How to Improvise a Smoothie

02 Nov How to Improvise a Smoothie

I woke up a few days ago knowing that I wanted smoothie for breakfast, but unsure what flavors I was craving. One thing led to another: I was running late, hadn’t finished my coffee, and knew I needed to get blending asap. I spotted the half-pear left on the counter after Rosa’s breakfast, glanced at my half-drunk cup of coffee, and knew I had the ingredients for a delicious drink.

But how do you go from lukewarm coffee and half a fruit to a satisfying smoothie? If you know the formula, you have a pretty good shot. In the Introduction of SMOOTHIE-LICIOUS I break down the Anatomy of a Smoothie, the components that most smoothies need to come together well:

Base – the liquid; usually some combination of milk (dairy or non), water, coconut water, or juice




Velvet – This is what makes a smoothie creamy. It could be a banana, avocado, yogurt, or tofu. Not every smoothie has to be creamy, but, personally, I prefer them that way.


Frost – This is an icy ingredient that makes a smoothie cold and shake-like. Some people use ice, but I typically opt for frozen fruit. Unlike ice, fruit adds nutrition, flavor, and it doesn’t water down the drink. Plus, there are no chunks of ice to get stuck in your straw.


Optional Veg, Boost (such as seeds or nut butter), and Sweetener

How did this formula translate into my breakfast last week? I combined my coffee and almond milk (the Base) and the half-pear (Fruit). A frozen banana stood in for both the Velvet and the Frost. My Boost was protein and fiber-rich almond butter, and I rounded it all out with a sprinkle of cardamom and cinnamon. It was perfect. Nutritious. Satisfying. Fall in a glass.

Some smoothies are just kismet… leftover fruit, a sliced banana in the freezer, coffee waiting to be drunk. But once you understand the basic components of stellar smoothies you’ll be able to blend up a satisfying concoction whether you’re following a recipe or just winging it on your way out the door.

Smoothie-Licious Cover Art

Jenna Helwig