My dear friend Rani is a total foodie, and our mutual love of wholesome, delicious fare is something that we frequently bond over. A few months ago she was kind enough to share a recipe for her new favorite breakfast shake (I think she called me specifically to tell me about this shake), and it was perfect timing because I had been feeling uninspired about my morning meals. She described it as thick and yummy, protein-rich, and full of healthy fats. From the ingredient list it sounded so delicious that I made one for myself that same day, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, (provided by the walnuts and chia seeds), it’s the perfect solution for those mornings when I’m not in the mood for a meat and veggies breakfast, or when I’m feeling too lazy to prepare a proper meal for myself. It’s also a great snack option whether I’m at home or on the go. Over time I have tweaked the original recipe to reflect my own personal taste, but its essence remains the same: A healthy, decadent, deeply satisfying chocolatey shake that you can feel great about sipping. I know I do!
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Yields: about 16 oz
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 of a ripe banana
1/4 cup raw walnut pieces
1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 2 tablespoons of water
1 or 2 Medjool dates, pitted (omit if you are avoiding sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unflavored protein powder (I use pea protein)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon chai masala
5-7 ice cubes
Clockwise from the top: Ice cubes, soaked chia seeds, pitted dates, banana, vanilla extract, protein powder, cocoa powder and chai masala together in the dish, coconut milk, and walnuts in the middle.
While you are gathering your ingredients, soak the chia seeds in 2 tablespoons of water in a small dish. This causes them to soften and form a thick gel, which makes them easier to blend, and prevents the seeds from flying up the sides of your blender. Place all of your ingredients into a blender, make sure the cover is on tight, and process on high until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes, and less if you are using a Vitamix.
All of your shake ingredients in the blender. Don’t forget to add the ice cubes too!
Your thick and creamy shake after a couple of minutes of blending. The more ice you add the thicker it will be.
Helpful tips: I use unsweetened coconut milk drink from the dairy case at my local grocer, but any milk will do. I’ve never tried this with full fat canned coconut milk, but I bet it would be delicious. If you want a nut-free shake, you can use 1/4 cup of shelled, raw sunflower seeds in place of the walnuts (Rani’s original shake recipe calls for sunflower seeds). Ground cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg would be great substitutions for the chai masala, but I would use 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and only 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom or nutmeg instead of the 1/2 teaspoon of chai masala to avoid overpowering the other flavors in the shake. Finally, 2 teaspoons of honey would work well as a sweetener if you don’t care for dates, although they are yummy in this!