If you’re out of bananas for your morning smoothie, cashews can be a great substitute. They provide healthy fats and a thick texture that mimics bananas, and can be soaked in water to make them easier to blend. Cashews are also lower in sugar than bananas and may aid in digestion and blood sugar management. Other banana alternatives include mango, pineapple, peanut butter, and avocado. Adding maple syrup can provide sweetness to your cashew smoothie.
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Bananas are the star of many morning smoothie recipes. They provide a fruity taste that pairs well with just about everything, and add a thick creaminess to any smoothie you can think of. But sometimes, we find ourselves fresh out of bananas. This shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a nutritious, delicious homemade smoothie, because if you’ve got cashews in the pantry, you’re in luck — you can simply swap the bananas for cashew nuts for a nutrient-packed, oh-so-delicious alternative. This swap is also useful for those of us who just aren’t into bananas, or have a banana allergy. If you can tolerate tree nuts, cashews are a great substitute for the yellow fruit, because they provide healthy fats and a thick texture that mimics a banana’s best qualities (aside from sweetness).
If you’re unsure of how to use cashews in your smoothie, begin by adding ½ cup of nuts to your recipe, then add more or less next time according to your tastes. Some people swear by soaking cashews in water to soften them up before using them to make smoothies. Doing this not only makes them easier to blend, but gives them a creamier, nuttier flavor.
How to soak cashews
Soaking cashews is just like pre-soaking dried beans: You can either cover them in cold water and let them sit overnight, or use hotter water for a faster soak. The higher the heat, the lower the soak time, so if you’re in a hurry, either cover the cashews in scalding water for upwards of 45 minutes or put them in a bowl filled with boiling water for ten minutes. After that, you should be good to go.
Now, your banana-less smoothie is missing one last thing: sweetness. Cashews will add a nuttier, earthier flavor to your smoothie, but unlike bananas, the nuts are not inherently sweet. If you’re looking for some extra sweetness, you can always add maple syrup, which is a great choice because it complements the flavor of cashews. As a bonus, maple syrup is loaded with antioxidants, zinc, riboflavin, and even more potassium.
Other banana alternatives
Cashews are incredibly nutrient-dense, meaning they pack a punch of vitamins and minerals, even in smaller serving sizes. Like bananas, cashews are high in fiber and provide comparable amounts of potassium, yet the nuts contain a fraction of bananas’ sugar content. Cashews may aid in better digestion and blood sugar management because they’re lower in calories, and their fiber content counteracts blood glucose spikes. In addition, cashews will actually provide longer satiation than bananas, thanks to their high fiber and fat content.
If you don’t have bananas nor cashews, there are a few other alternatives that you can consider trying in your next smoothie. Fruits like mango and pineapple provide a similar flavor profile to bananas. If you dislike or are allergic to these fruits, and you’re looking for some extra fat in your smoothie as well, try using peanut butter. It’s not as nutritious as cashews, but it is delicious. Lastly, avocados are high in fat with a satisfying creaminess, and their mild flavor doesn’t overwhelm your smoothie, making them a great banana alternative. The next time you find yourself without bananas, rest assured that you’ve probably got a replacement in your kitchen that might be even better.