Healthy Recipes

6+ Unique Ingredients to Power Up Your Smoothies

From a hearty breakfast to an after-school or after-work snack, smoothies are a tasty, nutritious secret weapon for any busy person. Basic smoothies are delicious and refreshing, and a handful of unique ingredients can further power up your smoothie’s nutrient density and health benefits. Here’s a reliable, easy, and adaptable fruit smoothie recipe plus mix-ins to keep every batch fun and interesting.

Basic Smoothie Recipe

Since smoothies include the whole fruit, they pack in more fiber and other nutrients than juice. Plus, smoothies can help you consume at least five portions of vegetables and fruits per day. Fruit-based beverages like smoothies provide a healthy range of phytochemicals, such as phenolics, and other macro- and micro-nutrients. For example, the phytochemicals in apples have a potential role in reducing glucose uptake, and components of oranges can be beneficial to gut health.

Luckily, it’s simple to make a smoothie. Use this basic, easy recipe as your reliable yet adaptable smoothie foundation. Essentially, your smoothie needs four components. Here’s what we suggest for making a 16- to 20-ounce smoothie.


The liquid component can be the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure part of a smoothie. Dairy or plant-based milks work great, but so do fruit or vegetable juices, coconut water, or even green, herbal, or black tea.

Suggested amount: 1/2 cup to 1 cup.


Your favorite fruits get to shine! Try out combinations of berries, apples, oranges, melons, cherries, bananas, mangos, pineapples, and more. Fresh fruit is lovely, but frozen fruit is also fantastic. Plus, you can use frozen fruit in place of ice to create a chilled smoothie.

Suggested amount: 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups.

Something Creamy

Ingredients with a rich, smooth, creamy texture feel silky and satisfying on the palate and make your smoothie more filling. Dairy or vegan yogurts are great options, as are kefir, avocado, cottage cheese, and banana. Any of these — or a combination — enhance the creamy deliciousness that’s at the heart of any good smoothie.

Suggested amount: 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup.


Smoothie mix-ins can be fun, healthy, and tasty — and it’s all up to you. A mix-in could be anything from a kick of cayenne pepper to your favorite mushroom powder. We’ll suggest some unique mix-ins below.

A blender is optimal for mixing up your smoothie, but a food processor, or an immersion blender in a quart mason jar, can work too. Add liquids, then the creamy ingredient, followed by fruits, veggies, and other mix-ins. Blend until smooth, and enjoy!

6+ Unique Ingredients to Power Up Your Smoothies

Unique Ingredients to Power Up Your Smoothie

These mix-ins can increase the health benefits of your smoothie.

Medicinal mushroom powder

Science is still unpacking all the nutritional benefits of edible mushrooms, but so far the benefits are clear: Mushrooms contain a vast range of nutrients, from immune-supporting beta-glucans to antioxidants that can decrease the risk of chronic illness.

Suggested amount: 1 teaspoon.


Fiber, protein, carotenoids, and more: Not only do soaked, dry, or cooked rolled oats bring a lot of nutrients to a smoothie, they add creamy thickness to the texture too.

Suggested amount: ¼ cup to 1/2 cup.

Cacao powder

Whether you want a wee hint or a big ole dose of chocolatey character, cacao powder has your back. Plus, the high levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, and other nutrients give your smoothie a boost not only in flavor, but in health benefits too.

Suggested amount: 1 to 3 teaspoons.


For starters, turmeric can add a rich, earthy, golden glow that brightens up your day just by looking at your smoothie. But the main nutritive compound in turmeric, curcumin, has been understood by Western and Ayurvedic medicinal systems to have vast medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory qualities. Combine turmeric with a pinch of curcumin-aiding black pepper to make turmeric’s wellness benefits more bioavailable.

Suggested amount: 1 teaspoon turmeric and a pinch of black pepper.


Ginger has long been associated with aiding the digestive system, but its benefits don’t stop there. Ginger can also aid with decreasing inflammation, markers for colorectal cancer, and even vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Ginger is widely available in powdered, fresh, and pickled forms, so you can pick the type of ginger that works best for you to create ginger smoothie magic.

Suggested amount: ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, or ½ to 1 teaspoon pickled or grated fresh ginger.


The vibrant purple color of beets is just the beginning of how they can liven up your fruit smoothie. The nutritive properties of red beetroot may help control diabetes, regulate blood pressure, and aid kidney function. Chopped or grated raw beets work great for smoothies.

Suggested amount: 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Other mix-in ideas

Want more ideas to jazz up your smoothies? Here are a few other raw or cooked ingredients to try.

  • Zucchini
  • Flax meal
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Maca root
  • Sweet potato
  • Guava
  • Baby spinach
  • Chard
  • Pumpkin
  • Collagen powder
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Dates
  • Vanilla, orange, or almond extract
  • Winter squash
  • Cucumber
  • Chia seeds
  • Spices, such as cardamom, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, allspice, or cinnamon
  • Protein powder

Power Up Your Day

A smoothie has the power to transform your day. They pack in produce, nutrients, and flavor, all in a delicious, portable meal. They’re a delicious way to enhance your snacks and meals and boost your overall health.

By Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair is an author, globetrotter, craft beer expert, and professional writer based in the US Pacific Northwest. When he’s not writing, Anthony is with his wife and two children, usually either cooking or going on some sort of adventure. Learn more or check out Anthony's Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series at