This powder free vegan protein shake is packed with seed-based protein from flax, chia, and hemp. Creamy with the addition of almond butter and frozen bananas, one smoothie has over 20 grams of protein.
This is a mega vegan protein shake (made without protein powder). It can be made two ways: as a regular protein shake for people who exercise at a high level or use it as a meal replacement, or as a weight gain shake for those who are trying to reach a healthy weight. The ingredients vary slightly for each, so make sure you read it carefully before incorporating this smoothie into your diet.
Graham is trying to put on a few kilos (he’s very tall and has always struggled with being underweight, even though he’s in his late 20s now). I’ve been making him a weight-gain version every day for the past couple of weeks, and it’s definitely helping. His energy levels have increased significantly. It’s a big deal for someone who’s struggled with weight issues for years.
I also lost a lot of weight when I had gastritis a few years ago, and it took about a year to get back up to a healthy weight again. I don’t think we talk enough about people who have trouble gaining, as our society is focused on thinness. Parents, this vegan protein shake is also a good recipe if your child is going through a major growth spurt.
I usually do not list calories for recipes, because I want you to know that whatever you make from this site is good for you, no matter what the calorie count is. Good fat, for example, is of extreme importance in a healthy diet, and it obviously drives those numbers up. So we ignore that.
I feel it’s necessary to talk about it for this recipe because it’s purpose is to help people reach a healthy weight. Therefore, I’m going to share the calorie, protein, and fat numbers for both versions of this smoothie. Keep in mind that while the recipe is for two large shakes, these are the numbers for one 2-cup smoothie.
Protein: 705 calories, 22 grams protein, 32 grams fat.
Weight Gain: 945 calories, 24 grams protein, 52.5 grams fat.
I know it probably doesn’t seem like that much of a difference. I recommend, however, that you don’t drink the protein shake every day unless you are highly active. You can reduce the fat and keep the protein by using more chia in place of the flax, but most good plant based protein sources go hand in hand with healthy saturated fats. Both almond butter and hemp seeds are quite high in fat.
Because the weight gain version is really very high in fat, try to avoid having it daily for extended periods of time. Based on a 2000-calorie a day intake (which, if you’re trying to gain, should be increased to at least 3000), fat consumption should be 65 grams. We add very little fat to our food, so I’d say Graham is still at an acceptable mark for that, even with the extra 50+ grams a day. If you don’t follow a plant based diet, you might go significantly over, so keep that in mind.
In terms of taste, I like the smoothie. It’s a very dark chocolate flavour with a light fruitiness. Another version I make leaves out the raspberries and uses peanut butter instead, and it’s nice too. I add a pinch of cinnamon to that one too. If you’re giving it to children, you might want to reduce the cacao a bit to make it sweeter.
The flax and chia will cause it to thicken significantly if it’s left sitting for a period of time, so you might need a spoon by the end of it. If you don’t want that, leave them out and use extra hemp instead. If you don’t mind the thickening (it’s sort of like soft ice cream) it will keep well in the fridge for a day, so you can make the full batch and keep one in a jar for tomorrow.
Update 11/2018: A close friend of mine makes this for her teenagers during Ramadan before they start their fast to help keep them full during the day and has been doing this for a couple of years now. Apparently it makes a big difference and really helps them get through the long Manitoba days while they’re fasting.
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- 2 large spotty bananas, frozen
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 3 tablespoons almond butter*
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 3 tablespoons ground flax
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk, see variation
- 4 soft medjool dates
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Weight Gain Variation:
- Substitute 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk for 1/2 cup almond milk*
- Add 2 tablespoons hemp oil
- If not vegan, you can also add 1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
- Toss everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve chilled.
1. I prefer almond butter to other nut butters because it doesn't overpower everything else, but use whatever you have on hand. Sub sunflower butter for nut allergies.
2. So you'll have 1 cup of almond milk and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. It's just too much to use all coconut milk (a whopping 36 grams of extra fat!)