either – it’s the ultimate low-maintenance recipe!

Plus, cashews come in a pretty sweet package nutritionally. Check it out in the table below.

Nutrition in 1/4 cup of raw cashews:

NutrientAmountNotes
Protein5.9 gA reasonable range of amino acids.
Fats7.7 gA good balance of unsaturated and saturated fats.
Fiber1 g
Resistant starch7.6 gA soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity
Magnesium94.9 mg
Potassium214.5 mg
Phosphorus192.7 mg
OtherA good balance of copper and zinc, Vitamin K and B vitamins.

In addition, raw cashews like other raw nuts and seeds contain essential enzymes that are only activated when you soak them. Heating (roasting/boiling) will damage the enzymes, so keeping them raw increases the nutritional value.

And sure, you can buy cashew milk at the store, but I have my reservations about all store-bought nut milks (you can read about it in my almond milk recipe).

So, what are you waiting for? Time to make cashew milk!

 

Easy Homemade Cashew Milk

A creamy, dreamy cashew milk that you'll want to make every day.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 min
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Cuisine: all
Keyword: cashew milk, cashews, nut-milk, plant-based, vegan
Servings: 1 cup (8 fluid oz)

Equipment

  • Blender (high-speed one preferred)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup filtered water (more needed for soaking)

Optional

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Soak the raw cashews in filtered water for at least 30 minutes (overnight is fine too).
  • Rinse the cashews thoroughly, then add to a blender with 1 cup filtered water. Add more water to make it thinner if you like.
  • Blend for 30-60 seconds until creamy.
  • Drink, use immediately in your favorite recipe, or store for up to 3 days in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

Notes

If you plan on heating this milk, do so at a low temperature - otherwise it may separate. 
For a cool chocolate drink - Blend with a pitted date, 1 tsp raw cacao and a vanilla bean (or drop of vanilla extract).
For a cool turmeric latte - Blend with a pitted date, 1/2 tsp turmeric and a dash of black pepper.
Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk

I’ll go ahead and say it. The world doesn’t need another homemade almond milk recipe. A quick Google search brings up 149 million hits (which, granted – is a lot less than a search for ‘Brad and Jen’. Seriously, why is this still a thing, people?).

And yet, I still get loads of questions (and perplexed looks) when I talk about my homemade almond milk. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on about almond milk: how I first started making it 10 years ago without a high speed blender. How I got hooked when I found it could taste like kheer (hint: add cardamom and a date!). How it’s soo much better than store-bought…

This is probably why I don’t get invited to parties.

But that’s okay, I’m about to gate-crash your party to tell you ALL about it. Listen up – homemade almond milk is one of the simplest luxuries that you will make in your own kitchen. It’s also a nourishing substitute for dairy, especially if you’re lactose-intolerant or trying to go dairy-free.

All you need is:

    • raw almonds (soaked overnight)
    • water
    • a blender (a high-speed one like a Vitamix, Blendtec or Nutribullet is helpful for this)
    • a clean, air-tight jar or bottle to store it in.
    • optional: a nut-milk bag, cheesecloth or clean t-shirt/pantyhose (I’ll explain why this is optional).

So, what’s up with store-bought?

While I’m all about convenience, and get that homemade almond milk can be a pain to make every few days, here are my gripes with store-bought almond milk:

Gripe #1: Store-bought is full of junk (but there are exceptions).

Where to begin? First, there’s carrageenan (admittedly a type of seaweed) – a filler ingredient used to emulsify and thicken the milk. As early as the 80s, carrageenan was observed to suppress the immune system, later shown to trigger symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in sensitive digestive tracts and even suspected to be potentially carcinogenic. Some almond milk brands now pride themselves on being “carrageenan-free!” for that reason (but know that carrageenan is also in some brands of ice-cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, and deli-meats, so read the labels!).

Then there are gums like xanthan, guar, gellan and locust bean that are used as thickeners. To be fair, these gums are also used in gluten-free cooking, but what are they doing in my almond milk? No.

And, then we have BS like rapeseed oil, once again, an emulsifier, typically found in almond milk creamers. WHY, why why why! Finally, don’t get me started on the added sugar, natural flavors, etc, etc.

Here’s the thing. Almond milk is already mostly water (as it should be: almonds+water). Does it really need all the other fillers to increase its shelf-life and make it thick like milk? You tell me.

(Exceptions: check out Malk and Elmhurst, as of 1/22/20, the only brands that seem to have minimal ingredients).

Gripe #2: Store-bought is mostly water.

So is home-made almond milk. But bear with me a sec.

Almonds by themselves are nutritional powerhouses. 1/4 cup almonds contains 7g protein, 4g fiber (with prebiotic benefits), 16g healthy fats (of which 10g are monounsaturated, 4g are polyunsaturated and 1.2g is saturated), a stellar vitamin E profile (8mg or 75% of your daily required intake), a good range of B-vitamins (needed for energy production), and reasonable amounts of copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Almonds are a nutritionally balanced food.

But almonds ≠ almond milk. Let’s compare the above to the nutritional facts of a few store-bought almond milk brands.

YUM.

The problem is not the added minerals – it’s that your body may not know how to process them, when they’re consumed in an isolated form (i.e., not as a whole food).

(Exceptions: check out Malk and Elmhurst, as of 1/22/20, the only brands that seem to retain a lot more protein, fats and fiber. They’re also more expensive than other brands.)

Which begs the question – what are you paying for? Water mixed with a multivitamin? Oh, right…the packaging.

Gripe #3: Store-bought involves packaging.

That means more plastic or Tetra pak packaging that not only require resources (some sustainable, some not) to be produced, but also more packaging that you now have to recycle, reuse or discard in a way that minimizes your carbon footprint.

Tetra pak, by the way is not fully recyclable – it’s made of paper, aluminum and polythene, and only 75% (the paper portion) rebirths as a new Tetra pak, the rest goes into a polyaluminum compound that eventually ends up as a single-use plastic. And we now know that not all plastics are recycled either.

See, I told you I’d talk your ear off. Let’s get back to this recipe already!

So, what makes my homemade almond milk different?

Well, most almond milk recipes involve 5 steps: 1) soaking the almonds overnight, 2) rinsing the almonds, 3) slipping the peels off, 4) blending with water – with sea salt and yummy additions like vanilla bean, dates and more, 5) straining the milk of all the almond meal before drinking.

My recipe involves 3 steps. That’s right, the key element differentiating my recipe from the others is (my) laziness. I’ve found ways to make my homemade almond milk more convenient and a breeze to make. Will it be as creamy as the other recipes? Probably not – but it will be more nutritious, and that works for me.

Here are my 3 steps:

    • 1. Soak the almonds overnight.  This is a critical step to activate the enzymes in the almonds.
    • 2. Rinse the almonds.  Peeling the skins is optional; the skin contains potent flavonoids (antioxidants) that are bioavailable when combined with vitamin C&E. Although, some claim that the skin contains tannic acids that are nutrient inhibitors, I haven’t found specific evidence to confirm this (shh, I never peel #lazy).
    • 3. Blend! Straining the milk using a nut milk bag is optional, and will make the milk creamier. Not straining (as shown in the photo below) allows you to retain all the lovely fiber (and prebiotic benefits) and almond goodness, such as protein, healthy fats, and powerful antioxidants. Bonus – your body knows how to use them!

You can now store your almond milk in the fridge in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. Use it for smoothies, chia puddings, overnight oats and dairy-free pasta sauces. Heating this almond milk will make it separate, so heat at low temps if you must!

No-waste hack: Almond milk goes bad if stored for longer than 3 days. So to avoid the risk of waste, I now prefer to blend almond milk on-the-go. To do this:

    • Soak a bigger batch overnight – say 1 cup of almonds for 4 days.
    • Rinse and blend up what you need (usually 1/4 cup for 1 smoothie.
    • Rinse the rest and thoroughly dry them (air-drying is fine).
    • Store the remainder in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

This way, you can have fresh almond milk on demand all week!

 

Easy Homemade Almond Milk

Almonds + Water = Almond milk. No peeling, no straining, just soak, blend & drink!
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Cuisine: all
Keyword: almond milk, almonds, dairy-free, nut-milk, plant-based, vegan
Servings: 1 cup (8 fl oz)
Author: Mukta Gadkari

Equipment

  • Blender (high-speed is helpful)
  • Optional: nut-milk bag or strainer.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw almonds (organic if possible)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • pinch sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Soak the almonds in cool, filtered water overnight or for 8 hours.
  • Rinse the almonds thoroughly. (Optional: slip off the skins)
  • Place in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of filtered water, and blend for about 30 -60 seconds until smooth. (Optional: strain using a nut-milk bag and use the remaining almond meal in baking, or add to soups/stews/pasta sauces for more fiber.)
  • Use immediately, or store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 2-3 days.
7 Tips to Eat, Drink & Be Healthy this Holiday Season!

7 Tips to Eat, Drink & Be Healthy this Holiday Season!

Psst. You ready for the holidays?

 

More importantly, are you ready to stay on track with your health goals?

 

I know what you’re thinking. Health goals, shmealth goals. The party must go on!

 

But listen up. What if I told you that you could do both – party and take steps towards your healthiest self? That you can find a balance this holiday season, and that it’s easier than you think?

 

Yes, really – and without depriving yourself one bit!

 

In fact, with my 7 practical tips below, you’ll:

 

    • Gain more mental, emotional and physical energy to deal with enjoy your loved ones, conquer Black Friday sales, and block-and-tackle a crammed schedule like a pro;
    • Enjoy your favorite festive indulgences with zero guilt;
    • Handle unexpected stressors without getting sick;
    • Strengthen your immune system;
    • Begin to tune-in to your body; and
    • Get ready to knock out your health goals in the new year!

 

So, what are you waiting for? Here are my 7 tips to Eat, Drink and Be Healthy this holiday season!

 

 

1. Make every meal or snack count.

 

There’s no shortage of food during the holidays. Yet, how many of us feel truly nourished by the end of it all? The reality is: for the six weeks starting in mid-November, we’re completely inundated with festivities, holiday sales, food courts, skipped meals, workplace potlucks, and parking lot rage – it’s no wonder that we emerge on the other end feeling knackered and practically dragging ourselves into the new year.

 

Keeping yourself fueled = keeping yourself stress-free and healthy.

 

So, whether you’re hosting the Big Day or tagging along for the ride, make every meal or snack balanced, nutrient-dense and colorful with a good mix of lean protein, whole-food fats, fiber, colorful fruits and veggies and herbs & spices. Here’s why:

 

    • Lean protein: ideal for stress relief, managing anxiety, warding off carb cravings (and “hangry” episodes) and boosting your immunity! Some great sources are cage-free eggs, wild salmon, organic chicken or turkey, beans, nuts and seeds.
    • Whole-food fats: keeps your brain sharp, and belly satisfied. Some of my favorites are avocados, coconuts, almonds, walnuts, olives, eggs and wild salmon (yep, you get a 2-for-1 with some protein sources!). Hummus, guac and nut-butter are all big stars in the whole-food fat department.
    • Colorful fruits and veggies: loaded with immune-enhancing antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Grab a good mix of crunchy and leafy veggies and remember: the more colors, the more antioxidant protection you’re getting!
    • Whole-food fiber: stabilizes your blood sugar, gives you energy, and feeds your gut bacteria. Some fantastic options are whole grains, beans, veggies and seeds.
    • Herbs & spices: contain major anti-inflammatory benefits, which are great for lowering stress and strengthening your immunity. Many of these also contain impressive anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. My current go-tos are oregano, rosemary, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper and cloves.

 

And balance looks different for everyone! For me, it’s loading ½ my plate with crunchy or leafy veggies (‘coz let’s be honest, most of us don’t get enough) and at least ¼ with a filling protein and fat source. The rest is up for grabs!

 

2. Plan ahead

 

In an ideal world, we’d all eat 3 balanced meals and call it a day. But since the holidays are made for less-than-ideal situations, potential for skipped meals and loads of snacking temptations, it’s time to plan ahead.

 

And planning ahead calls for meal prep! Keep your fridge or freezer stocked with ready-to-cook, or precooked ingredients that you can throw together in a flash. My favorites are cooked beans and grains, roasted veggies (like squash, sweet potato and beets), quick-saute veggies (like peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and spinach), handy protein+fat sources like eggs, salmon, and nuts. This would be the perfect time to buy a whole roasted organic chicken, and stock up on smoked salmon or tinned sardines. It’s a lot harder to crave empty foods and succumb to mindless snacking when you have easy access to a wholesome (and delicious) meal!

 

Another strategy is to front-load your nutrition. For instance, say your day is packed with back-to-back errands, happy hours and your kid’s holiday recital. Carve out at least one meal early on that means business! Power it up with proteins and whole-food fats that keep you fuller longer, as well as energy boosting foods like green leafy veggies and whole grains. Swap out the syrupy pancakes for poached eggs and replace the hash-browns with an avocado. Blend up a wholesome smoothie with greens, fiber-rich oats, chia and flax seeds for the road. Grab a green juice or a mineral-rich bone broth when you’re out and about. Keep a handful of nuts (like raw almonds) handy in your car for a quick nourishing snack.

 

Charge up your battery with the good stuff when you can; your choices may be limited later!

 

 

3. Make friends with water

 

If you’re a water guzzler and already drink 6-8 glasses of water a day with no problem, you can skip this one. But if you’re like me – you sometimes forget to drink water AND know the holidays involve a glass or two of your favorite party-juice, then read on.

 

Around 70% of your body is made up of water. This means your cells, blood, organs, muscles and tissues all depend on your water intake. Plus, your body loses quite a bit when you sweat, pee and breathe!! And then there’s the booze-train, which will dehydrate you no matter how you sip, chug or shoot it.

 

Drinking water not only helps your body digest and absorb the food you eat, but more importantly helps your organs process and eliminate the crap that doesn’t serve you (including the remnants of alcohol). Hydrating your body also relieves stress, anxiety and fatigue, regulates your body temperature and makes your skin glow (and who doesn’t want that?).

 

So, fill up your reusable water-bottle, keep it close – and if necessary, set an alarm to drink up every few hours. Sounds ultra dorky, but it works.

 

 

4. Get off your butt!

 

I don’t care if you do the hula-hoop, walk the Turkey Trot with your mom, take a hike with your dog, rock a power yoga class, or have a dance-off with the kids. Moving your body during the holidays (ideally for at least for 20 minutes every day):

 

    • Gets your blood pumping, and helps your body detox itself (the skin is a major detox organ, so you get extra points if you break into a sweat);
    • Helps your body generate energy, lifts your mood and clears your mind;
    • Relieves stress and improves your sleep;
    • Keeps your muscles active, toned and ready to knock out those fitness goals in 2019!

Bonus: get some sunlight while you’re at it – it’s a major mood booster in the winter months!

 

5. Support the good guys in your gut

 

Yep, I’m talking about your good bacteria. Think of them as the friendly workers lining your digestive tract all the way from your mouth to your colon, breaking down your food so it’s easily digested, protecting your immune system from pathogens, microbes (bad bacteria) and viruses, and potentially lifting your mood in the process!

 

Your good bacteria thrives on fermented food – so plain yogurt, kefir, raw sauerkraut, sourdough, kombucha, kimchi and miso are all excellent food choices for them. You know what else these guys love? FIBER, found in prebiotic foods like whole grains, most veggies and beans or legumes.

 

On the flip-side, too much sugar (particularly artificial sweeteners), refined carbs, chronic stress, antibiotics and conventional meat and poultry foods containing antibiotics, can throw off the delicate balance of your gut flora, leading to digestive issues and making you vulnerable to food allergies and infections.

 

So, keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy – especially if you tend to get sick during the holidays!

 

 

6. Sleep, snooze, power-nap.

 

Sure – it can be tough to prioritize sleep when you’re hosting relatives, or have 24-hour partying on the brain. But grabbing those zzzz’s when you can, ideally 7-8 hours every night and maintaining your body’s circadian rhythm, is one easy way to ward off holiday stress, anxiety, carb cravings and the tendency to overeat. Getting too little sleep also messes with blood sugar balance! There is some evidence to show that people who sleep less have higher cortisol levels (stress hormone) at night and lower insulin sensitivity in the mornings – which over time can lead to weight gain and low-grade inflammation.

 

To deepen your sleep during the holidays, lay off the usual suspects at least 2-3 hours before bedtime, namely: caffeine, sugar, food, alcohol and screen-time. Keeping your bedroom nice and dark (away from flashy holiday lights!), and powering down with an herbal tea or essential oils (I love a bit of lavender on my pillow) helps as well.

 

But even a 10-minute power-nap can go a long way! Make the time to rest, down-regulate, and conserve your energy reserves when you can.

 

7. Be mindful.

 

This means checking in with your body and asking yourself deep questions like: Do I really want the slice of pie that’s calling my name, or just a taste of it? Do I need to take a break from food? Am I eating for the sake of it? Will that giant pretzel satiate me, or leave me feeling empty? Am I hungry, or actually thirsty?

 

Being mindful could also be as simple as chewing your food, savoring every bite – and tuning in to how certain foods (and drinks) make you feel. Spacey, agitated, bloated and gassy, or cozy, focused, energized and happy?

 

Finally, mindfulness could involve being present with your loved ones (with a mandatory break from smartphones if necessary) and knowing when you need space to recoup. One of my clients calls this “protecting her time.” If you have a daily meditation practice, keep it going strong during the holidays. And, if you don’t, the holidays are a brilliant time to start (even a 2-minute daily practice can make a difference)!

 

So, don’t write off your health goals yet! Being intentional this holiday season, with even a couple of the above 7 tips can do wonders for how you start off the new year.

 

Do you have strategies to balance the fun and your well-being during the holidays? I want to hear about them – let me know in the comments below!

 


 

Need help getting healthy during the holidays, or staying on top of your health goals in the new year? Wonder why I go on and on about leafy greens? Curious about how the heck my services work? Sign up for my 15-minute FREE consultation session, and let’s talk!

 

Interested in my Black Friday promo (valid thru November 30, 2018)? Click here!

 


 

Pumpkin Chaiwalla Brownies (grain-free)

Pumpkin Chaiwalla Brownies (grain-free)

There’s just something about chai.

Something about a steaming cup of spicy chai that hits all the right notes of ginger, black pepper and cardamom, the boldness of black tea leaves and just a touch of milk and sweetener. Like the kind that chaiwallas serve on Indian train platforms, or the comforting mug accompanying a Parle G biscuit.  Throw in a hot samosa, a cold afternoon and a cozy blanket – and we’re talking about one seriously crave-worthy combination that is difficult to match.

Having said that, combining the flavors of chai with chocolate was a little outrageous, even for my standards. Yes, it had been done before, but never in my kitchen. But there was just something, something about infusing ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric (yes that too) with dark chocolate in a brownie that Just. Made. Sense.  And adding pumpkin created another layer of suspense that I frankly could not wait to try out.

But first, a quick back story.

Like most of my cooking, this one started with an idea: a dream, even. I woke up knowing I had to make pumpkin brownies. Blame it on the subliminal messaging on social media what with everyone’s PSLs, pumpkin muffins, cookies, cakes, smoothies, dips, butters, mac ‘n cheeses – it had to be done! Looked up a few tested and tried recipes, settled on the basic framework of Ambitious Kitchen’s decadent “One-Bowl Paleo Pumpkin Brownies” and got to work.

As I started to add the blend the wet ingredients together, I scanned through the rest of the recipe and the what-ifs began. What if I added ginger? Wait, what about cardamom? Ooh black pepper! Hang on, surely I’d get away with turmeric? Hmm, chai brownie….must add black tea leaves……

And with that, I give you the Pumpkin Chaiwalla Brownie: a scrummy fudgy spicy Indian square of yum.

Here they are. I was so proud, I took them on a special photo-shoot in the backyard!

(If you’re wondering why they’re so skinny, it’s because I used a larger baking tray (9×13). If you use an 8×8 square one, your brownies will be perfect).

Recipe super-powers:

Trying to settle on this recipe’s superstar ingredient was a massive challenge; there were just so many to choose from! But in the interest of time (I know you want this recipe already), I chose almonds. They really do shine in every bite, and take this from being a refined carb, blood-sugar hazard to a (dare-I-say) healthy dessert!

Studies have even shown that adding almonds to a potentially high glycemic index (GI) meal, actually reduces the overall glycemic index of the meal – which means that it keeps your blood sugar nice and steady. On top of that, almonds contain rich amounts of biotin, which supports the production of insulin (again great for your blood sugar); potent antioxidant vitamin E, which cleans up free radical damage; copper which is essential for energy production; and good monosaturated fats, which when combined with the vitamin E have shown to reduce LDL cholesterol!

With this fabulous nutritional profile, it’s no wonder that almonds were recently ranked the #1 most nutritious food in the world. Oi vey!

Pumpkin Chaiwalla Brownies

A brownie recipe that's part chai, part chocolate, part pumpkin, and entirely too delicious to pass up on!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Chocolate, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: almond, brownie, cardamom, chai, ginger, paleo, pumpkin
Servings: 12 brownies

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (I used the pulp from a roasted pumpkin)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • ¾ cup almond flour (I made almond-meal by blitzing raw almonds in a chopper)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp. cardamom (I like this strong!)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper (you can add ½ tsp if you want less)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric (you won’t even know it’s in there)
  • 1 tsp. black tea leaves (lightly crushed)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or unsweetened applesauce (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper (I used a 9x13 inch pan and my brownies became a little skinny). 
  • In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract (if using) and grated ginger until smooth. 
  • Mix in the dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, tea leaves and salt until smooth. If the batter is too dry, you can add 1 tbsp. of olive oil or unsweetened applesauce. 
  • Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Add batter into prepared pan and spread to the edges. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes until knife comes out clean. Brownies will not look completely cooked but as soon as the knife comes out clean, they will be done (mine took 30 minutes). 
  • Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and store in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep for up to a week.
Sassy Red Smoothie (Tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, apple, mint & basil)

Sassy Red Smoothie (Tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, apple, mint & basil)

Sassy Red Smoothie (Day 7 – Red)

This recipe is part of a series of colorful smoothie posts to celebrate Pride month.

This is the last smoothie in my Pride challenge; and it’s about time I posted this recipe. Not to completely change the subject, but will ya take a look at this baby. This smoothie’s a complete stunner — with the style of a fashionista, the sass of a punk rocker and the audacity of a Kardashian. When this smoothie walks into a room (just work with me here), the lights dim and a single spotlight perfectly hangs overhead, waiting for it to croon some saucy tune.

You get my point.

But there’s more! This show-stopper drink’s got summer written all over it. It has ripe tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries (I used frozen ones), mint, basil, chia seeds and an apple. It has the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with just that fleeting waft of mint and basil that you get during a stroll through a garden patch on a summer’s evening.

I added chia seeds for a bit of fiber and good fat content (to steady the blood sugar and provide a satiety element), but you could instead add a little coconut milk, avocado or soaked cashews to do the same.

Finally, like any good summer drink, this smoothie’s flavors go really well with a splash of gin, tequila or vodka, a poolside umbrella, an impossibly blue sky and your favorite swim-wear!

Recipe super-powers:

Tomatoes are the star of this smoothie. They are a member of the nightshade family, also including potatoes, eggplants and peppers. This vegetable (technically a fruit) contains lycopene, the potent anti-inflammatory carotenoid (responsible for its red color), along with other phyto-nutrients; plus it is rich in vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, vitamin E and vitamin K.  The combined antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of of lycopene, vitamins C and E, make tomatoes an excellent protector of heart health. For one, these compounds aid in preventing the oxidation of lipids (fats) in the cell lining. In addition, they seem to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol AND triglyceride levels. Interestingly, these cardiovascular protective benefits seem to increase significantly when the tomatoes are cooked in olive oil.

Eating tomatoes is also associated with a lower risk of certain cancers – particularly prostate and lung cancer – thanks to the phytonutrient “alpha-tomatine,” which has shown to trigger programmed cell death in formed cancer cells.

However, tomatoes are somewhat controversial as they may trigger an allergic reaction, particularly in people with arthritic symptoms. If you love tomatoes but they don’t love you back, don’t eat them. Better yet, work with a nutrition professional to eliminate nightshades for a few weeks, or to test for food sensitivities. 

Sassy Red Smoothie

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drinks, smoothie, Snack
Keyword: basil, mint, raspberry, smoothie, strawberry, tomato
Servings: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into large wedges
  • 10 frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ice-cubes
  • 1/2 avocado or 1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)

Instructions

  • Wash and prep all ingredients and add to a high-speed blender with water.
  • Blend at a low-speed for 30 seconds then gradually increase the speed until you reach the desired consistency. 
  • Thin it out further with ice-cubes or more water if needed. 
  • Pour, sip and enjoy!
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