This smooth creamy milkshake is green, so we thought it was festive for St. Patrick’s Day. The Essential Puree Guidebook chooses foods that add visual excitement to the dysphagia diet. This is not a diet of bland boring shades of beige. We emphasize over and over again, we eat with our eyes. That means color.
The classic combination of chocolate and mint make this a dessert in a glass, but please, have it as a snack if you choose. A leafy green, with an excellent nutritional profile, spinach is the background star of the shake. You really don’t taste it. The spinach is lost in a sea of mint.
The mint leaves also add color. If you don’t happen to have fresh mint leaves on hand, don’t give up the shake. Just use two or more drops of good natural mint extract. Peppermint works beautifully. The Frontier Brand is a good choice because it does not have an alcohol aftertaste. Olive Nation is another good choice.
For sweetener, this milkshake uses honey, a natural sugar that has been shown to help regulate sleep. If you serve this as a dessert after dinner, it helps in the release of serotonin, which converts to melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and quality of sleep. Please adjust the amount of honey to suit the palate of the diner.
Banana adds natural sugar and potassium and gives thickness and texture to the shake. This shake uses cocoa powder. Rich in anti-oxidants, cocoa has the virtue of completely dissolving in the shake. (This recipe is adapted from a NutriBullet recipe, with ingredients changed to make it appropriate for the dysphagia kitchen. The original recipe called for cocoa nibs, but I made the substitution because grinding up the cocoa nibs may leave particles that are not safe for the person with swallowing difficulties.)
One may use coconut milk, cashew milk, or any other non-dairy milk. You may simply use dairy milk, depending on your personal preference. We use gum thickener to get the correct amount of thickness. In brief, whether you use the powder form or the gel form, for honey consistency, the correct amount is one packet for four ounces. For pudding consistency, double the amount of thickener.
Please remember, gum thickeners take three minutes to reach their full thickening potential, so place the Choco Mint Smoothie in the fridge for three minutes before serving. (Get your SLP, dietitian or physician to tell you the correct level of thickening for your particular medical history.) We have a posting on the website telling all about instant thickeners, including brand names and where to buy. Please consult it.
Servings in this Recipe: 2
- 3 Handfuls of fresh or frozen Spinach
- 1 Banana frozen and broken into pieces
- 6 Leaves Mint or ½ teaspoon good mint extract
- 2 Tablespoons good cocoa powder
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- 2 Tablespoons whey protein powder or plant protein powder (optional)
- 1 ½ Cups Almond Milk, chilled
For the Puree
- Add ingredients to the Tall Cup of your NutriBullet and extract for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
- Add 3 packets gel gum thickener or gum powder thickener, at the end of the extraction and blend to incorporate, ten or fifteen seconds. If the whole shake is not consumed at one time, it may be covered and held overnight in the refrigerator, then stirred and served the next day as a midafternoon snack.