Vanilla Protein Shake

This plant-based Vanilla Protein Shake is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s creamy, sweet, nourishing and keeps me full longer.

This plant-based vanilla protein shake is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I love how creamy, sweet and nourishing it is— especially after a workout or used as a meal replacement.

I’ve learned that having a high protein smoothie after an intense workout helps me recover quicker and eases the aches on my muscles. Adding a scoop of a plant-based protein powder is a simple way to boost the protein in your shake.

I’m training for our October Grand Canyon R3 Adventure Retreat right now,. This means every weekend requires long trail runs.

Post Workout Recovery Shake

I’m up to running 16 miles right now (just did the Appalachian Approach Trail in Amicalola Falls). As much as I wanted to jump in the shower and then fall asleep— I forced myself to get in that protein. And I’m so glad I did!

I’ve used a lot of powder brands over the years. They’re either too sweet, too gritty or just taste gross. It’s not an easy thing to find a plant-based protein powder that works perfectly in a smoothie. At least, until now. If you’re shopping for a powder, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be able to identify all the ingredients as a whole food (that’s how you know you’re putting real food into your body)
  • Avoid gums or flavors (they can affect your gut and tastebuds)
  • Avoid sugars, stevia and monkfruit (we use fruit in our smoothies to naturally sweeten it— your powder shouldn’t add more sugar on top of that or it’ll spike your blood sugar levels or confuse your tastebuds)

I’ve spent the last 3 years creating my own protein powder because what I needed wasn’t out there. Protein Smoothie Boost is a combination of finely milled organic plant-based proteins and healthy fats that enhances your smoothie. Yet doesn’t overpower it with gross flavors or textures.

Health Benefits of a Vanilla Protein Shake

The key to making this nourishing vanilla protein shake is nutrient-dense ingredients paired with healthy fats and protein.

  • Cashew milk: I like to use Elmhurst cashew milk ever since they took 1st place in the Best Almond Milk of 2020. It has the highest protein count (and no funky ingredients). Yes, it’s pricy… but it’s worth it.
  • Raw Cashews: adding just a tablespoon of raw cashews can boost a smoothie 20% in protein and thicken it too. For a creamier smoothie, soak the cashews for 30 minutes before adding to the blender.
  • Dates: This natural sweetener is loaded with fiber and flavor— it literally tastes like vanilla/caramel treat to me! You just have to get over the gross look of dates …. and make sure to remove the pit before blending. (I’ve learned the hard way!)
  • Vanilla: I have become obsessed with vanilla ever since I’ve been buying the ground vanilla powder from Madagascar beans. They are so flavorful!!! And there is no alcohol taste either, which I’ve never been a fan of.

    I add ground vanilla bean powder to lattes, smoothies, cookies and oatmeal. I’ve been using the Wild Vanilla Powder brand and really like it. It’s the most vanilla flavor I’ve ever tasted in such a small amount.

How to make vanilla protein shakes taste better

If you’ve bought vanilla protein powder to make a shake or created your own recipe, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of issues. Here’s 3 tips to make your next shake test better:

Bananas or dates make the best natural sweetener.

Bananas and dates are packed with fiber and natural sugars. They are honestly the perfect combination to make it sweet, but not cause a sugar crash.

They add a depth of flavor that you’ll never get with processed sweeteners. This is why you’ll often see natural flavors on top of these kinda of sweeteners. Stevia and monkfruit leave a bitter, sharp taste in the mouth. They also overpower the flavors, which is why I avoid any powder that uses these processed sweeteners.

Use a plant-based milk with a high protein count.

I didn’t realize how different plant-base milks would be when it comes to protein content, taste or quality. Yet once I did the Best Almond Milk of 2020, it quickly became obvious there is a difference.

If you’re trying to increase your protein consumption, then I’d recommend using Elmhurst Cashew Milk. With 4 grams of protein in 1 cup, vs Silk Cashew Milk which contains < 1 grams of protein per serving.

Vanilla Protein Shake

This plant-based Vanilla Protein Shake is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I love how creamy, sweet and nourishing it is— and it makes a great post workout recovery smoothie or meal replacement. 
5 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Smoothie
Cuisine: Plant-Based
Servings: 1 smoothie
Calories: 347kcal
Author: Jen Hansard



  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender.
  • Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately. Feel free to add ice to chill it down.



You can use another plant-based protein powder if your choice, yet taste, sweetness and nutrients will vary.


Serving: 1smoothie | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.4g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12.7g | Sodium: 298.8mg | Fiber: 11.3g | Sugar: 32.5g
Did you make this?Tag @simplegreensmoothie and hashtag it #simplegreensmoothies so we can reshare on our plant-based Instagram account.
#1 Green Smoothie Of all Time— no joke!
About Jen Hansard

Mom of 2, ran across the Grand Canyon and lover of smoothies, coffee & tacos. I transformed my family's health with a realistic plant-based diet. I also found myself again along the way.

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Ratings & Comments

  1. Bonnie says:

    This was my first smoothie from your site and yup yup yup!

  2. Kelly Wamhoff says:

    Is there anyway to add this and the chocolate protein smoothie to your app?
    I bought the app assuming these would be there…

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Kelly! We add new recipes to the app each week so these may show up in the app in the future! 🙂

  3. Tom Conrad says:

    Haven’t tried the recipe but looks great… just concerned about the sugar content??

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hey Tom! You can use one date or leave the dates out altogether and that will decrease the amount of sugars. 🙂

  4. Lois Weidenbach says:

    I’m SO excited to get my protein powder! I’m SO happy you finally created it!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      I am too, Lois!! You’re going to love it and once you receive it, you definitely need to make this smoothie. 😀

  5. Lori Sowerd says:

    This looks really good. I love the videos you’re adding to the recipes— and it’s super helpful to watch you blend. Thanks Jen for doing the videos in your cute kitchen. If I don’t have a protein powder, what would be the best “superfood” to add to this one? I have chia seeds, hemp hearts, and some almond butter— could any of those work and still taste good?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Lori! I agree- Jen’s videos are great and helpful. As far as adding a superfood, you can use any that you like as all of the options you listed are great ones. Depending on which one or ones you choose, the taste will vary slightly but I think it would still taste good. I def encourage you to try our Protein Smoothie Boost. One serving of PSB turns your smoothie into a meal with 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of healthy fats + 7 grams of fiber. *And* it’s virtually flavorless so you can add it to any smoothie and not worry about changing the taste profile. Hard to top that! 🙂

  6. Jennifer A. says:

    So delicious! I’ve been hooked since the first time I tried this recipe, and find myself craving it! I like having a healthy alternative to satisfy my sweet tooth!

  7. Erin says:

    This is my fav post workout drink. Love that it is banana free

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      So true! Non-banana lovers don’t even have to worry about a substitution. 🙂

  8. Olivia says:

    This is going to be the FIRST thing I make once my Protein Smoothie Boost arrives 🙂

  9. Jessica says:

    I’m loving the Protein Smoothie Boost and can’t wait to make this smoothie using it. I see it becoming my new post-workout drink.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Kale yeah! 😀

    • Jessica says:

      Update: I made this smoothie the other night for a late-night snack. It was very tasty. Next time, I’m going to add a frozen banana to make it colder and creamier and sub maple syrup for the dates so I don’t end up with small date chunks. Either way you make it though, I highly recommend this one! 🙂

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Thanks for the update and those sound like great modifications!

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