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!
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.
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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:
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- 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.
Protein Shake FAQs
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.
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.
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
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.
Healthy Smoothie Ingredients
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 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.
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:
- Chocolate peanut butter smoothie
- Caramel protein shake
- Banana smoothie
- Chocolate protein shake
- Pumpkin shake
- Cinnamon date smoothie
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.
Vanilla Protein Shake
- 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.