Mango chia smoothie

In the winter, I am happy to eat nothing but oats (and this black rice coconut porridge) for breakfast every. single. morning. In the summer, it’s smoothies: strawberry-orange smoothies, watermelon-strawberry-basil smoothies, peach-vanilla smoothies, and on and on and on. But I have always wished there were a way to make smoothies in advance,  without everything separating and the texture just getting generally…weird.

Enter this chia smoothie. Made in advance, the smoothie thickens overnight with the help of the chia seeds. The seeds then keep the texture perfectly consistent over a few days in the fridge, so you can make a batch on Sunday and grab a jar on your way out the door for the rest of the week.

More importantly, the combination of chia seeds and almond milk lend the drink a texture that can truly only be described as luscious. I’m ambivalent about chia seed puddings, but I love this. And because the seeds are the only thickener–no bananas, no ice–the flavor of the fruit absolutely sings.

Make with frozen mango (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), or fresh, good-quality summer peaches or blueberries.

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Mango chia smoothie
Adapted from Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen (serves 2 heartily or 3 lightly)

Ingredients
3 tablespoon chia seeds
2 1/4 cups almond milk
1 3/4 pounds mango (frozen is fine), blueberries, or peaches (that’s about 4 large or 5 small peaches)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons honey, optional (add last after you have had a chance to assess sweetness)

Instructions
Place chia seeds in clean, dry, 1.5 quart (6 cup) jar with tight-fitting lid and set aside.

Put almond milk, fruit, vanilla, and cinnamon in an upright blender. Blend at least 1 minute or until completely smooth. Taste to determine whether to add honey; if you decide to, add and blend further.

Pour half of mixture into jar with chia seeds, tighten lid, and shake well, making sure no chia seeds stick to the bottom. (Adding only half of the mixture at a time helps prevent the seeds from sticking.) Add the remaining mixture and shake well, until chia seeds are evenly distributed.

Because I want my smoothies to go, at this point in the process I decant the mixture into separate, smaller, lidded jars to take to work throughout the week. If you plan to drink yours at home, leave it in the 1.5qt jar. Place in fridge and chill for at least 2 hours.

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