Fruit smoothies are always on the menu in our household. We make them from mangos, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, bananas and more. We drink them for breakfast, mid-afternoon snack, or dessert after lunch or dinner. We used to buy fresh fruit that we then froze and blended with almond milk, but that got to be expensive. So these days we make our smoothies with fresh fruit, ice cubes, and twists like dashes of sea salt to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients; lemon juice, lime juice, or even apple cider vinegar to balance out the sweetness; slivers of fresh hot peppers to create a spicy kick as the sweet smoothie goes down; and (my favorite twist, versus my daughters’, involves adding) a few leaves of fresh basil, parsley, oregano, or some other green growing thing from our herb garden for added health benefits and unexpected turns for the taste buds. Other twists come from the many spices in our cabinet, like ground cayenne pepper and cardamom seeds.
As I write this entry, I’m drinking a blueberry, strawberry smoothie with a cardamom twist. After being introduced to cardamom via the Indian dishes that I sometimes prepare, I’ve come to love this particular spice. It’s flowery, warm, spicy and sweet all at once, and just a pinch of it does wonders for everything from cakes, cookies, puddings, savory curries, and, yes, smoothies. Try some in your next smoothie and tell me what you think.
Blueberry, Strawberry Smoothie with a Cardamom Twist
Yield: approximately 2 3/4 cups
4 large strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (OR 3 fresh basil leaves)
2-4 Tablespoons of agave nectar or raw sugar (depending on how sweet you like your smoothie)
dash of cayenne pepper
1-3 dashes of sea salt
2 cups ice
Add the ingredients to the blender in the order specified and blend on the frozen drinks setting of the blender or the highest speed possible.
Serve in beautiful glasses garnished with fresh herbs.
I’d love to hear about your favorite fruit to use in and twist on the traditional smoothie, so leave a comment!