I’ve been thinking lately about how my food philosophy has changed over the last decade. I used to eat pretty much any old thing so long as it was vegetarian without much consideration about what it actually was. Over the years the way I eat has shifted to a much more whole foods focused approach.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t particularly worry about getting protein into my diet because there is protein, at least in small amounts, in practically everything. I do sometimes like a blast of protein, though, so I’m always looking for ways to incorporate it into my diet. Although I know there are some good ones out there, protein powders are a bit out of my comfort zone. So, I’ve been experimenting with ways to get extra protein into my smoothies without using any protein powder.
What’s the answer? Beans!
Beans in a smoothie?! Yup! We’ve made brownies from beans, so why not a smoothie? Trust me, you won’t taste them. Plus, in addition to adding a boost of protein and healthy fiber to your smoothie, the beans also contribute to an amazing creamy texture. Hemp seeds add another boost of protein, and sweetened with just a frozen banana and a couple of medjool dates, this smoothie is vegan, naturally sweetened, naturally protein-rich, and gluten free. It’s great for practically everyone!
I’ve used almond milk to keep this smoothie vegan, but you could boost the protein even more by adding Greek yoghurt. The cocoa nibs are an optional topping; if you have them on hand sprinkle a few over top for a fun crunch. Try this smoothie out and let me know what you think. And tell me, what else do you like to sneak beans into?
Black beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K. The protein-plus-fiber combination in black beans is one of the things that makes them special. A one cup serving contains 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein. Much of the fiber is indigestible, which supports digestive health, particularly in the lower part of our digestive tract. The protein-fiber combination is also key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. Black beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health. You know what they say, beans beans good for the heart… but if the second part of that rhyme concerns you, be sure to discard the soaking water when cooking dried beans. You’ll be tossing out a good amount of flatulence causing compounds, as well as some of the phytates and tannins that lower nutrient availability.
- 1 banana, preferably frozen
- ½ cup black beans
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- cocoa nibs for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and sprinkle cocoa nibs over the top if desired. Serve immediately.