It’s the perfect fuel for your morning, with nutrient-dense greens, plant-based protein and a little rev-up-and-go in the form of matcha green tea powder. Best of all, it’s super yummy.
If you’ve never heard of it, matcha is a powder of finely ground green tea leaves, often consumed dissolved in water as a hot beverage. I remember drinking matcha in the afternoons at tea houses when we were visiting Japan, and watching the tea master whisk it to a froth with a bamboo chasen in a handmade ceramic bowl. It always brought an even-keeled pick-me-up to carry me through the rest of the day. But matcha is also commonly used to flavor sweet desserts throughout Asia, such as green tea ice cream and mochi, among other treats. In addition, it has many reported health benefits, which you can read about here.
I discovered Midori Spring Matcha on Instagram. Our friends there sent me some to try, and I really like it, so I’m happy to spread the word. I’ve been experimenting with their “culinary grade” matcha in some recipes, and this Mint Chip Matcha Green Smoothie is my favorite one so far.
This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, and so delicious, it almost tastes more like a mint chocolate chip ice cream shake than a green smoothie. Sweetened only with fruit (dates), it would serve equally well as a mid-afternoon snack or healthy dessert (perhaps topped with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and a sprinkling of vegan chocolate chips). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
I use raw cacao nibs to bring in the chocolate flavor that pairs so well with peppermint. Speaking of which, this recipe calls for fresh peppermint leaves and/or peppermint extract. Either one (or both) works perfectly well.
The richness of this smoothie comes from a little bit of avocado. If you don’t happen to have a ripe avocado on hand, a quarter cup of raw cashews, pre-soaked in water for a little while to soften, would work equally well without changing the flavor.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe!
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in ¼ cup hot water to soften
- ¼ cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. peppermint extract and/or a small handful of fresh peppermint leaves
- 1½ tsp. matcha green tea powder
- 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- ¼ of a ripe avocado
- 1 frozen banana, chopped
- 1 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup crushed ice
- 1 tsp. raw cacao nibs, plus more (optional) for sprinkling on top
Remove the pits from two Medjool dates and soak them in ¼ cup of hot water until they are soft enough to blend. Transfer them to your blender along with the soaking water, then add the almond milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts, fresh peppermint leaves (if using), matcha powder, hemp seeds, quarter of an avocado, chopped frozen banana, spinach leaves and crushed ice. Blend just until smooth. If the smoothie is a bit thick for your liking, slowly add a little more almond milk until it’s just right. Then add 1 tsp. of raw cacao nibs and pulse to blend them in for a few moments. Transfer your smoothie to a glass, and top with more cacao nibs if you’d like.
That’s it! So simple, and amazingly delicious. Let me know in the comments below if you agree!
What’s healthy about this recipe?
According to my calculations, this smoothie contains about 10.5 g of plant-based protein, most of which comes from hemp seeds, but the banana, avocado, spinach, cacao nibs and dates all contribute some, too. That’s right! All fruits and veggies have protein.
Hemp seed is 65% protein by weight, making it one of the best plant sources of protein available, and it’s especially good because that protein comes in the form of globulin edestin, which is easily digested. It also contains the essential fatty acids (EFAs) in a ratio that is suitable for human nutritional needs. It is a good source of fiber, as well as magnesium, iron and zinc. It’s also gluten-free, and there are no known allergies to hemp seeds.
Breaking news! Spinach is good for you. More specifically, it is a great source of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2 and calcium.
Avocados are loaded with fiber and potassium, as well as offering Vitamins C and B-6, magnesium and iron, while bananas bring in an additional boost of the same nutrients.
Matcha green tea powder is loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help repair damage to cells, as well as reduce inflammation in the body. Personally, I find that the stimulating effect of matcha curbs my appetite, and I’ve read it also boosts the metabolism, so these properties could help for weight loss, as well, if that’s a goal of yours.