This question about fresh fruit smoothie bases came from Ryan, one of the readers of this website.
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I had a question concerning a rare food allergy I have, and how I can find healthy smoothie recipes.
I'm allergic to bananas and avocados. I'm not allergic to any other foods, just bananas and avocados. Bananas are such a popular base in so many fresh fruit smoothie recipes that it sometimes makes it hard for me to find recipes I like that will work for me.
Could you share some strategies and alternatives to bananas for people like me who have allergies to these fruits?
That is an excellent question, and helpful not just for those allergic to bananas or avocados, but for the many people out there who just simply can’t stand the taste or texture of these fruits.
Yes, it’s true, most of my fresh fruit smoothie recipes on this website feature bananas as a fruit base.
That’s partially because bananas do make an incredible base for smoothies, almost guaranteeing it that just-right texture.
And it could also have something to do with the fact that my nickname growing up was “Janna Banana…” I have always been the one in my family to eat the most bananas. I love bananas…always have, always will.
So the question is, do you NEED to include bananas in your smoothie to give it a good texture? What if you’re allergic to both bananas and avocados (another fresh fruit smoothie base I sometimes recommend on this website).
The answer is no, you DO NOT need to include bananas or avocados in your smoothies and you can still end up with a good texture. I am definitely partial to bananas and always include at least one in each smoothie, but that’s just me.
Especially when making green smoothies, which typically don’t include a lot of additional powder ingredients such as protein powders, you can make a great green smoothie without using bananas. Bananas help but are not necessary.
That does not mean you can just
simply eliminate the bananas from the fresh fruit smoothie recipe without adding any other
fruits….unless you want to end up with an inedible green mess that no one will
go anywhere near.
You still need a fruit base, and some fruits are better than others for ensuring a good base for healthy fruit smoothies. So what are those fruits?
Look for fruits that have a more solid substance and texture. Aim for fruits that are less “juicy” and more firm.
The best fresh fruits for your smoothie base include:
These fruits all have a nice solid texture that lends itself well to smoothies. I recommend including at least one of these in every fresh fruit smoothie or green smoothie you make.
Banana is my favorite fruit base for smoothies, as mentioned above. But there are other options if you are allergic or can’t stand ‘em…
Avocados have a nice texture for smoothies as well, but they have a lot more fat. Yes, it’s a healthy fat, but you still don’t want to overdo it. Since I love eating avocados in other meals, I typically don’t add them to my smoothies since I prefer to eat them in their whole, non-blended form. It is another good option though, and avocados go really well with some of the other fruits like strawberries and mangos.
Strawberries can make a good fresh fruit smoothie base. I usually combine strawberries with other fruits, but sometimes will use them on their own as a base…such as when I run out of bananas, or when I get a whole flat for free at the farmers market. 5 or 6 fresh whole fresh strawberries will do the trick.
All fresh, all local, and all free!
Mangos and pineapples are fruits I often use as bases in green smoothies, either on their own or mixed with bananas/strawberries. Trader Joe’s sells some good frozen pineapples and mangos and these are the best frozen fruits I have found for adding to my smoothies. In the summertime I also love buying them fresh of course, but I always have some frozen fruits on hand…good to have in a pinch, like when I run out of all fresh fruit.
Pears are another delicious smoothie base. Like strawberries, they are great when combined with other fruits, but they also have a good solid texture that allows them to be used on their own as the main fruit base in the smoothie.
The fruits listed above are the absolute best fruit bases for smoothies, banana being my personal favorite. But what if you can’t find the fruits above, they’re out of season, or you don’t like them?
There are some other alternatives that you CAN use as fresh fruit smoothie bases. They’re not the best, but they’ll do the job in a pinch…or if you want to add variety to your smoothies and take a break from the fruits listed above.
The following fruits are OK to use as the base of your smoothie, but not the best:
For example, in the summer I like
making a watermelon smoothie. I use watermelon and strawberries as the base.
Apples are great in smoothies, but work best if you combine with at least one of the fruit bases listed above. In a pinch you can use just apples, but you might end up with a slightly strange foamy/bubbly texture.
Tomatoes can be used as a base in green smoothies, such as the green smoothie I made once with romaine lettuce, tomato, lemon juice and ginger. It makes quite an intense smoothie….good for advanced green drinkers not beginners, since the tomatoes are not quite sweet enough on their own to mask the greens.
So now that you know which fruits work WELL as the base for smoothies, the question is, are there any fruits that can’t be used as the base?
The answer is yes. Certain fruits should NOT be used as the base of the smoothie, as the texture will not come out very well.
If these are the only fruits you have on hand and you are making a green smoothie, it’s not the end of the world. But if you can avoid it, don’t use these fruits alone in smoothies. Combine with at least one of the fruit bases listed above.
These fruits are:
Why are these fruits no good as the main fresh fruit base for smoothies?
It’s not that I have anything against these fruits. I love pomegranates, berries, and oranges when in season…the flavor is so delicious and the fruit is so nice and juicy.
Juicy. That’s the key word. Since these fruits are mostly made up of juice, they don’t have much solid substance of their own. Compare a pomegranate seed or an orange to a banana and you’ll get the idea….bananas and pears, for example, are nice, solid, substantial fruits that hold their own in the blender, while these fruits are mostly made up of liquid juice.
Don’t get me wrong…these fruits absolutely SHOULD be added to smoothies….as a supplemental ingredient, not as the main base giving the smoothie it’s just-right texture.
So just with the above information, you are ready to make your own smoothie recipes.
Yes, you. There’s no reason you can’t make your own fresh fruit smoothie recipes.
The easy way is to just combine at least one fruit from each category.
What about liquid ingredients and other add-ins? Visit the How to Make a Smoothie page for more information about those other ingredients.
The fruit forms the base of the smoothie though, and without fruit you would have no smoothie.
That means you are well on your way to making your own awesome smoothies! And once you do, please post your recipes in the comment box below so we can all see and share in the fun :)
Green Strawberry Smoothie - An example of a smoothie recipe that does NOT
use bananas as the base. More coming soon!