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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 love this vanilla smoothie so much, I often make it for team Simple Green Smoothies to keep us energized.

This is perfectly sweet and is a no banana smoothie. It’s crazy how creamy it is without one!

vanilla protein shake being poured into glass on counter next to white bowl of dates.

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

Table of Contents
  1. Vanilla Protein Shake Recipe
  2. Protein Shake FAQs
  3. The Right Protein Powder
  4. Healthy Smoothie Ingredients
  5. 6 More Healthy Protein Shakes
  6. Vanilla Protein Shake Recipe

Vanilla Protein Shake Recipe

When I started running some serious distance, I realized I needed a powerful snack to refuel quickly. My vanilla smoothie was definitely up to the challenge, and now it’s on regular rotation in my meal plan. Here’s how to blend it:

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately. Pour over ice to cool it down.

Since this recipe contains no leafy greens (yet add ’em if you want!) there is no need to blend in 2 steps. The dates are a little tricky to blend, yet can still break down nicely! Start the blender on the lowest setting, then slowly turn up to about medium. Listen until it sounds like your blender is no longer ‘chopping,’ then turn it on high to finish blending.

For some reason, I find that blending dates immediately on high power does not get them chopped down to nothing, so I take the time to make sure there are no chunks in this protein shake.

fuel your passions

Protein Shake FAQs

What can I put in my vanilla protein shake?

I blend dates, cashews, cashew milk, homemade protein powder and real vanilla extract in my shake and it’s delicious. You can add any spices you want (pumpkin pie spice would be amazing!) and feel indulgent.

Are vanilla protein shakes good for weight loss?

They can be… homemade protein shakes are the way to go. Use low glycemic fruits, a quality protein powder, and only whole food ingredients when blending. My recipe uses dates, cashews, cashew milk, homemade protein powder and real vanilla extract and tastes like a legit milkshake.

How do you make a protein shake taste better?

First, stop using terrible protein powder. Seriously—ditch that gritty, cheap, fake sweetener stuff and switch to the real deal. Even while trying to create homemade protein powder I was told I HAD to add in sweeteners and additives to ‘make it taste good.’ I didn’t… and my protein powder is incredibly smooth, delicious, and actually clean.

The Right Protein Powder

vanilla smoothie with plant based boost

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 are 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 three years creating my own protein powder because what I needed wasn’t out there. My homemade protein powder is a combination of finely milled organic plant-based proteins and healthy fats that enhances your smoothie.

Use it in a creamy banana smoothie or a coconut water smoothie— it’s so versatile!

Healthy Smoothie Ingredients

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

vanilla smoothie recipe
  • Cashew milk: I like to use Elmhurst cashew milk ever since this brand took 1st place in the Best Almond Milk of 2021. 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.
plant based ingredients

6 More Healthy Protein Shakes

If this vanilla smoothie gets you on the protein shake kick like it did for me, then I’ve got some great recipes for you to try:

Blend up this vanilla protein shake and let me know how it turned out for you with a rating + review! Jazz it up with a scoop of peanut butter or pumpkin pie spice and get fueled by some pretty serious plant power.

5 from 15 votes

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. 
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Smoothie
Cuisine: Plant-Based
Serves: 1 smoothie


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  • 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.
  • If this isn’t sweet enough, add in 1 additional date. Alternatively swap 2 dates with 1/2 a banana.
  • Any plant milk can be used as the base, just make sure it is unsweetened.


Serving: 1smoothie, Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 242mg, Potassium: 476mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 36IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 79mg, Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 5 stars
    My daughter requested this smoothie for lunch and it was delicious. Perfectly filling.

    1. Hi Erin! This one is soooo good for kiddos, mine think it’s a vanilla milkshake.. and I’m not telling them otherwise!

  2. I made the protein powder using the hemp powder I had on hand. The only ingredient is organic hemp but it was rather old. Anyway, the vanilla protein shake tasted a bit bitter to me and my husband said it tasted like grass. I ordered the kind of hemp you recommended and will try that next time I make protein powder. Hope it helps. I will also put half the amount of protein powder mix in the smoothie. I cannot use more sweeteners as that would defeat the purpose of the diabetic diet. Am I right in assuming the bitterness comes from the hemp rather than the flax or chia seeds?

    1. Hi Lynn! So glad you tried out the recipe. Hemp can definitely have some bitterness to it! Here’s to hoping the new hemp powder will make a difference for you

  3. 5 stars
    This is going to be my go-to smoothie for post workout. The only thing I did was add a banana and some hemp hearts cause I love bananas. It was so yummy.
    Thanks for this one.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the most delicious smoothie I had ever taste, this will become my favorite breakfast smoothie!!! Thank you

    1. This one is always delish! I love when rawkstars find a favorite recipe!

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

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

  6. 5 stars
    Haven’t tried the recipe but looks great… just concerned about the sugar content??

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

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

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

  8. 5 stars
    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?

    1. 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 homemade protein powder. 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! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    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!

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

  10. 5 stars
    This is going to be the FIRST thing I make once my homemade protein powder arrives 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I’m loving the homemade protein powder and can’t wait to make this smoothie using it. I see it becoming my new post-workout drink.

    1. 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! 🙂

      1. Thanks for the update and those sound like great modifications!