Green Banana Breakfast Pudding
January 23, 2011

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A few days ago, a modest little post about green smoothies turned into a big discussion. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a blogger, it’s that there are a few types of recipe posts that are guaranteed to generate big responses:

  • Smoothies
  • Breakfasts
  • Desserts

Why? I really don’t know, but that I suspect it has something to do with the fact that all of these recipes tend to be on the sweeter side. I don’t plan to dominate the dessert market anytime soon, but I’m happy to blog about smoothies and breakfast ideas till I’m blue (green?) in the face. For example, I can tell you all about the tasty, frozen breakfast pudding I made a few mornings ago.

After years of avoiding them like the plague, I’m slowly and surely warming up to green smoothies. I’ve learned, though, that there are a few important prerequisites for my green smoothie approval.

  1. They’ve got to be very creamy—this means almond milk base no matter what, and a nice source of fat (avocado, nuts/seeds, nut butter, or coconut butter)
  2. They’ve got to be banana based. This is actually true of all smoothies, for me: apples, bananas, and berries are my favorite fruits, and I’m very picky about others, so I really can’t do a mango or pineapple base. If you’re allergic to bananas, as I know some of my readers are, I’m sorry! My smoothies will remain banana-heavy, but I’m sure other raw bloggers can talk to you about suitable substitutions.
  3. They’ve got to be nice and thick.

In keeping with that third item, I woke up a few mornings ago and wondered if I might try making a smoothie so thick that I could call it a “pudding” on my blog with a straight face. The following concoction—frozen banana, avocado, romaine lettuce, Vega Whole Foods Optimizer in the vanilla chai flavor, and ice—did the trick. It also tasted delicious, and I felt great getting some greens in before breakfast.

As a sidenote, I think recipes like this one will become more important to me now that I’m often on campus all day. When I was working and going to school at night, my schedule was demanding but I had constant access to a really impressive office kitchenette. This meant that it really wasn’t hard for me to work with fresh greens all day. Now, after years of saying that I just didn’t get why people came up with so many ways to “sneak” greens into their diets (green smoothies, kale chips, etc.), I finally understand: when you’re eating on the go and without kitchen access, it’s just a lot harder to eat huge quantities of greens. I refuse to eat any other way, and so I plan on adding a lot more greens to soups, drinks, breakfasts, and snacks.

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Green Frozen Banana Breakfast Pudding (serves 1)

1 large or 2 small frozen bananas
1/4 large avocado (1/2 if you’re working with tiny avocados, as is often the case out of season)
1/4 cup almond milk
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 scoop Vega Whole Foods Optimizer in vanilla chai (substitute any vegan protein powder of choice)
Dash cinnamon
4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till totally smooth. It may seem like you need more liquid at first, but you can use the plunger to get this all going, and it should result in a nice, creamy pudding. If you do need more almond milk, go ahead and add it.

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If you don’t have Vega or another vegan protein powder, don’t worry. Those things are expensive, and this is still a healthy breakfast pudding without them! However, if you want this to be nutritionally rich enough for a breakfast meal, and you’re working without protein powder, you might add a little silken tofu to this recipe, or a tablespoon or two of hemp seeds. You might also add some of my homemade chai spice mix, to replace the chai flavor!

And now, I’m curious: how do you all get your greens in when you don’t have kitchen access? I’ve got plenty of days each week when I’m home for lunch and dinner, in which case I’ll do my usual (which is to say, all of my lunches and dinners involve a hearty helping of greens, no matter what). But I’ve also got a bunch of night classes and lectures I’ll have to eat dinner in, and some on-campus lunch days, so I’m mighty curious about easy, portable green food options. Talk to me!

And happy Sunday 🙂

xo

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    56 Comments
  1. I made a super yummy chocolate version of this for dessert last night. Smooth and creamy, yet cool and refreshing!

    1/2 avocado
    1 banana
    2 medjool dates
    3 leaves romaine lettuce
    2 heaping Tbsp Vega chocolate Shake n’ Go smoothie mix
    Unsweetened chocolate almond milk

  2. Because I’m a little crazy fast when I eat, I usually don’t have the patience to eat with a spoon – lol. However, I have been enjoying a lot of chia puddings lately. Hard to eat that with anything other than a spoon though.

  3. Ha ha, this brings me back! My mom used to feed us mashed banana with avocado when we were babies in the 70s (I guess she was way ahead of her time). I bet she never knew she was feeding us grown-up vegan pudding! How is it that we all end up turning into our mothers in the end, LOL?

  4. Gena. I’m with you on bananas. I have to have them in smoothies! Best texture in the world. As far as toting greens to class. I’m in evening classes 4 nights a week. I make sure to pile on the greens early in the day and then take a green monster in a klean kanteen (to avoid the rude gawks of fellow students) and sip on it during class. I had to change my eating patterns for this class schedule, I used to juice in the morning then eat more later in the day. Now that I’ve reversed that I find that I have even more clarity of thought. Perfect for late night studying…with a beet juice. Yum!

  5. Hi Gena, Green Puddings are awesome! They have huge amounts of protein and lots of cancer fighting properties. If folks want to go lighter and stay creamy there are a few additional options. Opt out of the nut milk / avocado and use Irish Moss instead. ( Make Irish Moss into a paste by blending it with water.) The paste lasts for 10 days in the fridge and you can throw it into any pudding you make. Two other ideas: To keep things thick and creamy I also often use Mila (for its tremendous Omega 3) or non-GMO soy lecithin.

  6. Hi Gena
    I find doing somethingas simple as blending almond milk, banana and greens works well and lasts a decent amount of time. You can even just blend a handful of spinach leaves into almond milk and sweeten it to get some greens in.
    Also, while this won’t be ideal for travel, this “ice cream” pudding is truly to die for and focuses on berries and greens. http://www.caseylorraine.com/2010/08/choc-raspberry-ice-cream-or-ice-cream-soup/
    I definitely recommend you try it! I make it with carob a lot and you could also use tahini instead of avocado for yummy flavour. Banana would be a great addition too.
    Xo

  7. You are spoiling us with wonderful recipes, thanks! I love the idea of breakfast pudding, it sounds fun and something I’d have for lunch or dessert too. I’ve gotta try Vega Optimizer, but I wish it was cheaper. 😛

    When I don’t have kitchen access, I’ll usually pack green smoothies in a Klean Kanteen with a snack bar and fruit for a fast work meal.

  8. At school I often bring large green salads along with whatever else- I have a mini-fridge and microwave in the office, but nothing more. For lunch you could probably get away with non-refrigerated greens especially if you carried a freezer pack alongside them. For dinner I often steam a bunch of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, spinach, etc) and use my blending stick to blend these with almond milk, oil, nooch, nuts and/or tofu, and spice. Makes a hearty, veggie-heavy soup. This is just an idea- I haven’t tried it yet- but you might be able to freeze the soup to take with you, perhaps in a thermos, and then microwave it later in the day, assuming you’re willing to microwave or have access to one somewhere on campus. It’s tough to be green on the go, for sure… on days when I TA in the evening, I usually end up buying food from the student coop or getting a subway sandwich, which doesn’t really work for a true vegan.

  9. The thicker the better in my opinion too, when it comes to smoothies! I like ’em so thick that they almost get stuck in my straw, or have to be eaten with a spoon. And amen to sweetness and richness too!

    P.S. One of the most popular posts on my blog of late has been my raw vegan brownies. Yep, we bloggers/readers seem to love our desserts!

  10. I made a pudding/ smoothie like this recently. I added cocoa powder and a dash of cayenne to make it more festive and Mexican like 🙂
    I aim to get my greens through green smoothies, juicing, salad beasts, kale chips, snacks, and much more! You can never get enough greens, can you? There’s so many creative, yummy ways out there too!

  11. I can’t wait to try it!!!! 🙂
    Have you tried papaya-based smoothies? I make one every morning with soy milk, spinach, papaya, flax seed and sometimes vanilla protein powder. Papaya and spinach go very well together and papaya makes for a very creamy smoothie! Try it and let me know what you think.
    xoxo
    Lola

  12. That pudding is … brave. I don’t have many tips, because I don’t mind eating late. But to keep your body (and) brain nourished on more of a schedule, remember, you can always cart green juice in a klean canteen or thermos. Just make it a couple hours before you’re heading out so you can pop it in the freezer. I also like fresh squeezed grapefruit juice + crystal manna or a green powder. And many people cart green smoothies, so if you’re drinking those that would be an option too.

  13. while I do not have a kitchen available to me, I do have a microwave & mini-fridge in my room at the school I work at. I prep on the weekends for the week. Sauteed greens, chopped peppers, lettuce wraps. I also add spinach to a lot of items – pastas, sandwiches, smoothies, etc. I have a cooler that I pack with me.

  14. Every Monday through Friday I without fail have a green smoothie in the morning… I feel amazingly energized after doing so and it is such a great way to start my day! I love knowing that even if I get busy and can’t put a lot of effort into my lunch and dinner, that I still got at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables just from breakfast!

  15. As I gourge me kale chips, I must say that I often put greens into wraps, have kale chips, and just straight up bring a head of lettuce to school and eat it liek that. I also like a nice green smoothie a few times a week.

  16. I think it is nice to have an ice pack that I can throw in my portable, thermo lunch bag. It keeps everything fresh and cool, so I can put lots of leafy greens and veggies in tupperware containers and not worry about anything. Also, making smoothies ahead of time and then freezing them is good. You can just take one out and it’ll melt/be ready to eat later on. There are a lot of things I don’t bother keeping cool, though, too, like carrots. Otherwise, I always pack extra Larabars if I think I’m going to need a snack.

  17. For sure green smoothies and green juice is a great way to get greens on the go. Salads and wraps work too. Throwing dark leafies into hot soups works too.

    I suggest frozen mango instead of banana. My husband is allergic (poor thing!)

  18. The recipe looks great! Love avocado in a smoothie.

    I used to have greens with my scrambled tofu, in my soup at lunch and then sauteed with dinner. Now that I’m eating higher raw I have more green smoothies and juices because often I just don’t want a salad. I still take a cup of soup to work. We do not have a microwave at work so I use a thermos — I usually add kale or collard greens to any type of soup or chili when I’m heating it up in the morning.

  19. I make all my smoothies like pudding. And the majority of them are green like that. They look gross but they taste SO good!

  20. Love your unapologetic use of bananas and that you will always use them. Sometimes people write to me asking me for substitutions on recipes and many times, it’s possible but sometimes…it’s just..not. And not every recipe is for every person. And I am glad you hold your ground on what works for you 🙂

    Desserts, smoothies, and breakfasts…yes, always popular! I can come up w/ amazing savory dishes but the desserts are always more popular.

    Getting your greens in on the go? Your smoothie sounds like the perfect way to me.

    Enjoy your Sunday, Gena!
    🙂

  21. kale salads are usually great if you do an olive oil/braggs/what have you concotion for the dressing. the kale gets compressed very easily, so you can pack a ton of greens into a relatively small container.

    another good one (though less fresh) is to put green powder in your snack bars. cacao powder does a great job covering it up!

  22. When I was going to school last year, I came up with a very similar green avocado pudding concoction after getting sick of smoothie breakfasts all the time – banana, avocado, lemon or lime juice, hemp protein and romaine or baby spinach. Sweet, tart, filling and totally like dessert breakfast! Definitely getting in a heap of greens in the morning makes me feel good when I’m on the go or not sure where else my greens will come from during the day. Also, packing dips or hummus with greens blended in, like cilantro or parsley pesto for dipping veggies – relatively easy snacking.

    • Ainslie- your avocado pudding sounds great! What proportion of the ingredients do you use? I’m thinking 1/2 avocado, 1 whole banana, 1 whole lemon, handful of greens?

      • I’m a glutton for avocado, I usually do a 1:1 avo:banana ratio! that would be a large banana and med-small avo, but maybe still a bit on the decadent side, you could definitely do less avo and still achieve deliciousness! and def 1/2-1 lemon/lime juiced, and big ol’ handful of greens.

  23. I do green smoothies for breakfast. Whatever the variation, I always use 1/2 c almond milk, 1/2 c coconut water, and 1 Tbsp each of chia seeds, hemp protein powder, and ground flax seeds. Then I add fruits and greens. I’ve now started doing a raw soup either for or with dinner every night and sneak some greens into that as well. I have yet to figure out the best way to do lunch, but I plan to start growing my own sprouts soon and hope to make lunch out of them. When I have night class, I have a slice of toast w/ almond butter and some tea before or during class and then come home to raw soup afterward.

  24. As a newly vegan student (newly vegan, unfortunately not a new student) I find the best thing I can do is prep ahead of time. I shop one day a week and take the time that day to wash and cut up all my veggies. I’ll also make some kale chips (my favorite!), prep several green monsters and put them in the freezer for easy grab and go access during the week, soak and cook beans, cook a pot of grains and make a big pot of soup and typically one freezer staple (this week it will be falafel, I’m out and they’re handy to have with salads to make a complete meal). Salads travel well if you pack your dressing seperately (I find old pill bottles tend to the perfect size for vingerettes and have decent seals) and if everything is prechopped they don’t take long to put together. The key to eating healthy to me is convience. As a high-raw vegan I realize it matters a lot less to you, but I make large (ok huge) recipes of things like sauces and soups and freeze them in muffin tins for individual size servings and than dinner is only 3 minutes in the microwave away.

    • Very helpful comment! I had never thought of making and freezing smoothies ahead of time. I will most certainly be trying this soon! I used to make green smoothies more often but it’s a little time consuming when I have to leave at least 30 minutes before class starts to get to campus and still have time to walk my dogs in the morning.

  25. I’m not vegan or anything, but that looks good. I get my greens in no problem and I also eat maybe 1/2 – whole avocado per day. I love them. I do eat a lot of veggies and especially fruits (fruits seem to get a bad rap I’ve noticed, but..).
    I like bananas, but I’ve been suffering constipation and I’m relunctant to eat them now because I worry they might be too “binding”.
    I have been doing a smoothie at times like this: scoop of protein powder, 1 TBSP of flaxseed oil, and 1 cup of berries. I’d like to try something different or bump this up in calories, but I’m not sure how to do so effectively. Too many combinations or too much fruit or too much fat at one time, etc can really irritate my stomach. Its hard to know how to make great things that will be effective for a broken digestive system and at the same time gain healthy weight (for a sedentary female).

  26. hi Gena
    I take nori sheets with me to snack on when I feel like something salty (not when I am hungry of course 😉 (they come in handy snackpackages at an asian (korean) foodstore in Amsterdam! really cheap as well; 1 dollar per 3 big packages of each 25 grams of nori.)
    and I also snack on raw green beens, green bell peppers, sugar snaps, and broccoli florets with or without hummus- as easy to take with me as an apple (in a plastic tub or in a sandwich bag).
    especially sugar snaps are delicious!!

  27. I like to buy the packets of Amazing Grass powders and add them to my oats, yogurts and drinks when I’m on the go.. easier than carrying around a bushel of kale 😉

  28. Wow I think I could totally eat this! I try and make at least one meal of my day a huge salad. That’s how I get my greens in.

  29. Hello, I’m obsessed with green smoothies, particularly kale/coconut combinations. I make them at home (NYC) and just got back from trying a few in LA (i write about them in my blog prosciuttoandparmesan.wordpress.com. I’m on a 30 day vegan challenge. I have 9 days left and have already found I’m getting bored with tempeh/tofu. I like your blog and will search around for some new inspiration. In the meantime, was wondering if you find vegans gain weight initially? I don’t think I’m putting any on but I thought I was going to lean down and lose a few pounds (that wasn’t my intention but a nice benny). But I was completely wrong. I’m wondering if I’m eating too many carbs? If you have any professional advice on healthy/weight-loss or just overall healthy vegan diets would love to hear it. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    • Chelsea, Karen, and Wendy:

      GREAT topic! I should blog about this soon. Let me say this for now: veganism certainly does not guarantee weight loss! Sure, you’re potentially cutting out fatty meats and cheeses, but if you weren’t eating those things to begin with, the adjustment away from animal foods may compel you to depend too much on large portions, fats, or carbs.

      There is no such thing as “too much” carbs — it all depends on what kind of carbs and what your body type is (ie, how you tend to assimilate carbs). But of course, I do see a lot of vegans eating grains or bread or pasta 3x+ daily, which is (I think) more than is needed. A lot of new vegans also become obsessed with vegan baking, and a lot of raw folks become obsessed with sticky raw desserts. Either can pack on pounds.

      Ultimately, you have to remember that veganism works like any other diet: you need a healthy ratio of carbs, fat, and protein; you need a normal caloric range; you need healthy, whole foods. Veganism won’t by nature make you healthier; the onus is always on the eater to make the diet healthy, not the other way around.

      I love Isa’s work! Don’t forget, though, that low fat doesn’t mean weight loss. Weight retention is more complex that how high fat a food is, for a lot of people.

      G

      • This is indeed an interesting topic, Gena. While I no longer listen to those well worn mental tapes of calories and fat content that I was obsessed with for years, I know for sure I can eat with gusto with little concern about remaining my ideal weight. For me, there’s something about eating an optimally nourishing plant based diet that trumps the science that tells us that a calorie is a calorie. Yet, as you say (and as Wendy’s experience reminds us) a vegan diet, for some, doesn’t necessarily translate into perfect weight management. I hesitate to isolate those already much maligned starchy carbs, but I supsect you are on to something here, Gena…

    • Just horning in and saying that Becoming Vegan has a great section on weight loss for vegans. Tofu and tempeh are calorie dense so you’ll want to focus on foods with more fiber like beans and whole grains, not breads.

    • Gena-I too am very curious about what you have to say on this topic. I know that weight loss is not your area of interest! Since it is mine, I will add that vegan DOES NOT EQUAL low calorie by definition, even though in one particular best seller it was billed as such. For me, even being vegan, I have to be very careful to eat mostly low calorie soups, green smoothies, huge green salads and broth sauteed greens. Any other vegan food is something that I have to be careful about not overeating because if I do, and this is just my personal experience/body, I will gain weight quickly.

      • Wendy – Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a new vegan cookbook focused on lower calorie/fat plant-based recipes. Title: Appetite for Reduction. I haven’t yet opened the book (the title is a bit of a turn-off to me for personal reasons) but given that she is a culinary genius, I expect that it’s packed with creative, delicious ideas and will address your particular concern. I am not sure if she includes much narrative on vegan weight management, however. Hope it’s useful.

        • Karen-I got that book as soon as I found out about its publication. It is VERY VERY VERY interesting as Isa basically cops to it that being a straight up vegan is not anyone’s answer to feeling good, looking good or being at a healthy weight. Her new recipes, for the most part, fall in with my type of vegan diet (aka Nutritarian), so I’m really excited to start playing with her recipes. A little birdie told me that her edamame pesto is a winner!