The Unexpected Ingredient That Makes This Peanut–Butter Banana Smoothie Shine

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GEORGE V MAGAZINE / Amanda Suarez
Whether layered together with bacon and honey in the Elvis sandwich, turned into an ice cream treat, or stirred into oatmeal, it’s a combination that I and many others adore. The two arguably go together even better than classic peanut butter and jelly: The nut butter’s rich creaminess and savory notes complement the fruit’s natural sweetness and tropical flavor, and each bite is delightfully salty-sweet.
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This salty-sweet peanut–butter banana smoothie takes all of five minutes to whizz up and gets extra creaminess from whole milk, nut butter, and frozen bananas.

Peanut butter and bananas typically show up on my slice of toast at 11 p.m. when I need a quick snack before bed, and in the morning, I frequently reach into my stash of frozen bananas to whizz up a quick smoothie with the nutty spread.

You might think a banana smoothie recipe is about as helpful as a PB&J recipe (…nobody asked for it, you know exactly how you like your smoothie, etc.), but there really are a few key ingredients and techniques that can take your smoothie from boring morning filler food to something you actually look forward to.

Tips for the Perfect Peanut Butter–Banana Smoothie

Peel, slice, and freeze your bananas first. While the drink gets creaminess from milk and nut butter, using a frozen banana makes it even thicker and helps keep the drink cold. I’d tell you to use a regular banana if you don’t have any frozen, but the drink is exponentially better when thick and cold, and it’s worth keeping a bag of bananas in your freezer just to make this smoothie—and banana bread, of course. To make it easier for my blender to blitz up the frozen bananas, I peel and slice the bananas before freezing them in a zip-top bag. 

Use whole milk. I opt for whole milk so this smoothie feels more like a milkshake, but you’re more than welcome to use your favorite dairy-free milk instead. Some people incorporate yogurt to make their smoothies creamier, but I found that yogurt gives the smoothie a tartness that doesn’t work well with the banana flavor. The neutral flavors of whole and dairy-free milks such as oat milk, on the other hand, allow the banana and nut butter to shine.

Use natural peanut butter. Crunchy or creamy? It doesn’t matter much here, since it’s all going to be blended until smooth—so use whatever you have on hand. I do, however, recommend using nut butter with no added sugar or salt, as this can make the beverage cloyingly sweet or unpleasantly salty. 

Swap out the peanut butter for another nut butter if you’d like. If peanuts aren’t your thing, other nut butter or seed pastes like almond butter, cashew butter, or tahini are excellent options. Just be sure to look for the natural varieties with no additional sugar or salt, as that can impact the flavor of the smoothie. (If all you have is salted nut butter on hand, just skip the added salt in the smoothie recipe—or season to taste.)

Add some salt. I wouldn’t describe this as a savory shake, but just as you’d season a vanilla pastry cream or a chocolate mousse, using a touch of salt simply helps to bring everything together and highlights the natural flavors of the banana and nut butter.

The end result is a smoothie that’s not quite dessert for breakfast, but it’s so deliciously creamy that it might as well be.

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GEORGE V MAGAZINE / Amanda Suarez

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (175ml) whole milk (see notes)
  • 1 medium banana, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices, and frozen (about 5 1/2 ounces; 155g)
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (about 1 ounce; 32g), see notes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume

Directions

  1. In a blender, combine milk, frozen banana slices, peanut butter, and salt. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
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GEORGE V MAGAZINE / Amanda Suarez

Special Equipment

In a blender, combine milk, frozen banana slices, peanut butter, and salt. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute.

Notes

Your dairy-free milk of choice can be substituted for whole milk, but the smoothie will be sweeter if you use sweetened dairy-free milk.

Both creamy and crunchy nut butters will work here. Almond butter, cashew butter, and tahini can be substituted for peanut butter. I recommend using natural nut butters with no added sugar or salt, as that will impact the smoothie’s flavor.

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