Sweet and creamy with an exotic twist, this smoothie can double as a light dessert. Banana and cashews create the smooth base, while dates add a sweet caramel-like flavor and vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom give the drink an irresistible fragrance. The dairy-free smoothie is especially easy to put together, as you’re essentially making the nut milk right in the blender with all of the other ingredients. Unlike almonds or any other nut, cashews create no pulp when blended, instead producing a velvety, rich base that gives the smoothie the feel of a dessert, minus the guilt.
Banana, Date and Cashew Milk Smoothie with Cardamom
For best flavor and texture, be sure to use moist and soft Medjool dates here. Cardamom can easily overpower the more subtle flavors in this smoothie, so I suggest starting with ¼ teaspoon and adding more to taste.
¼ cup raw cashews, soaked 2 to 4 hours in ½ cup water
4 Medjool dates, pitted
2 frozen bananas, broken into 1 inch pieces
2 cups ice cubes
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, plus more to garnish
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup water
Drain and rinse cashews, and place in an upright blender. Add dates, bananas, ice, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon and water, and blend until completely smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a pinch of cardamom and serve.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
Photo by Stephen Johnson