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.
We discovered a wonderful raw food restaurant recently and one of our party ordered a smoothie made with fresh strawberries, almond milk and dates. It was delicious and extraordinarily smooth. The dates added just the right amount of sweetness too. But the smoothie tasted of strawberries, not dates. I just read somewhere that dates are very healthy too.
I appreciate these non banana smoothie recipes cause I too don’t care for bananas very much. I use a lot of pineapple and agree unless yogurt is used it doesn’t get as creamy as I would like! Hmmmmm avocado sounds nice as do some of the other more creamy resulting fruits. Papaya might work as well!?! It is very good for digestion etc!
How do I make icecream ?
I love the fact that you do not use bananas. From some reason I have never liked them….not the taste, not the texture, not even the smell of them. I would occasionally use half of a frozen one in a smoothie, but I just did not develop a liking. Glad to know there are others out there like me.
I am a Vitamix newb (but experienced low-end blender / Cusinart Food Processor user). I eat a modified-with-dairy Paleo / gluten-free & non-gluten grain minimal diet (do allow some rice/wild rice/quinoa) that is a blend of raw and cooked.
Rebecca, you took the words right out of my mouth! I have never been a picky eater, but have hated the smell, taste and texture of bananas since I was a baby! Often wondered if it could be genetic, although I am the only one in my family with this dislike.
Was dismayed to find the heavy use of bananas in many Vitamix recipes, so this website is heaven to find! I love avocados and had already decided to substitute them into my purees, but nice to find some other options.
I appreciate your recipes for banana free smoothies as I am allergic to them. It seems like most smoothies call for them.
Thanks for the info.
New recipes without bananas please.
Also can you make smoothies ahead of time and drink it later?
I find they separate and taste bitter. What should I do?
Did you get a chance to see my full recipe list? Everything on this blog is banana-free!
I usually drink smoothies right away, because I find that ensures the best flavor. That said, there are plenty of people who store them in the fridge for up to a day. If you are saving smoothies, on thing in particular to try to avoid is citrus, especially blended oranges. They turn bitter more than other things.
Going Beyond the “Creamy” Factor
Something else to consider when deciding on a banana “replacement” for the creamy factor is carb and/or fat content, especially important to those on any eating plan that limits carbs.
From the above list, all the fruits, sweet potato and oats certainly have the fiber and phytonutrient content but — relatively plenty of carbs. BTW, avocados are botanically berries with a single seed.
For anyone going Paleo, or who is diabetic or hypoglycemic, avocados are perfect for creamy texture, good fats, fiber, selected vitamins and minerals, yet low carb, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado). They’re my go to for the creamy factor.
If using chia seeds or nuts, some may prefer to prepare nuts, grains, beans, legumes, seeds by soaking first to reduce anti-nutrients and increase digestibility of desirable nutrients.
If you eat dairy, Greek yogurt and Kefir (full-fat if you can find it commercially) add a nice creaminess. I prefer to mix the yogurt or kefir into the veggie puree with a spoon or whisk or blend gently on Vitamix level 1. Or get artistic — swirl the yogurt/kefir with the veggie puree.
adding frozen fruit to the s55 do I use less ice as a smoothie usually calls for 1/2 cup of ice cubes.
Yes, if you substitute frozen fruit in for fresh fruit you generally want to use less ice. Depending how you like your smoothie, and depending on the fruit, you may also want to add some water.
Thank you so much! I stumbled onto your site after getting a new Vitamix, and noticed a comment that linked to this post. I too hate bananas in smoothies, and it’s fantastic to find someone developing recipes that avoid them!
Pumpkin is my favorite banana replacement! I also use frozen cubes of zucchini, but you’ll need to add some sweetener of choice (I use liquid stevia) when you go these routes. One cup of pumpkin or frozen zucchini cubes with a sweetener of choice works great! 🙂
Just came across your very helpful site! I read that cauliflower can be blended up to yield a very creamy smoothie! I haven’t tried it yet. Of course, you need to add a date or two, they say, for the sweetener, along with your liquid/ice. This particular recipe also called for a generous amount of cocoa powder, and it makes a rich, creamy, deep chocolate smoothie that is likened to hot fudge. I tried it with bananas (sorry, it was what I had on hand!) and it was fabulous. I added spinach, too. Very low calorie!
I hate bananas every recipe seems to include them yuk yuk
Thank you for banana free recipes
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I also HATE bananas! With other foods that I don’t like, if they’re mixed with other ingredients in a recipe I usually don’t mind because the flavors will blend, but not bananas! Even just a hint of banana takes over the entire recipe and ruins it!! I just found your site and I’m so excited to have all of these banana-free smoothie recipes! Thank you!!
Banana haters unite! 🙂