I can always use an extra helping of veggies, and my secret weapon to consuming them is to add them in this Carrot Cake Smoothie.
Carrots are a great bridge between flavors, and marrying them with bananas, sweet potatoes, walnuts, dates, and a touch of cinnamon hits all the notes for a well-balanced beverage that is easy to make and a hit with the whole family.
And you needn’t relegate this just to breakfast! Smoothies, especially a more hearty one like this, work well as an afternoon snack for myself or my kids.
Carrot Cake Smoothie Flavor Profile
I want something called a Carrot Cake Smoothie to taste like carrot cake, and here, all the familiar flavors are present: sweet and earthy carrots, vanilla, cinnamon, and walnuts (which may or may not be in your version of the cake).
It’s all rounded out with bananas, sweet potatoes, and dates for some natural sweetness. Optionally, you can add in a little maple syrup too if you prefer your smoothies even sweeter.
While you can sometimes find sweet potato puree in cans at your local grocery store, I find it just as easy to make my own. To do this I preheat the oven to 425°F, take 3-4 sweet potatoes and wrap them in foil. Then bake them on a sheet pan in the oven for 40-50 minutes (they’ll be done when a fork easily pierces through the skin into the flesh). Unwrap the potatoes, let them cool to room temperature, and then slice them in half lengthwise, scooping out the mixture into a bowl. I use a fork to mash it all up, or you could dump all of the flesh into a food processor and whiz it up for 30 seconds to make it a very smooth puree.
Can You Sub Pumpkin Puree for Sweet Potato Puree?
The short answer is yes! For this recipe I had canned sweet potato purée on hand, although I often bake whole sweet potatoes myself and keep the purée frozen for use in veggie burgers, or to have for mashed potato topping for my shepherd’s pie.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter tasting than pumpkins, and that’s why I love that sweetness mixed with earthy carrots here, pumpkin purée is more readily available in stores.
You can substitute canned pumpkin purée one for one with the sweet potato purée, however, you may want to increase (or add in) the maple syrup. Do a quick taste before serving and if it’s not quite sweet enough for you, add in a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon and blend again.
A Note About Carrots
You can use raw carrots, blanched carrots. You can grate them yourself or buy bags of grated carrots in the produce aisle. You can even check the frozen food section and look for sliced or grated carrots there.
If you don't like the earthy taste of raw carrots and you want to grate and blanch them yourself just follow these simple instructions.
- Shred or grate carrots on a box grater or in a food processor.
- Set a bowl of ice water on the counter.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove, and blanching for 30 seconds.
- Strain and transfer the carrots to the ice water to "shock them," stop the cooking process.
- Strain again, and pat dry.
Do this ahead of time with a whole batch of freshly grated carrots. You can store portioned out, cooled and dried, blanched carrots in small containers in the freezer, or mix into smoothie packs to have a whole portion of ingredients ready for you.
Tips for Making the Best Smoothies
Want to know the biggest tips for making the perfect smoothie? Freeze all the ingredients ahead of time. All of them! Even the nuts. When everything is uniformly cold, it blends better in my experience. And don’t use ice.
I like to create smoothie packs but you can also freeze the ingredients in larger amounts and just portion out what you need. If you find that you have lots of purée left over, I portion it out into small silicone ice cube trays that hold about 1 ounce in each cube. After I freeze them, I pop them all out and store in a freezer bag until needed. They’ll keep about 6 months in the freezer.
When I’ve chilled everything overnight, I get a creamier textured smoothie, as opposed to times when I’ve used a mix of frozen and fresh ingredients. If you want even more smoothie making tips check out 5 additional tips for making better smoothies!
Now, about skipping the ice. The only frozen items you want in your blender are your food ingredients. Ice just takes up a bunch of space and leaves less room for the good stuff. It also waters down your mixture making the smoothie not as flavorful.
The Best Milk for Smoothies
I call for vanilla oat milk in this recipe because I think it makes the richest, creamiest smoothies, but if oat milk isn’t what you’re into use what you have on hand.
- Almond milk gives a nice nutty flavor to smoothies.
- Regular cows milk is a typical stand-in and will add body.
- Yogurt, both diary and nondairy, can add a tangy flavor, or extra sweetness and can be swapped for the milk in the recipe.
- And despite what I said earlier about ice, water, or even coconut water, is an acceptable liquid too.
Carrot Cake Smoothie Swaps and Subs
Just as there are many ways to change up the standard carrot cake recipe, this carrot cake smoothie is open to variations. Here are a few:
- Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut after you’ve blended everything.
- Pineapple chunks
- Swap walnuts for pecans
- A light dusting of nutmeg on top of the smoothie once you’ve served it, adds a warm spicy aroma.
- Add vanilla or peanut butter protein powder, which adds both protein and extra creaminess.
- Frozen riced cauliflower doesn’t change the taste and adds creaminess.
A Smoothie for Every Day of the Week
- Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
- Coffee Smoothie
- Apple Pie Smoothie
- Green Mojito Smoothie
- Bloody Mary Smoothie
- Strawberry Almond Oat Smoothie
Carrot Cake Smoothie
For this recipe you can use packaged grated frozen carrots if they're available at your local grocery store or peel, freeze, and grate your own raw carrots.
2/3 cup (2 ounces) grated frozen carrots
2/3 cup banana slices, frozen
3 tablespoons (about 2 large) pitted dates, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sweet potato purée, frozen
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
Dash ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vanilla oat milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup, optional
Add ingredients into blender:
In a blender add the carrots, banana slices, dates, sweet potato purée, walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla oat milk, and maple syrup if using.
Blend smoothie and serve:
Blend the ingredients on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until smooth, thick, and creamy. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla oat milk at a time, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 50g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||20%|
|Total Sugars 31g|
|Vitamin C 9mg||45%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|