I recently spent some time in New York City and was surprised to find healthy places to eat were a bit thin on the ground, so since getting home have been really keen to get back to clean eating (I think I needed a good cleanse!)
I’ve been experimenting with a protein booster for smoothies by Indigo Herbs called Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix (from £6.99). I was sent a trial pack and found out a bit more about the company, who are also big supporters of Veganuary (more on that later).
This mix is packed full of nutrients and protein and is designed for vegans as a pre- or post-workout boost, however, it can also be used in smoothies and snacks for a boost even if you’ve not been exercising.
One of the main ingredients in the Kick Ass powder mix is spirulina, which has great nutritional benefits but also smells like flaky fish food you’d sprinkle in a tank or bowl. And it’s green. Given the smell I presumed the mix would also have quite a strong (and not, if I’m honest, particularly nice) taste, so these recipes, which are so simple to do, use strong fruit flavours to completely conceal this – and work a treat.
I freshly juiced the fruits I used but you can replace this with supermarket juices, but opt for the ‘not from concentrate’ varieties.
Carrot, apple and banana kick ass smoothie
I used around 200ml of fresh carrot juice and mixed with 4 juiced green apples. (Fresh carrot juice has a very sweet taste and almost creamy texture and the apples add a bit of zing.)
Add two chopped soft bananas to the juice mix, a tablespoon of the Kick Ass vegan smoothie mix and blend (I just used a hand blender) to give a thick consistency. Add more banana to thicken if you need to.
This green mix looks as though it will have a vegetable flavour but is rich and sweet (and if you have a really sweet tooth add in honey or agave syrup to taste).
This makes a delicious drink any time but is also very satisfying and hits the spot after a workout.
Kick Ass Kiwi and Raspberry Chia Boost
The base for the next two recipes is the same; chia seeds soaked overnight in fresh apple juice.
The Kick Ass smoothie mix already contains chia powder as chia seeds are a good source of protein, so this gives you a double protein whammy! The seeds absorb the liquid (and flavour), swell and soften and I used this thick mixture to make a dessert, rather than a smoothie.
Put a layer of chia seeds in a bowl and add several times more liquid (here it’s the apple juice). Leave at least overnight, but you can leave a couple of days in the fridge to thicken, and if the mixture gets too thick, add in more juice.
Once you get to this point, the rest is quick and simple.
Kick Ass Kiwi
I used six kiwi fruit and started by roughly pureeing two of them with a hand blender so they weren’t totally smooth, but had some chunks of pulp remaining. Spoon this mixture into your serving glasses.
Blend the remaining fruit. Kiwis give a lot of juice so are perfect for this. Add in the thick chia seed mix and blend, adding more of the seeds until you get a consistency you’re happy with (I like mine really thick).
Add a tablespoon of the Kick Ass smoothie mix and blend. Pour this into your serving glasses on top of the pureed fruit.
Viola! A very healthy tangy tasting dessert with an extra fruity kick at the bottom.
Raspberry Chia Boost
Raspberries don’t give a lot of juice so you do need a couple of the packs as they usually come in the supermarket, so it will cost around £4 to get enough for this (which does make this quite an expensive, but delicious, dessert.)
Blend the raspberries – I just used a hand blender as the quantity is quite small.
Add in the chia seed mix and blend again. Do this until you’re happy with the consistency.
Add a tablespoon of the Kick Ass smoothie mix and blend – this is where the green powder and red raspberry mix turns a dark brown colour, making the mix look like dark chocolate.
Pour this into your serving glasses or dishes and top with a couple of spare raspberries. Enjoy.
And there’s more…
The smoothie and both desserts are packed full of nutrition but taste delicious – what I like to call ‘stealth health’ – and there’s more recipes using this vegan mix, and others, here on the Indigo Herbs website (including must-try festive burgers).
What I really like about this company is their ethos and own commitment to a vegetarian or vegan diet, and their involvement is more than just selling a great range of products to like-minded people.
It was the first time I’d heard about Veganuary and as a vegetarian of 30 years, I’m planning to take part in this in January 2016 – and will post more on this soon.
Do have a look at the Indigo Herbs website, and if you’re thinking of trying a vegetarian or plant-based diet, they’re a great source of information about staying healthy and getting all the right nutrients in your diet.
Even if you’re not planning on that, the recipes in this post are still totally delicious and very good for you. If you do give them a try, please let me know what you think.