Have you ever made something so delicious and simple that you wonder where it’s been all your life? I certainly wondered that when I tasted this smoothie for the first time. It’s like eating a cold piece of apple pie the morning after Thanksgiving only better, because you can have as much of it as you want with zero guilt (not that I’ve ever exactly felt guilt about my pie consumption…)
I have to confess: I’m not a sweets person! Sugary food does nothing for me, and even the sweets I do like tend toward the sour side (Ina Garten says lemons>chocolate and I simply could not agree more). Even when I do actually get fresh-pressed juice or smoothies, there’s always a savory element—bright citrus or kale in juice, peanut butter or coffee in a smoothie. I feel like whenever I say I hate sweets, people look at me like I must be some health maniac. Not so! If anything, it actually fucks me over, because instead of having a smoothie, fruit, or yogurt for breakfast like a normal human being, I’ll eat a plate of hash browns and veggie breakfast sausage (Trader Joe’s does these both best, for my money). Getting fruit into my diet is really challenging because even though I enjoy eating it when I will myself to do so, it’s never going to feel as satisfying as, I don’t know, Cheez-Its or literally licking the flavor packet that comes with Top Ramen (which is a thing I actually did as a child, is it any wonder that I have a, well, strained relationship with my weight?)
Another flaw in the “Chelsea’s going to become a health guru that drinks green smoothies all the time” was that our blender straight-up sucked. It was a hand-me-down from my grandmother to replace our previous, even shittier blender. It technically worked fine, but it didn’t have enough strength or sharpness, so we’d always find date chunks or 1 random unblended leaf of spinach in our smoothies. It made the depressing reality of eating fruit even more bleak. So, with the endorsement of my dietician (and the permission of my husband to use his credit card), we bought a brand-new blender that was blessedly available in pink (although I genuinely chose the model based on reviews, I swear!) I’m glad I acted when I did, because that color’s no longer available and it’s back to full price! It’s no Vitamix, but it’s a great budget option.
Anyway, the deal was that if we invested in a decent appliance, we’d actually have to use it. The first go-round was a peanut-butter & blueberry protein smoothie (I’ll post that recipe eventually), which was okay, but the second experiment, an ode to New England’s most glorious season, was born today. The great thing about this smoothie is that, while it is definitely sweet, the cranberries add a lovely tartness that you could tone down or ramp up, per your preference.
Autumn Apple Smoothie (serves 2)
- 2 red apples, skins on and cored
- 1-2 banana, peeled (I used 1 banana and half a frozen banana, since I don’t add ice to my smoothies)
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1 pitted date
- 1/4 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2-1 cup almond milk (depending on how thick you want it)
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- a dash of vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- a dash of nutmeg
Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on medium/high until thoroughly combined and smooth. The result should be a really pretty pale pink color from the apple skins and cranberries. If you don’t care about the aesthetic, definitely throw a handful of raw spinach in there. It’s my favorite smoothie hack to get the most nutritional bang for your buck. This recipe yielded two full pint mason jars, plus a little extra, since I like my smoothies thin; you could definitely halve the recipe for one, or freeze the second smoothie and thaw it for breakfast the next day (who needs Daily Harvest?)
You can customize this to your heart’s content, as with any smoothie, but a great swap would be to skip the vanilla extract and add a scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use this). Any way you choose to make it, enjoy!