We looked to Tess Masters, bestselling author of The Blender Girl, The Blender Girl Smoothies, The Detox Dynamo Cleanse, and the new The Perfect Blend, for the best summer smoothie recipes both sides of the Mississippi. Mix one up for an instant refresher and blast of superfood nutrition you’ll feel down to your toes.
Where do you get inspiration for your smoothie recipes?
Tess Masters: I like to source inspiration from textured dishes, and make a blended version of that flavor profile. For example, an apple pie a la mode, pineapple salsa, tomato gazpacho, raspberry lemon cheesecake, dill pickle, and so on. Other times I’m intrigued by a particular combination of ingredients and want to know if it will work in a smoothie. For The Perfect Blend, I started with health goals, and created blends that catered to specific dietary requirements. I looked at the top foods for that goal, and built flavor profiles around that end game. With smoothies, I’m always looking to expand the experience, and create blends that not only look gorgeous and are nutrient-dense, but also take you on a flavor journey much like a textured dish.
What got you started in creating these fantastic recipes?
TM: I’ve always loved to cook. But, when I chose to go macrobiotic, then vegan, after being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, I was determined to enjoy food instead of feeling deprived, and if I wasn’t going to eat some of the foods I really loved (cheese!), I was going to learn how to make the so-called “cardboard” foods taste mind-blowingly delicious. But I needed some more skills! So, I took cooking classes, read books, made other people’s recipes, and got really bold experimenting with my own creations. Through trial and error, I taught myself how to combine flavors and textures. I started The Blender Girl site to share those recipes with family and friends, and to show people how to use their blender beyond smoothies and soups. I asked readers, “What’s your perfect blend?” Then, everything gained momentum, and now we have three books and an app in The Blender Girl series. It’s been really fun.
Do your recipes go through a lot of versions and revisions?
TM: It depends on the recipe. After creating the recipes for The Blender Girl Smoothies app, I feel like I’ve put myself through smoothie boot camp, so I tend to know what is going to work and what isn’t. I can also create a smoothie that yields two 16-ounce glasses in my sleep. However, I may take a few goes to get the flavor nuance just right. When I’m testing more exotic combinations that I haven’t put together before, it takes a few more goes to perfect it. With textured dishes, testing is more complex and takes longer. Sometimes I nail something the first go (I love those days!), and other days it takes more trial and error to get something to sing. Having said all of that, I test my recipes very extensively in my own kitchen at least 20 times (with different blenders and different brands and qualities of ingredients) before I send them off to my 55 recipe testers for feedback. They are living all over the world using different machines. I need to ensure that the recipes work no matter what blender you’re using. Texture will vary, but they will still be delicious.
Do you have a favorite smoothie?
TM: The Pineapple Salsa smoothie from my first book, The Blender Girl. It is loaded with nutrients and anti-inflammatory ammo, and takes you on a flavorful journey. It is sweet, savory, and spicy all in one glass.
How often do you drink smoothies?
TM: I drink a smoothie every day. I typically start my day with two glasses of warm lemon water. Then for breakfast, I have a different green smoothie. I rotate leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, superfoods, oils, and protein powders for nutrient variety and tastebud satisfaction.
Try a few of Tess Masters' recipes:
Make-Ahead Tips from Tess
Because produce begins to oxidize the moment you cut it, Masters recommends drinking smoothies right after making them. “However, we’re all busy, and that is not always possible or convenient,” she says. In this case, Masters recommends prepping ingredients the night before (the fresh and frozen components in two separate bags or containers), and any powders (spices, superfoods) in a container in the pantry. Throw it all into the blender the next morning. Alternatively, make your smoothie the night before and store it in a sealed mason jar in the fridge. Shake it before drinking the next day. Some ingredients (such as collard greens and maca) get more assertive the longer they sit, so the flavor profile of a smoothie can change slightly overnight. You can also freeze smoothies for a few weeks. Right after blending, pour into a mason jar, leaving 1 inch at the top before sealing to allow for expansion of liquids when freezing. Defrost the night before, and the next day, blend or shake before enjoying.