When I was in Salt Lake City, I lived across the street from a vegetarian cafe/yoga studio. I never made it to their yoga classes, but I would frequently stop by for a light meal or a smoothie.
Their smoothies--they called them Chakra Elixirs--had names like Love Bomb, Intuition and Compassion. At $7 each, they were expensive for Salt Lake City (though after 5 years in the Bay Area, I can't believe they were so cheap!) but I was obsessed with one of them--aptly named the Perfection Elixir--and would get it on my way home at least once a week. It had the most amazing sweet, minty, banana flavor, and it always made me feel fabulous.
It's been a while since I was in Salt Lake City, and the cafe has since closed, but I think I've finally recreated the smoothie. It's perfection (I'm sorry) in the mornings after a workout, but it's so easy to throw together, you could have it any time. I've been making a large batch for myself in the morning and leaving the leftovers in the fridge where I can have them for dessert after dinner. This smoothie just gets better after sitting for a few hours. Here's the recipe:
You will need:
- 2 cups of mint leaves (1 large bunch of mint or 1.5 plastic boxes)
- 3 medium fresh bananas*
- 1 cup coconut milk, not the canned kind (if your bananas are frozen, use 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup ice (if your bananas are frozen, you don't need ice)
*I generally use unfrozen bananas because I can never wait long enough for the bananas to get super ripe, but every once in a while, I'll find some almost black bananas hidden under a loaf of bread (I'm not the only one, right?) so I just peel them and put them in the freezer and then use frozen bananas for my next smoothie. (Don't forget to peel them first! It's a nightmare trying to peel frozen bananas.)
I think this smoothie tastes a little better with frozen bananas, but frozen bananas also make the smoothie much thicker, and some blenders can't handle it. If you're lucky enough to own a Vitamix and you like your smoothies on the thicker side, use the frozen bananas. If you like the idea of frozen bananas, but don't have a Vitamix, you can try it and see how it goes.
Chop up the bananas into bite-sized pieces and let it run a little longer. My blender will puree the frozen bananas (eventually and begrudgingly) but I have to leave it on for a while. I basically turn it on and then run upstairs and check my email or something to escape the noise. It's very loud. My cat hates it, but it does eventually get the job done. Whew, that was a long note about bananas!
Pour the coconut milk into the blender. If you're using frozen bananas, use 2 cups of milk. If you're using unfrozen bananas, just put in 1 cup of milk. (The original Perfection Elixir was made with almond milk, but I've found that I like the taste of coconut milk better.)
Add the mint to the coconut milk. It will look like too much mint. If you're putting the mint in and you're thinking, "Megan, is it really this much mint?", then you are doing it right. Yes, it is that much mint. Go ahead and throw in an extra couple of leaves for good measure.
Puree the mint with the coconut milk until the mint leaves have been chopped up into tiny pieces. Pureeing the mint with the coconut milk should prevent the mint from being chopped too coarsely. Chopping the mint alone or with one of the other ingredients can lead to giant mint pieces that ruin the texture of the smoothie.
After the mint pieces are sufficiently small, add the bananas. Puree until smooth. If you're using unfrozen bananas, add the 1/2 cup ice and blend.
Once everything seems blended, add the 2 tablespoons of honey and blend one last time.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!