How to Make the Perfect Smoothie

A comprehensive guide on How to Make the Perfect Smoothie! Includes a handy chart so you can easily make customizable smoothies. Plus, tips on getting the best texture and sneaking in wholesome, satiating ingredients for creamy smoothies that act as meal replacements.

Given the heat wave affecting much of the country right now, it should come as no surprise that I’m drinking a lot of smoothies! But nailing the perfect smoothie isn’t as simple as it sounds. Building the perfect smoothie—a smoothie that is icy cold, nourishing, delicious, and satiating—is somewhat of an art form.

But I have some handy tips on How to Make the Perfect Smoothie, which I’m sharing in my Youtube video! I’m sharing all my favorite smoothie ingredients and how to get creative in the smoothie department so you can build healthy AND satiating smoothies that’ll keep you full for hours.

And in this blog post, you’ll find a useful smoothie chart that will help you build a perfect smoothie every time, along with FOUR creative recipes for satisfying smoothies!

Table of contents:
1. Smoothie formula
2. Tips for making a great smoothie
3. My favorite smoothie combinations
4. Watch! How to build the perfect smoothie
5. Recipe card

Woman placing straw into raspberry tahini smoothie next to two other smoothies on a table.
from left to right: blueberry lemon, raspberry tahini, tropical greens

Smoothie formula

Use this chart as a guide to make your next green smoothie and get creative! Try different combos every day or just make your favorite one over and over!

Smoothie chart detailing the quantities of each ingredient you need to make the perfect smoothie.

One caveat about this chart: for the Fruit column, I listed it as “fresh or frozen,” but I always use frozen fruit because it helps the smoothie stay icy cold (more on that in Tip #2). Of course, if you don’t have frozen fruit, you can use fresh fruit and add some ice cubes to your smoothie.

Tips for making a great smoothie

Use the right liquid

I usually use some type of plant-based milk for my smoothies because I want them to be creamy and substantial! I’ve seen a few people make smoothies with water, which seems downright sad. Who wants a watery smoothie??

ad for meal plans program with picture of woman with button

I occasionally do use coconut water in lieu of a plant-based milk for my smoothie if (1) I need the extra hydration and (2) there are other ingredients in the smoothie that bring the creaminess (i.e., avocado).

Fresh or frozen fruit?

I have tried making smoothies with fresh fruit, and they’re never quite as good as smoothies made with frozen fruit. The frozen fruit adds so much texture and heft to the smoothie, along with an icy cold temperature (which is especially important during these hot summer days). This is especially true if you want your smoothie to be creamy and lush because, as you might already know, a frozen banana can majorly upgrade just about any smoothie from so-so to a creamy delight.

Frozen fruits (and veggies) are usually picked at their peak ripeness and are therefore just as sweet and nutritious as their fresh counterparts (and even more so if your fresh fruit is bought out of season).

But, if you are limiting your plastic usage and don’t want to buy frozen packaged fruit at the grocery store, you can always freeze your own fresh fruit. To see how I do this, check out tip number #2 in my Youtube video (the discussion starts around the 02:10 mark)!

Woman wearing yellow scarf holding two white and yellow mango smoothies.
Layered ombré smoothies:
plant-based yogurt + mango smoothie (frozen mango, frozen zucchini, plant-based milk)

Love thy veggies

When I first started drinking smoothies, I was in college and it was only because there was a Jamba Juice outside of my university. Little did I know how sugar-rich those smoothies were, but I am certainly glad the smoothie game has come a long way since then!

While I don’t think every smoothie NEEDS to have a vegetable, 90% of the smoothies I drink do have some form of veggie in them. And if you can create a wholesome smoothie that doesn’t taste like vegetable soup, why wouldn’t you??

Here are some vegetables I recommend adding to your smoothies (not all at once)!:

  • Common greens, such as spinach and kale
  • Less common greens, such as collard greens and arugula
  • Zero-waste greens, such as carrot tops or beet greens
  • Baked/steamed sweet potatoes
  • Frozen cauliflower
  • Frozen zucchini (goes great in a healthy strawberry smoothie)

For a more-in depth discussion on why and how I incorporate these various vegetables into smoothies, check out Tip #3 in the video (the discussion starts around the 03:02 mark).

Two chocolate, raspberry and chia seed smoothies topped with raspberries on a wooden cutting board.

How to bulk up your smoothies

If you want to build smoothies that are satisfying and will keep you satiated for hours on end, then you might want to bulk them up with some hearty ingredients! The first three items are great alternatives to protein powder.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Silken soft tofu (adds creaminess and protein, without changing the taste)
  • Cooked beans (start slowly with about 1/4 cup, see how it tastes, and add more if desired)
  • Cooked red lentils (these break down when cook and have a neutral mild taste. I usually add 1/2 cup to smoothies).
  • Uncooked Oats (to ensure your oats make your smoothie creamy and smooth instead of tough, check out Tip #4 in the video around the 06:55 mark).
  • Nut Butters (also applicable for Tip #5)
  • Avocado (makes smoothies incredibly thick and luscious, like a milkshake. Also applicable for Tip #5).
Woman stirring raspberry tahini smoothie next to flowers and two other smoothies on a table.

Fear not fat

On the same note as Tip #4, if you want your smoothies to fill you up, don’t forget to add a source of healthy fat! I’ve listed some of my favorites in the chart above, but be sure to tailor your serving size to your needs. For instance, the chart says 1-2 tablespoons of a healthy fat, but oftentimes, my smoothies have 3 tablespoons of a healthy fat (such as in the High-Fat, Low-Sugar Smoothie at the start of this blog post) because I like my healthy fats! Remember, fat doesn’t make you fat!

Finish with superfoods

Smoothies are a great excuse to get in some superfoods! Superfoods such as spirulina powder and flaxseeds nibs can be difficult to incorporate into your diet. If you’ve ever tried drinking a glass of spirulina water, you know what I’m talking about (so gross). And, what, are you supposed to just eat flaxseeds by the handful?

That’s where the ol’ smoothie comes in handy! Just toss your superfoods into a smoothie, blend, and voilà! You’ll easily mask the taste of spirulina and the texture of flaxseeds, and get in some much-needed nutrients.

And if you’re making a smoothie bowl, you can also use superfoods as toppings. My favorites are raw cacao nibs, goji berries, and hemp seeds!

Three smoothies with stainless steel straws in glasses on a table.
from left to right: blueberry lemon, tropical greens, raspberry tahini (recipes below)

My favorite smoothie combinations

Blueberry Lemon

A tangy smoothie that’s popping with refreshing flavors. Blend all ingredients until smooth.


  • ¾ cup carton coconut milk from a carton, not a can)
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower (substitute half of f frozen banana for a sweeter version)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ – ¾ cup vegan yogurt (amount will depend on the brand, texture, etc)
  • ¼-½ cup cooked cannellini beans (use ¼ if you’re new to adding beans in smoothies and/or if you’re not adding any banana)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Tropical Green

Make this smoothie when you need extra hydration or when you’re looking for a refreshing tropical escape! Blend all ingredients until smooth.


  • 1 cup coconut water (add more as needed)
  • 2-3 large handfuls baby spinach (or kale)
  • A few fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw cashews
  • 1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon spirulina

Chocolate Sweet Potato

A healthy spin on a chocolate milkshake that gets its natural sweetness from sweet potatoes and bananas, plus extra creaminess from a surprise vegetable. Blend all ingredients until smooth.


  • ¾ cup baked sweet potato flesh (about 1 medium-sized sweet potato)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Watch! How to build the perfect smoothie

I hope you found this guide on How to Make the Perfect Smoothie useful! If you did, drop me a line on Youtube or down below! And now here are four healthy and satisfying smoothie recipes!

Raspberry Tahini Smoothie

5 from 1 vote
A pretty in pink smoothie that’s surprisingly loaded with healthy fats. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 1


  • 1 cup coconut milk from a carton, not a can
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen zucchini or cauliflower (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 cup silken soft tofu
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoons flaxseed meal


  • Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Calories: 537kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 1085mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 4mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @rainbowplantlife and hashtag it #rainbowplantlife

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always make my day :) Thank you for your support!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe

14 comments on How to Make the Perfect Smoothie

  1. Kim G.

    I’ve used canned coconut milk in smoothies by first mixing it up well in a container, then measuring 1/4 -1/2 cup and then thinning with water to equal approx 1 cup. Adds creaminess and healthy fats. Love your smoothie chart! Thank you…

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yum, Kim! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Jimmy C

    I love smoothies! They’re quick and easy, healthy, filling, and taste great (most of the time). However I cannot fathom adding cauliflower or zucchini to my smoothie. :-o However, because you recommended it, AND because I am lucky enough to have an amazing blender (Vitamix), I’ll try it. Thank you for the creativity and posting some great recipes. I’ve been vegetarian all of my life, but only vegan for about 2 years now. It’s a different way of cooking and baking, but worth it (IMHO). Keep up the great work Nisha, and keep the positive attitude and smile. :-)

  3. Margaret

    The strawberry is the best! Tasty.

  4. Michelle

    Love all these smoothie ideas. I have to try adding beans, cauliflower & sweet potato to my smoothies. Never tried any of these, what a clever way to incorporate protein & variety.

  5. Rosana

    These sound amazing and I love that you’re using frozen cauliflower, since I have some in my freezer now!! The use of beans is pure genius!! Thank you!!

  6. amena

    How do we get a pdf version of all this information?

  7. Netal

    Why do you specify coconut milk (from a carton) and not a can?

    1. Taylor

      I’m guessing because the ones in cartons are usually "light" (for drinking) whereas canned is usually full-fat (for cooking). It probably depends where you live though!

  8. Dorsa

    What are blender (s) do you recommend for smoothies? Mine always come out gritty!

    1. Michelle

      I have the ninja chef and it works great! Doesn’t cost as much as the vita mix too.

  9. Holly

    What is your favorite vegan protein powder?

  10. Angela

    What are the names of the smoothies in pics in article, please add names to them, so people can know which smoothie is which so they can make.I have no idea why the random pics or if the corresponding recipes will make those in pics. (Example, yellow smoothie is what? The one w chia seeds on bottom and pink and chocolate? What are names and how make??) Thank you

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Angela, I’ve included captions for the photos – hope that helps.

Development Alchemy + Aim