Sometimes, you want a healthy green smoothie. Other times, you just want a dang chocolate milkshake. The two don’t need to be mutually exclusive, though. I learned this quite by accident, when a chocolate milkshake craving—the likes of which I’d never before experienced—struck at midnight on a Monday. I made do with what I had in the kitchen and, lo and behold, it was as good as the real thing. Probably even better once you factor in that I didn’t want to barf after drinking it, as is often the case with me and milkshakes. Plus the satisfaction of nutrients making their way through that straw rather than just fat and sugar.
This shake is sort of a smoothie disguised as a chocolate shake—it has greens and plenty of protein, but it tastes chocolaty, rich and decadent. Hand it to an unsuspecting party (although who accepts milkshakes from strangers, but whatever) and they’d never guess it was a protein shake, let alone a vegan protein shake.
The way I’ve written it here, there’s about 15 grams of protein per serving, but if you were to un-veganize the shake and use dairy ice cream, milk, kefir and/or yogurt in place of the soy milk, you could increase that number even more. A decent amount of the protein comes from kale, cherries and banana (all together they add about 3.5 grams per serving), but soy milk, chia seeds (you could also use hemp seeds) and nut butter do most of the heavy lifting.
The key to the milkshake texture is to use the coconut ice cream (I don’t like using soy ice cream with soy milk because I don’t consume a ton of soy products, but have at it if you like). The shake will be super thick when you’re done blending; if you like it a little thinner, let the ice cream melt a bit beforehand or add a bit more soymilk and blend a second time. This recipe makes about 24 ounces, and it freezes nicely if you want to have the second serving the next day. Or, if you have one of those cute old-timey stainless steel malt-shop cups, you can scarf the whole thing or share it with a friend.
A vegan cherry-chocolate shake that doubles as a protein-packed green smoothie.
- 1 cup chocolate coconut milk ice cream (or any chocolate-flavored non-dairy ice cream)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen cherries
- 1 cup packed baby kale
- 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
- 1 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons nut butter (peanut or almond work best)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Place the coconut milk ice cream in a blender, then add the cherries and baby kale. Add the soy milk, chopped banana, nut butter, and chia seeds. Blend until smooth and the greens are no longer visible. If the shake is too thick, pour in a little more soy milk, or you can also wait until the ice cream melts before using if you prefer a thinner smoothie.
- Divide between two large glasses and serve.
Depending on the quality of your blender, you may need to add the frozen fruit in batches and/or stop the blender to stir the mixture in order for it to blend more smoothly.
You can use dairy milk/yogurt, kefir, or ice cream in place of the non-dairy ingredients (chocolate or cherry-flavored would be best) for more protein. You can also use hemp seeds in place of the chia seeds as a protein source.