The above smoothie from Juice Core in Old Town Scottsdale is probably the best smoothie I’ve ever had and I don’t even love chocolate and mint foods together! My dad loves York Peppermint Patties, but I’d rather have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup TBH. That’s why I’m so surprised that I’m obsessed with eating Mint Chip Smoothies on the regular. I can still pin point when my obsession started…
Almost three years ago I visited a friend in the Bay Area and she took me to Urban Remedy. (My recap from this trip is on the blog here.) Urban Remedy is great for healthy meals on the go. When we went to their store I remember the inside was pure mayhem. So many people clearing out their shelves. The only pre-made smoothie left that was healthy enough (not too healthy – no beets please!) but also sweet enough (must contain chocolate or cacao nibs) was their Mint Cacao Chip smoothie and I swore I was going to hate it. I got a good recommendation from my friend’s husband and was addicted at first sip. It’s just so fresh, but also tricks my brain into thinking that I’m eating a milk shake.
Coming back to Arizona I went on a hunt to find the best Mint Chip Smoothie locally. The winner is Mint Chip at Juice Core. I also found one called Mint Chip at Kaleidoscope. One week I found myself spending over $40 ($10 a smoothie) at Juice Core and I realized I had a problem. Just like my goal to finding the best Mint Chip smoothie in Arizona, now I needed to make a goal of creating the best recipe at home.
I checked out the ingredients from Urban Remedy, Juice Core and Kaleidoscope to take the items I liked best and now I’ve created the recipe at a fraction of the cost of having it made for me. Trust me, there are still times when I’m missing ingredients and I still find myself at Juice Core. I made an easy recipe card for you to download and save, but I’m going to break down the ingredients below (all are gluten free of course!) Also, I’ve created an Amazon Wish List so it’s easy to shop most of these products. *Due to COVID19, a few of the products are sold out and cannot be added to the list. I’ll add them as soon as I can!
Nut or Oat Milk – I’ve been drinking almond milk for several years without actually reading the ingredients on the carton. Now that I’m aware, it’s pretty scary what types of ingredients can hide in almond milk. It sucks that some companies are giving almond milk a bad rep because it’s my favorite! Plus, any nut milks could be hiding chemicals, so make sure you start reading the ingredients or use the Think Dirty app if you’re concerned. The only brands that I’ve found are safe enough to drink are Califia Farms (no gums, no stabilizers, and all of the things free – soy, dairy, gluten, carrageenan, GMO, BPA, etc) and Trader Joes’s Simply Almond Beverage (literally almonds and water only!) If you don’t know what carrageenan is or why you should care if your nut milk is free from it, it is a common food additive extracted from red seaweed that manufacturers use as a thickening agent. It can cause inflammation, digestive problems, like bloating, irritable bowel disease (IBD), and even colon cancer. More info on this is linked here from MedicalNewsToday and also linked here from healthline.
Leafy Greens – I prefer spinach, but if I’m eating too much spinach I’ll mix it up with a baby spring mix or kale. The dark greens are the best in my opinion.
Banana to Avocado ratio – I prefer to use a frozen banana so that my smoothie is cold without adding ice, you can always add ice if you like a colder smoothie. Also, I recently learned the life hack that you can actually freeze an avocado and it will maintain the same structure that it was frozen at. You’ll want to get it to the perfect softness that you prefer (I place mine in a paper bag to accomplish that), then peel and remove the pit. You can cut it up into cubes or quarters then place a serving into a baggie and combine all servings into a freezer bag. I keep my servings to 1/2 of a small avocado or 1/4 of a large avocado so that it’s easy to throw into the blender pre-portioned. I’ve noticed that bananas and avocados is what makes the calories add up quickly. Bananas add a sweetness to the smoothie, while the avocado adds a thick pudding like texture. I really can’t taste either, so I do half of a small size of each.
Cacao Nibs, Powder or both – The trick with cacao nibs is that I like to put them in the blender at the very end so that they’re cut down, but not fully blended. I like having larger chips! Also, I started out using only cacao nibs, but then I started adding cacao powder to add more of a coco taste (cacao powder is more bitter than it is sweet, so if you’re adding it to sweeten your smoothie it might actually do the opposite.) Cacao has a lot of great benefits like 40x the antioxidants of blueberries, the highest plant-based source of iron, lots of magnesium, more calcium than cow’s milk, and a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. My favorite gluten free brand is Navitas Organics.
Peppermint Essential Oil – You only need 1 drop!!! More than one drop of a ingestible essential oil can be very strong and could make your smoothie unpleasant to eat, so I make sure to only use one drop for a single serving smoothie. I recommend purchasing from a company that ethically sources their peppermint and is producing a high quality of guaranteed authentic essential oils. Otherwise you could be ingesting synthetic oil that is basically only fake flavoring. It doesn’t taste good and you won’t see any of the benefits that peppermint offers like energizing or eliminating harmful bacteria in the GI tract, which can support ingestion issues. The brand that I use and trust is Young Living. Young Living has one fo the only essential oil products that is FDA approved for ingestion. Plus, their oils are 100% pure and plant based. If you’re unfamiliar, I wrote a blog post here that talks about why I’ve chosen to use their essential oils to help promote my healthy lifestyle. If you’re interested in purchasing additional essential oils other than peppermint, I highly recommend reviewing Young Livings starter kits for a greater savings and to receive the tools to start your essential oils journey. There are several starter kits available, so please reach out so I can explain why one kit is better than the other based on your overall goals. Click here, oilwith.me/tfk, to go to the Young Living essential oils starter kit page and use Enroller Number 1604750 to sign up with me. If you want to dip your toes into using oils before purchasing a starter kit, you can always borrow my sample kit if you’re local or purchase from my unopened supply that I have listed on Poshmark.
Nut Butter is optional – Some people love adding nut butter to their smoothies because it can make your smoothie slightly smoother. I didn’t notice a huge difference in using it. The amount you use shouldn’t be more than a tablespoon otherwise you might start to taste it. My favorite gluten free nut butters are the almond butters from Justin’s or Barney’s Butter. If you’re wanting to reduce calories, I recommend skipping this ingredient as this smoothie is caloric dense from from avocado, banana and cacao.
Vitamix Blender – I’m obsessed with our Vitamix! We had this on our wedding registry fully aware that no one would buy it for us because it’s so pricey, but we did it so we could take advantage of the discount at Crate & Barrel when we purchased it for ourselves off our own registry since they never go on sale! To be honest, we ended up returning a lot of smaller items that we realized we didn’t actually need and put that store credit towards the Vitamix along with gift cards. Best purchase ever! My smoothies have never been so smooth!