Photos by Rikki Snyder.
A spicy smoothie?! Have I gone mad? Yes. Yes, I have. Like nearly everyone else, I am starting out the year with a goal of losing weight. My fridge is stocked with fruit, I’m letting Chris finish all of my Christmas candy, we bought a treadmill, and “Eye of the Tiger” is playing in a constant loop in my head. (In a week, I’ll probably be demanding that Chris give me back my Christmas candy and using the treadmill for cat racing, but let’s focus on the present!) I always feel like I have to work twice as hard at this whole weight loss thing because my metabolism is jacked up–eleven years ago, I lost 100 pounds (yes, really!) and while I kept most of it off, it’s been hard because once you gain and lose that much weight, your metabolism is never the same. Enter: cayenne pepper.
I once read that cayenne pepper is good for the ol’ metabolism and I totally latched onto that idea. Let’s put cayenne pepper in everything! I’m a big fan of the whole spicy lemonade thing and even if it does nothing for my metabolism, I like that little kick of heat. So I thought I’d try adding it to a smoothie. I was going to try to do a spicy lemonade smoothie, but a lemon smoothie would need heaps of sweetener, which kind of defeats the purpose of a healthy smoothie, so I used frozen mango chunks and mandarin oranges instead.
No, not the canned mandarin oranges you get at salad bars! The fresh kind! It’s citrus season now and you can find all kinds of oranges and tangerines and tangelos and whatnot at the grocery store and mandarins are one of my favorites. But any kind of sweet citrus will work here—tangerines, satsumas, clementines, or just plain oranges will do.
This smoothie is creamy and smooth and each sip ends with a punch of cayenne to the taste buds. (If you don’t like spicy, you can use less or omit it altogether though!) It’s a great base for adding other ingredients too. Need some more greens in your diet? Toss a handful or two of spinach into the blender! Want to add some protein to make it a meal smoothie? Vanilla protein powder would be perfect in this.
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large Mandarin orange peeled and seeded
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne optional, or use less for a more mild smoothie
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner smoothie, if desired.