When I heard about Kathy Patalsky’s cookbook, 365 Vegan Smoothies, my first reaction was, “Who the heck needs 365 smoothie recipes?” After a month of whipping up breakfast smoothies, the quality of Patalsky’s recipes has changed my mind. While the smoothie-a-day concept still seems gimmicky to me, I’m sold on the value of having a book of well-designed smoothie recipes.
365 Vegan Smoothies begins with more than 100 pages of smoothie-making tips and then moves on to the recipes, which are divided into twelve wellness themes like “detox” and “energize.” My main complaint about this organization is that there is nothing to divide the chapters. I would have preferred that each chapter begin with a short explanation of the ingredients that promote particular wellness benefits (rather than having all of that information in the lengthy introduction).
Overall, this book delivered on its promise of boosting my fruit, veggie and whole grain intake. The index is fairly comprehensive, which allowed me to pick recipes based upon the ingredients that I had on hand. Patalsky also inspired me to invest in some new ingredients like coconut water (which I would never drink plain, but which does make a great smoothie base) and cacao nibs. Those who cannot eat bananas should be aware that they are frequently used as a thickener. (In some recipes, I found the banana taste too strong, so I’ve taken to using no more than 1/2 a banana if I want other flavors to shine through). However, with so many recipes to choose from, there are plenty of banana-free recipes too. I also like that each smoothie has a nutritional analysis. I’ve found that the given calorie count is a good proxy for whether I will be hungry for a mid-morning snack. (400 calories or more and I’m probably set til lunch).
So far, I’ve made 8 smoothies with generally excellent results. I began with a fruit smoothie — the Apple Walnut Pie Shake (p. 226) — and then eased my way into more adventurous smoothies like the Green Jungle Shake (p. 132) and the Walnut Carrot Cake (p. 176). I would never have known that these shakes contained veggies if I hadn’t added them myself. My favorite so far has been the Crazy Cookie Bar Shake (p. 144), which tastes just like one of those multi-layer coconut cookie bars. My 15 month-old’s favorite shake was the Peanut Butter Oat Bar (p. 229), which he demanded “more, more, more” of after tasting it.