Home & Garden Home 7 Healthy Vegan Protein Smoothie Recipes By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated May 11, 2020 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Plant-Based Protein Smoothies Photo: Michal Kowalski/Shutterstock Protein shakes are easy enough for vegetarians to whip up, but if you're vegan and you want a protein-packed smoothie after a workout or for a hearty breakfast, you might be wondering where to find the best sources of this macronutrient to include in your meal. The answer is in the right seeds, nuts and protein-rich fruits and vegetables. This collection of smoothie recipes provides you with great, flavorful ideas for protein smoothies both with and without plant-based protein powder. These smoothies range from 10 grams to 40 grams of protein, with suggestions on variations. Some tips for getting started with smoothies: It's great to keep a stock of frozen fruits in the fridge. I always have a few containers of frozen sliced bananas. I put one sliced banana in one Weck jar, so I know exactly what my serving will be. You can freeze your own, or buy bagged organic frozen fruits. But having a stock of bananas, mango, berries, and other favorites is a great way of making sure you can toss a smoothie together at a moment's notice. Grinding your own chia, hemp and flaxseed as you use them is a great way to get the most nutrients. It also helps work as a binder to thicken your smoothie. Keep whole seeds in the fridge, and use a coffee grinder to grind up just the tablespoon or two that you'll be using in a smoothie right then. Also important to have on hand for smoothie making are non-dairy milks. Most of these recipes call for almond or coconut milk, but you can experiment with oat, flaxseed, hemp and soy milks as well. Toppings make a smoothie feel like an extra special treat. Some great toppings to have on hand include cacao nibs, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and sunflower seeds. (Text: Jaymi Heimbuch) Cinnamon Apple Protein Smoothie Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch This is autumn comfort in a glass. If you enjoy warm cinnamon apple oatmeal in the mornings, then you'll probably like this frozen version of the same thing, which can be a great breakfast or lunch. Or dinner for that matter! You get a burst of sweetness and immediate energy from the apple, while the oats will provide a slow release of energy over several hours. Plus both the apple and oats offer tons of fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied. The oats and almond butter are the main source of protein in this smoothie. In total, you'll have about 10 grams of protein. If you want an extra kick of protein along with healthy fats, add 2 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds. This will give you a bump of nutrition and an extra 5 grams of protein without altering the flavor of the smoothie. Or if you want a major bump, a scoop of vanilla protein powder will add anywhere from about 17-26 more grams of protein depending on brand (we'll go into detail on this in later recipes). Oh, and make sure you use an organic apple so you can include the peel -- the skin of an apple has the densest concentration of nutrients so you definitely want to add it in your smoothie! Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Cinnamon Apple Smoothie Ingredients 1 small apple, sliced 1/2 cup rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 tablespoon almond butter 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk 3-4 ice cubes 1/2 cup cold water Directions Add the oats and water to your blender. Pulse a couple times and then allow the mixture to sit for at least 2-3 minutes so the oats can soften. Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy! Jalepeño-Lime Mango Protein Smoothie Photo: vanillaechoes/Shutterstock I like to keep a stash of smoothie packets in the freezer of fruits I don't often buy at the store. It makes it really easy to grab frozen fruit for a smoothie without having to think too far ahead. Packets of acai berry and cherry-mango are freezer staples along with fruits I've prepped and frozen myself. For the seeds, you can buy these ground, or you can grind your own seeds in a coffee grinder. You get the most nutrients from freshly ground seeds so it's worth the couple of seconds it takes to toss them in the grinder and push the button. Counting up the protein you get from the fruits as well as the hefty dose from the seeds, this smoothie packs about 14.5 grams of protein in a refreshing, sweet smoothie with a spicy bite. For an extra boost of protein and healthy fats, add in half an avocado. That will add about 2 more grams of protein along with about 5 grams of fiber and a boat-load of potassium and other vitamins, plus a smooth, mild flavor. You just can't go wrong adding avocado to a smoothie! Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Jalepeño-Lime Mango Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1 small banana 1 Cheribundi Tart Cherry Mango smoothie pack (or 3/4 cup frozen mango) 1 heaping Tablespoon chopped jalepeño (about 1/2 a small pepper) 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk (or coconut milk) 1 Tablespoon flaxseed, ground 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, ground 2 Tablespoon hemp seed, ground 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed 1/2 avocado (optional) Directions Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Process ingredients until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Apple Spinach Protein Smoothie Jaymi Heimbuch. This recipe calls for vegan protein powder. There are quite a few brands out there to choose from. Two of my favorites are Vega Sport, which has chocolate and vanilla flavors, and Garden of Life Raw Protein "Beyond Organic Protein Formula," which is unflavored. I use them mostly depending on what kind of flavor I want in the smoothie. Much of the time if I want added protein without changing the flavor much, I'll add Garden of Life. But if there's a recipe that would benefit from the flavor -- such as this recipe which is delicious with vanilla flavored powder -- then I'll use Vega Sport. It's up to you -- and you might have a different brand you really love even better. Go with what you like best. As for spinach: Use as much spinach as you want. You can't add too much, since it won't do much to alter flavor. And you'll get tons of fiber, and a boatload of nutrients and vitamins like potassium and vitamins A and K. So don't be shy with the spinach! Also, remember to get an organic apple and leave the peel on so you can get the most nutrients from this fruit. In all, this smoothie offers about 33 grams of protein. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies Apple Spinach Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1 large organic apple 3-4 cups organic spinach 1 Tablespoon organic almond butter 1 scoop (or packet) Vega Sport vanilla protein powder 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk 4-5 ice cubes Directions Add all the ingredients except spinach to a blender and process until smooth. Add spinach in batches, blending a handful at a time until it is all incorporated. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Coffee Cashew and Cacao Nibs Protein Smoothie Jaymi Heimbuch. I spoiled myself and picked up a bottle of Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee for this smoothie. It was easier than brewing a coffee and waiting for it to cool, plus it's just so darn tasty! To have cold coffee ready to go, you can brew up a cup of coffee the night before and keep it in the fridge -- easy enough to do since you'll have to remember to soak the cashews starting the night before as well. Or, you can just add 2 teaspoons of very finely ground coffee beans to the mix to get the coffee flavor and caffeine. The kick from caffeine plus the balance of carbs and protein make this a great smoothie for drinking an hour or two before workouts. Of course it also means it's an excellent breakfast smoothie, especially if you add in 1/4 cup rolled oats and 1/4 cup ice for extra fiber to keep you feeling full the entire morning. The crunch from the cacao nibs adds just the perfect amount of texture and flavor to make this feel like a decadent treat from the corner coffee shop -- only so much healthier! In all, this smoothie offers about 15 grams of protein, coming in small doses from the banana and cacao nibs, but mainly from the cashews and hemp seeds. Adding a scoop of unflavored vegan protein powder would work well with this smoothie if you wanted to up the protein level. You can add anywhere from 17 to 26 grams of protein this way. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Coffee Cashew and Cacao Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1 large organic banana, sliced and frozen 1/2 cup cooled coffee 1 Tablespoon organic fair trade cacao nibs (let's be real, it's closer to 2 Tablespoon) 2 Tablespoon hemp seeds, ground 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk 1/4 cup cashews (about 20 nuts) soaked in water for at least 6 hours Directions The night before, brew your coffee and place in fridge. Add your raw cashews to a bowl and cover them with water. Allow to soak overnight. Add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Pour in a glass and enjoy! Tropical Mint Protein Smoothie Jaymi Heimbuch. This is your all-day smoothie. If you have this filling meal for breakfast, you'll have energy the entire morning thanks to the fruit, and you won't want or need another meal until well into the afternoon thanks to the protein powder and seeds. The best protein powder for this smoothie is an unflavored variety. You'll get the nutrients but allow the wonderful fruit and mint flavors to stay at the forefront. I like Garden of Life "Beyond Organic Protein Formula" for this recipe. As I mentioned before, I like to keep a stock of organic mango and tart cherry smoothie packets in the freezer and that works perfectly for this. But if you prefer just simple mango, then that works great too. I also like to keep acai smoothie packets in the freezer since it's an easy way to get this healthy fruit into my smoothies. Having a stock of these on hand makes it really easy to throw together a healthy smoothie in just a couple minutes. Using the ground seeds helps thickens this up and bring everything together. In all, this smoothie offers about 33 grams of protein Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Tropical Mint Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1 large fresh orange (Valencia, Navel or Cara Cara are all great choices) 1/2 cups frozen mango (or 1 packet Cheribundi organic Tart Cherry Mango puree) 1 frozen sliced banana 1 packet frozen Acai puree 1 scoop (or packet) unflavored vegan protein powder 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds 2 tablespoons ground hemp seeds 1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut milk 4-5 fresh mint leaves Directions Add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Peanut Butter Banana Cranberry Protein Smoothie Jaymi Heimbuch. This recipe takes a deliciously decadent banana-peanut butter blend and adds in a hearty dose of extra vitamins and phytonutrients thanks to a handful of dried cranberries. Cranberries are a wonderful source of cancer-fighting antioxidents, are great for the health of your digestive tract, and they boast anti-inflammatory properties to boot. The banana and dried cranberries have plenty of sugar so be sure to use unsweetened ingredients so that you don't overload on the sweet side. I like to top this with a little sprinkle of cacao nibs and shredded coconut. It might sound a little weird, but salted roasted sunflower seeds are an amazing topping for this as well. In all, you'll get about 14-15 grams of protein. Because this shake is already high in healthy fats and carbs, the best way to up the protein without significantly increasing the other macronutrients is to add in an unflavored vegan protein powder like Garden of Life Raw Protein. One serving of their Beyond Organic Protein Formula will add 17 more grams of protein for a total of about 32 grams, without altering the flavor. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Peanut Butter Banana Cranberry Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1 large organic banana, sliced and frozen 1/4 cup dried cranberries (organic, unsweetened or sweetened only with fruit juice) 1 heaping Tablespoon organic unsweetened smooth peanut butter (let's be real, it's closer to 2 Tablespoon) 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, ground 1.5 Tablespoon hemp seeds, ground 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 3-4 ice cubes Directions Grind up the chia and hemp seeds. A coffee grinder works perfectly for this. Add the coconut milk and ground seeds to your blender and pulse to combine. Then add in the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and, if you'd like, top it with cacao nibs and shredded coconut. Enjoy! Blueberry Oatmeal Protein Smoothie Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch This vibrantly colored smoothie is sure to wake you up in a sweet way. All the wonderful nutritional benefits of a bowl of blueberry oatmeal can be found in this glass. The slow release of energy from the fiber-rich oatmeal will carry you through to lunch. Meanwhile, the sweetness of blueberries brightens this up both in color and taste, and also gives you the antioxidant boost that blueberries are so famous for. And the almond butter gives a comforting flavor that brings everything together, plus provides healthy fats that help you feel full and satisfied. In all, you'll get a whopping 40.5 grams of protein from this vegan smoothie. Make sure that you don't skip the step for soaking the oats for a couple minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients to the blender. It helps to soften them so that your smoothie has a, well, smooth texture. It also helps the other flavors come forward a little bit more. Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 large smoothie Blueberry Oatmeal Protein Smoothie Ingredients 1/2 cup oats soaked in 1/2 cup water 1 cup blueberries 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 5 ice cubes 1 tablespoon almond butter 2 tablespoons chia seeds, ground 1 scoop (or packet) Vega vanilla protein powder Directions Add the oats and water to your blender. Pulse a couple times and then allow the mixture to sit for at least 2-3 minutes so the oats can soften. Add blueberries and coconut milk. Pulse until combined. Add ice, and pulse until broken down. Add protein powder and chia seeds and whirl until thoroughly combined. Pour into a glass and enjoy!