If you’ve been following this blog you may have noticed that all of my smoothie recipes are without bananas. I strongly dislike the smell/flavor of bananas*, so I avoid them altogether. While browsing other people’s smoothie recipes, I’ve found that the majority use banana. If you are like me and can’t stand bananas, you’ll be glad to find that all recipes on this site are banana-free. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with bananas, but even if you like bananas, you may still enjoy some more variety to your smoothies. Read on for banana substitutes in smoothie recipes.
The main reason that bananas are such a popular ingredient is because they add sweetness and smoothness/creaminess to smoothies. If you just remove the banana from a recipe you might not get the best result. Luckily there are plenty of other ingredients that can substitute to yield creamy results. Fruits I’ve used to add to smoothie body include mangoes, persimmons, peaches, and to a lesser extent apples. Fruits like grapes, orange, or pineapple do not give a creamy texture.
Other things that will add thickness and smoothness include yogurt, chia or flax seeds, nuts, oatmeal, sweet potato, and avocado. With avocado a little goes a long way so unless you’re trying to make something that you eat with a spoon, you should start with just a slice. I also know some people like to use tofu, but I haven’t tried it.
To recap, here is a list of banana smoothie substitutes (follow links to see recipes with that ingredient; unlinked ingredients haven’t made it into smoothie recipes on this blog yet):
- chia seeds (or flax)
- nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)
- sweet potato
- xanthan gum (or similar thickening powder like glucomannan)
- summer squash
- oatmeal/rolled oats
Please comment below if you have any other good banana substitutes for smoothies.
* I know I’m not the only one, since I have friends and family who feel similarly. We’ve joked that the hate of bananas is genetic, but it’s likely based on early experiences and associations. For an interesting read on good vs. bad smells, see this article. On the other hand, there’s the study about cilantro tasters that I linked from my cilantro ingredient post, which identified a minor genetic component to cilantro taste perception.