By Justin Han, dietetics student at Cornell University
Reviewed by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
With the summer quickly approaching, smoothies are a popular drink on a hot sunny day. It also means that a lot of fruits will come into season, blueberries being one of them. This recipe for a blueberry pineapple smoothie is a refreshing and nutrient-packed beverage perfect for a summer day. Benefits include being lactose-free, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants.
Blueberries are fiber-rich and low in calories. They contain several antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects, contributing to good cardiovascular health and glucose metabolism. Recent research has even shown that blueberries can improve memory performance, suggesting benefits related to cognitive capabilities and potentially reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Like blueberries, pineapple also contains antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body. Pineapple also contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins, which can aid in protein digestion and absorption. In this recipe, I chose to use kale and avocado as complementing ingredients, as they provide additional fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats, respectively.
Ingredients list for the Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
- 11/4 cups 100% apple juice
- 1/2 cupe kale
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Begin by adding the blueberries and pineapple to your blender. Like in my banana watermelon smoothie recipe, I recommend using frozen fruit in your smoothies instead of ice. This prevents diluting the flavors of the smoothie ingredients without compromising nutritional quality. You can freeze the fruits yourselves, or purchase the frozen versions from your local grocery store. If you are purchasing frozen fruit, be sure to check the nutrition labels to ensure there are not added ingredients such as added sugar or sweeteners.
Add the kale and apple juice. Once everything is added, blend until all the ingredients are broken down and you get a uniform consistency. Add the remaining ingredients (avocado, nutmeg, and lemon zest). The avocado not only provides “good fats,” but it gives the smoothie such a smooth mouthfeel. The lemon zest and nutmeg give the smoothie a nutty, fresh, and aromatic flavor profile, a perfect complement to the blueberries and pineapple.
A good tip for preserving the other half of the avocado is to squirt some lemon juice on the other half before storing it in a plastic bag in your fridge. This prevents browning so you can use the leftover avocado for something different or to make another smoothie later. This will also help make use of the lemon you used for the zest! Once the remaining ingredients are added, blend until everything is broken down.
Pour into glasses and garnish with leftover pineapple and blueberries. The taste of this smoothie reminds me of a blueberry pie without all the added sugar and calories: a guilt-free way to enjoy the flavor of one of my favorite pastries! Another great thing about this recipe is that it is incredibly flexible depending on what is available to you. If you want to incorporate calcium into this smoothie (and are not lactose intolerant), substitute the avocado with plain greek yogurt. Feel free to omit the kale, nutmeg, or lemon zest if you don’t like the tastes or if they’re not readily accessible in your area. Below is a recipe card with all the ingredient amounts and directions. Hope you enjoy!
Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!