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the secrets to a great smoothie?

is it all about the blender? can you add some creamyness with some emulsifiers?

I am looking to make a rice milk stmoothie.. the rice milk is a little watery so i wanted to add some xanthan to thicken it. i wanted to add some ice so i can get that nice thick frosty goodness you get from a smoothie.. but i am not sure if my blender can do that . I have a pretty average ninja blender from bed bath beyond. Picked this up because it has a 9 cup capacity.

do you think i need a better blender? or adding some yogurt or emulsifiers can give me that creamy effect? ( would prefer to not include yogurt). maybe some evaporated milk?condensed milk? powdered milk?

I would be adding pulps like south american passion fruit, mora( andean blackberry) etc.. so would be on the watery side- no bannanas etc.

thanks! all

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  1. Believe it or not, a 1/4 avocado does the trick. It adds a bit of healthy fat and wonderful creaminess. I use 1 cup each of frozen blueberries, water and ice. Three tablespoons protein powder; 2 tsp superfood powder and the avocado. I have it every morning and it's delicious and healthy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: onefineleo

      Frozen fruit I add banana,pineapple ,peaches ,strawberries etc,oatmeal dry or cooked I've started out the smoothie with various nuts and seeds and sometime add peanut butter or flaxseed oil . I usually add a powdered green drink in addition .

    2. Depends what you are looking for in a smoothie. Since rice milk is thinner and mild in taste it will be overpowered by just about every other flavor you add. So, if you really want the rice milk taste just add ice. Freeze the rice milk for about 10 mins before you add it to the blender to get it good and cold which will help make a froth. Then add 5 or so ice cubes. Add some vanilla extract or some honey or both to intensify the flavor.

      Evaporated milk is also thin and plain. Condensed milk more of a thickner with extra sweetness. Yogurt smoothies are thick and take on whatever fruit/veggie/flavorings you add.

      So, you have loads of choices--really depends what you are looking for from a smoothie.

      The breakfast smoothie I had this morning contained apricot puree, coconut water, Greek plain yogurt and almond extract.

      1. For me, smoothies benefit from a couple of rules. One is counterintuitive: don't overblend. The other is, the fewer ingredients, the better. Just a personal preference. If you freeze your pulps somewhat or berries (outright), they too will add some body to the smoothie.

        1. I use banana and add oats that have soaked in warm milk for about 15 minutes to add creaminess to my smoothies.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pâté chinois

            sorry - just read the "no-banana" comment - so, oats (quick works better than rolled because they soften faster) softened in warm milk do wonders for creaminess :)

          2. I make mine in a blender with fat free Greek yogurt, splash of vanilla and whatever fruits look ripe--usually including something frozen-- mango or berries or banana. Plain water gets it to the right consistency.

            1. Avocado is a great suggestion for creaminess. I also sometimes add some coconut oil - adds a very satisfying bit of fat to the smoothie and a lovely coconut flavor (if you like coconut). You sound like you want to use rice milk, but if you're open to almond milk, unsweetened vanilla almond milk has a nice creaminess to it. Ice is great for body - you need to see if your Ninja can handle it - I don't have a good sense of how powerful it is. I have a Breville and it eats up the ice, no problem.

              In terms of what you use - the sky's the limit. I make green smoothies every a.m. for breakfast and use romaine & spinach as my greens, most often. I do use kale, bok choy chard, etc. when I have it and need to use it, but the flavors are stronger and might take getting used to.



              1. I always throw in a couple tablespoons of vanilla flavored protein powder to give it a creamy taste. I don't know that it changes the texture any, though. Some papaya or mango would give it a nice smoothness.

                1. Both coconut milk and avocado are great for making a creamy smoothie.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jencounter

                    Any of the nut butters add both taste and texture .I've been adding Tahini lately.

                  2. You don’t need a fancy blender to get a great smoothie.

                    Here’s my trick for getting a smooth blend. Place all solids (berries, pulp, etc.) in the blender with just enough liquid to create a smooth paste. Blend this together first then slowly add liquids. This eliminates lumps and incorporates everything nicely.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Spice_zing

                      I find that if I use a food processor instead of a blender, I get a smoother smoothie, almost like ice cream. I put a bunch of ice cubes in the FP and blend until they turn into "snow". It is really loud. Then I add whatever I want - fruit, liquid, sweetener. If you add a bit of stevia, it tends to make it "fluff" up a bit.

                    2. Are you actively ANTI-banana, or just don't want that to be the primary taste? IMO, frozen banana pieces are the key to a nice, cold, thick, creamy smoothie. I put them in all smoothies, regardless of flavor.

                      As for ice, if your fridge gives you crushed ice, put that in the blender...a regular blender should be able to take it from there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: danna

                        Plus one on the crushed ice for your typical under-powered blender! I too am in the banana camp and no ideas on how to make a smoothie without one!

                      2. I don't think it is a function of your blender. I use my Cuisinart SmartStick hand blender to make smoothies (yeah I'm lazy) and they always come out great.
                        I make a pot of green tea or roasted barley tea and put it in the fridge. I use that as a replacement for the juice in my smoothie. I always use frozen fruit so I don't have to cut up fruit in the morning (I said I was lazy) and I add a scoop of Greek yogurt and some honey. I toss all these ingredients into the beaker that my hand blender came with and whiz it up then fill it into my plastic travel mug. I prefer a 'loose' smoothie, so I use up to 1/3 cup of green tea or barley tea.

                        1. My trick for any blended ice drink in the blender. . . .

                          Only put 1/2 your ice in and start the blender - then add the ice a few cubes at a time through the top hole of the blender. I find that it makes really smooth frozen drinks that way with that even creamy ice that you get from commercial freezers but at home.