The focal point of most smoothies, including vegan smoothies, is fresh fruit, but other ingredients are commonly added to thicken the beverage and add the familiar creamy consistency. Some of the most popular thickeners in smoothies are milk and yogurt, which do not have a place in the vegan diet. Vegan smoothies can replace milk and yogurt with a number of ingredients, including non-dairy milks, soy yogurt, vegan protein powders, or even tofu.
Most vegan smoothies are inherently rich in vitamins and often antioxidants thanks to the various fruits, and occasionally vegetables, which make up the bulk of the drinks. It is certainly possible to make a vegan smoothie with nothing but fruit and a little bit of juice or non-dairy milk, but the results may be thinner and less creamy than a smoothie that utilizes a thickening ingredient. To obtain a thicker texture with minimal ingredients, frozen fruit can be mixed with fresh fruit, or fresh fruit mixed with ice cubes. A peeled banana cut into chunks and frozen can be added to thicken the texture and also add some creaminess while respecting vegan dietary restrictions.
The liquid components of vegan smoothies generally fall into one of two categories: fruit juice or non-dairy milks. Any type of juice that complements the fruit selections being used — ranging anywhere from apple juice to orange juice to pomegranate juice — can be used in vegan smoothies. Non-dairy milks can be derived from rice, soy, hemp, or nuts; many varieties come in plain, vanilla, or chocolate flavors, which makes them compatible with multiple fruit choices.
Vegans need to take care to include enough protein in their diets, and vegan smoothies are actually an easy way to bolster protein intake. Smoothies can be thickened with soy yogurt, plant-based protein powders, or silken tofu. Soy yogurt often comes in plain or fruit varieties, which makes it easy to mix and match flavor combinations. Hemp protein, soy protein, and brown rice protein are all acceptable vegan protein powders that can significantly thicken smoothies with just a scoop or two. Since tofu is high in protein but very mild in flavor, soft varieties such as silken tofu can be cubed and blended into smoothies.
Some other possible variations on vegan smoothies are realized through extra ingredients added either for flavoring or a nutritional boost. Since honey is not strictly vegan, sweeteners such as agave syrup, natural cane sugar, or maple syrup are common choices. Flax seed or flax seed oil are sometimes added because they are good plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Similarly, finely ground nuts or nut butters can be added to vegan smoothies as sources of both protein and healthy fats.