I always go on a smoothie kick when I’m visiting LA. There’s just something about the warmer weather in Southern California, plus some of my favorite healthier spots like luxury markets Erewhon and Sunlife Organics are there. At both places a smoothie will run you anywhere between $15 – $20. I’ve done the cost breakdown of ingredients below.
My goal is to create a protein-packed mint chocolate chip smoothie recipe that uses healthy-ish ingredients including mint leaves and cacao nibs that will taste similar to one of my favorite ice cream flavors, mint chocolate chip (tasting exactly like a milkshake without the calories is wishful thinking but it’s pretty close!). I also wanted to use ingredients that are fairly accessible at any health food store, and once the initial products are bought, the smoothie can be made for less.
Banana – Even though you really can’t taste the banana in this recipe, I like knowing that it’s there. The fruit helps to give the smoothie a thicker and creamy consistency.
Protein powder – You can use either whey or animal protein based on preference. I recommend opting for a vanilla flavored protein. If you have unflavored protein powder, then add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to the smoothie.
Cacao nibs – Cacao nibs are crushed pieces of roasted cocoa beans which are used to make chocolate. They have a slightly bitter flavor and crunchy texture, perfect for adding chocolate flavor to the smoothie.
Almond butter – This nut butter is made from grinding whole almonds to a paste. Either crunchy or smooth almond butter can be used in this recipe, though smooth provides a better texture.
Almond milk – While I use plain unsweetened almond milk in this recipe, a non-dairy alternative, whole milk or oat milk, can also be used in this smoothie. Make your own almond milk at home using my recipe here.
Mint – Rather than using a peppermint extract I add fresh mint for a clean mint flavor. The mint hides the flavor of other ingredients like spinach and banana, so it is the prominent flavor alongside the chocolate.
Spinach – The handfuls of raw spinach give it the signature green color while adding nutrients.
Honey – You can use either raw or regular honey in this smoothie. Raw honey comes straight from the hive and is unpasteurized.
How to Make Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothies
Step 1: Add ingredients to blender.
Add all ingredients to a blender.
Step 2: Blend.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Garnish and serve.
Pour into a glass and top with additional cacao nibs. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks for This Recipe
Cost breakdown of this smoothie
For things like protein there is an initial expense though it can be used numerous ways. I’ve calculated the cost per smoothie based on ingredients I found at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Each smoothie breaks down to $5.43! Way cheaper to make it yourself than pay $15 to $20!
Swaps and substitutions
If you have the foresight you can freeze the banana and use less ice.
Since young children (under 1) can’t have honey, if you are sharing you can swap maple syrup for the honey in this recipe.
Dairy milk or another favorite milk alternative can be used in place of the almond milk.
Other additional ingredients like maca, flaxseed or chia seeds can also be added for additional benefits.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this smoothie recipe, give these a try: