Alisa Fleming ~ One thing I love about the northwest is the abundance of fruit in the summertime, especially the blackberries … oh the blackberries. They cost something like $20 a pound to buy in stores, but grow freely on every street here, with only the price of a few thorn sticks from the blackberry pushes to pay.
The only problem is that blackberry season is short. Once the berries finally emerge, they ripen within days and disappear almost as quickly. Determined to cash in on the late summer harvest, we stalked blackberry bushes throughout August, seeking the perfect sunny spot where we could load up several containers for freezing.
Late last week while on a walk, we noticed the gentle scent of fresh berries, and smiled at one another. “Just a few more days and they’ll be ready to pick!” my husband proclaimed …
Finally, sure we were in for some beautiful plump berries, we headed out the door with bags in hand. But to our surprise, they were gone! Not the berries, the bushes! Just as the berries were beginning to ripen, the entire lot of blackberry bushes on our street had been cut back to bare bones; a cruel joke indeed.
Fortunately, from what was left, we were able to snag just enough of these plump gems to make a few delicious smoothies …
Blackberry-Banana Breakfast Smoothie
I spiked this smoothie with lots of nutritious goodies to start the day off right. The lettuce leaves have a very mild taste and go pretty much undetected in the taste and texture. The flaxseeds offer some healthy fats, and what smoothie is complete without a banana? Feel free to adjust the milk alternative up or down for a thinner or thicker texture, and if the fruit you’re using isn’t sweet enough, a little stevia or agave does the trick.
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, and Soy-Free. For a Sugar-Free option, simply use Unsweetened Vanilla Milk Alternative and sweeten with a little stevia to taste. I used this vanilla unsweetened hempmilk.
- 1 Large Frozen Ripe Banana, broken into chunks (about 1 cup chunks)
- 1/2 Cup Blackberries
- 3/4 Cup Vanilla Milk Alternaive (I used Tempt Hempmilk)
- 2 Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- 1/2 Tablespoon Flaxseeds, optional (I pre-grind them in a spice grinder)
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon, optional
- Sweetener to Taste, optional (only needed if your fruit isn’t very ripe – I skip it)
Place all ingredients in your blender, making sure the fresh fruit is on the bottom and frozen fruit is on the top (furthest from the blades), and whiz until smooth. If your blender is a wimpy one, start with less milk alternative (1/2 to 3/4 Cup) to ensure everything blends in nicely. Once everything is pureed, you can add more milk alternative until it reaches your desired consistency.
Makes 1 big serving
Article, Recipe, and Photos by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.