How To Make Creamy Smoothies Without Yogurt Or Dairy (Plus Recipes!)
Before most people get on the green smoothie train, they usually think smoothies consist of two ingredients—fruit and yogurt.
While those two ingredients can be components of a smoothie recipe, there are many other better ways to add flavor, smooth texture, variety, and nutrition to your drink, especially if you want to make it into a meal. In fact, greens and superfoods are the very best things you can throw in your blender.
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I love fruit in smoothies, but only in a minor way, as eating a lot of fruit at once can be a sugar overload. I prefer to use mostly low-sugar, whole foods ingredients as the crux of the smoothie.
As for yogurt, if you’ve been reading my website for a while, you’ll know dairy isn’t on the menu here. First, the yogurts you often find in the store are sweetened, contain carageenan and other toxic additives, and third party testing shows that few of them even have active probiotic cultures. Homemade yogurt contains gut-healthy probiotics, but the ones on grocery store shelves are not a healthy food, despite the marketing.
In addition, dairy is a very common allergen and irritant, leading to leaky gut, skin breakouts, mucous production, and other inflammatory responses. With 65% of the US population being lactose intolerant, it’s simply not an ingredient that makes sense to put in our smoothies (or any other meal).
[Related: Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk]
So how do you get the creaminess of a yogurt-based smoothie without the yogurt?
Creamy Smoothies Without Yogurt
1. Add a banana to your smoothie–frozen, even better!
I love adding ripe bananas to my green smoothies, not just for their natural sweetness to balance the flavor of the greens, but to add thickness and creaminess as well. You can add it in fresh, but what I often do is slice up the banana and put it on a baking sheet in the freezer, then once it’s frozen, place all of the cut pieces into a container for use in my morning smoothies.
Freezing the banana on the pan first keeps it all from sticking together so when you’re making your morning blend, you don’t have to wrestle apart pieces of the banana, you can simply add in what you need. Frozen banana will make your smoothie even thicker, which I love, especially if I’m leaving with it in the morning, to drink later.
2. Blend in some avocado.
Avocado thickens smoothies as well, and in my experience makes them even creamier than a banana. Because it includes amazingly nutritious monounsaturated fats, and is really high in soluble fiber, avocado really makes your smoothies filling and satisfying.
Since they go brown so quickly once they’re cut, you can freeze avocados as well—but only if you’re blending them into smoothies; otherwise, you’ll lose their perfect texture. Simply pit and peel the avocado, cut into fourths, and freeze on a plate or pan separately, placing them in an airtight container when ready to store. Use a quarter to half of an avocado per serving.
3. Mix in soaked oats.
You can also achieve a similarly thick texture by blending soaked, organic rolled oats into your smoothies. Not only do oats they provide lots of fiber and minerals to help round out your breakfast, but soaking them makes them super soft and plump and ready to make your smoothie nice and creamy.
To soak the oats, add them to a bowl and cover them with water for a of couple hours or overnight, until the oats are soft, then rinse in a mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Add a half-cup to a cup of them to your smoothie for their creaminess and to amp up the volume of your recipe—they can help stretch out the amount of smoothie to make a couple of extra servings.
Make sure you use regular rolled oats, as “instant” oatmeal is highly processed, with some of the fiber gone.
4. Get friendly with the whole coconut.
I love using the whole coconut, from the meat to the oil to the milk. It’s such a great ingredient! But if we’re talking how to replace yogurt and get that same delicious creaminess, coconut meat is the way to go. It’s soft and silky and adds brain-loving nutrients to your smoothie in the morning.
If you don’t have access to coconut meat, try using canned coconut milk for your liquid; it’s thick and smooth and also contains the medium-chain triglycerides that help you burn fat1, improve brain function2, and boost metabolism3.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also use coconut kefir, which is a fermented version of coconut milk that adds healthy probiotics to your smoothie along with its creamy texture.
5. Sprinkle chia seeds into the mix
Chia seeds are a fantastic superfood to blend into your smoothies because they help make them into a full meal, thanks to their protein, fat, and fiber content.
They’re high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, and the fiber in chia helps keep us satiated till our next meal, and contributes to a well-functioning digestive system.
Aside from their amazing health benefits, chia seeds are also highly absorbent, so they soak up moisture and help thicken your smoothie to the creamy consistency you’re looking for.
Green Smoothie Recipes Without Yogurt
To get you started, here are a few dairy-free smoothie recipes with these ingredients that you can whip up in a flash:
1. Creamy Sunny Berry Smoothie (from Readers’ Favorite Healthy Recipes Vol. 1)
This bright smoothie yields enough for a few servings, so you can pack them up to freeze for days ahead, or make them for the whole family in the morning. It’s got plenty of fruit, but also contains a good amount of leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, chard, and kale.
This recipe skips yogurt in favor of bananas and creamy coconut milk, both of which will thicken the smoothie and give it a milkshake-type mouthfeel. The Creamy Sunny Berry Smoothie is a great meal thanks to the addition of nuts and seeds for protein, coconut for healthy fat, and fruits and veggies for gut-healthy fiber.
- 1 large handful spinach
- 2 kale stalks, with largest part of stalk on the end removed
- 1 apple or pear (fresh or frozen)
- 1 peach or mango (fresh or frozen)
- 1-2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
- Several large spoonfuls frozen blueberries (or other berries)
- 1 cup fresh pineapple juice (or other juice)
- 1 cup creamy coconut milk (make it at home by blending 1 cup hot water with 1 cup dry shredded unsweetened coconut)
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 6-8 drops liquid stevia
- Sesame seeds, flax seeds, almonds, etc. (as much as desired)
Combine and blend for 1-2 minutes, til smooth.
2. Great-Tasting Green Shake (from Readers’ Favorite Healthy Recipes Vol. 1)
This shake may include several ingredients, but it makes a huge amount that you’ll be able to meal prep for the week if you want to. What makes this smoothie so creamy is the whole avocado (pit and skin removed, of course). Despite the avocado’s soft texture, it’s actually quite high in fiber, so that covers two of the three bases you need to make a complete meal (fiber being your carbohydrate piece of the puzzle).
For protein, choose a protein powder that is free of preservatives and filler to ensure you’re getting a totally clean product. Our protein powders, for instance, are tested regularly before packaging to ensure that there are no heavy metals that will overload your system.
- 8-inch English cucumber
- 1 lime, peeled
- 1 avocado
- 1 large handful baby spinach leaves
- 3 celery sticks
- 6-7 strawberries or raspberries
- 1 grapefruit (meat and juice only)
- 1 handful raisins
- 6-8 drops liquid stevia
- 1 1/2 scoops protein powder
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 handful blueberries
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
- 5 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy and smooth.
3. Chocolate Oatmeal Smoothie (from Big Book of Green Smoothies)
This smoothie is pretty simple and straightforward, using oatmeal to provide a milky quality to the final product. For an even creamier result, remember that you can soak the oats for a few hours beforehand and then blend with the rest of the ingredients.
Flax seeds also provide some thickness in this smoothie, especially if you’re meal prepping and allow it to sit overnight––they have similar absorbent qualities to chia, though not as high, but they still soak up some of the liquid to make a thicker drink.
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder
- 1 large handful spinach
- 1 sliced apple
- 1 sliced banana
- 2 tbsp freshly-ground flax seeds or sprouted ground flax
Blend and enjoy!
4. Chocolate Goji Smoothie (from 101 Healthy Lunch Ideas)
You’ll go nuts for this coconut-based breakfast! Using both the water from a fresh, young coconut as well as its silky smooth meat, this smoothie is as creamy as they come, and has superfood qualities to boot.
Besides coconut’s health benefits, this smoothie features goji berries, cacao powder, and raspberries, which are incredibly rich in antioxidants. In fact, cacao powder is one of the most highly concentrated sources of plant-based antioxidants! I think that’s reason enough to get your chocolate fix with this morning blend.
- 1 cup young Thai coconut liquid
- 1/2 cup young Thai coconut meat
- 1/4 cup goji berries (if dried, preferably soaked in the coconut liquid 30 minutes)
- 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup raw honey or real maple syrup
- Crushed ice to achieve desired consistency
Puree all ingredients in a high-powered blender and enjoy!
5. Rita’s Favorite Green Smoothie (from Readers’ Favorite Healthy Recipes Vol. 1)
This recipe contains a quarter cup of chia seeds, which are loaded with antioxidants, protein, fat, and a TON of fiber! Just one ounce (or two tablespoons) of chia seeds contain almost half of your fiber intake for the day, so this is a great smoothie to start you on the right foot.
Chia is also the star ingredient for making this smoothie super thick, so the longer you let it sit to absorb liquid, the more it will thicken up. For even more creaminess, you can swap the hemp seeds for flax seeds, which will help absorb some of the extra liquid as well.
- 1 lb spinach
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 lemon, peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 orange, peeled and sectioned
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 3 frozen bananas
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 4 tbsp hemp seeds
- 4 cups filtered water
- 4-8 drops liquid stevia, to taste
Place chia and hemp seeds in a high-powered blender and grind to a powder, stirring if needed, and then grind again. Add water, all citrus, blueberries, and bananas, then blend again. Add all greens and blend again. Top off with water if needed for desired consistency, then blend one more time.
Check out these other popular posts about green smoothies:
9 Ways To Get Kids To Drink Healthy Green Smoothies
How Many Calories Are In A Green Smoothie?
Healthiest Smoothie Recipes For Each Season Of The Year
10 Easy Green Smoothies Kids Of All Ages Will Love
Green Smoothies For Diabetes: Mistakes, Tips, and Recipes
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
- Baba, N; Bracco, EF; Hashim, SA. “Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium chain triglyceride.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1982 Apr; 35(4):678-82.
- Cunnane, SC, et al. “Can ketones compensate for deteriorating brain glucose uptake during aging? Implications for the risk and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2016 Mar; 1367(1):12-20. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12999. Epub 2016 Jan 14.
- St. Onge, Marie-Pierre; Jones, Peter J.H. “Physiological Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides: Potential Agents in the Prevention of Obesity.” The Journal of Nutrition. Volume 132, Issue 3, 1 March 2002, Pages 329–332, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/132.3.329
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