We turned our favorite adaptogenic hot chocolate into a shake! Because it’s summer and it’s hot outside, but adaptogens are great year-round.
Just 1 blender, 10 minutes, and 10 ingredients stand between you and this delicious shake. Let us show you how it’s done!
What is an Adaptogen?
Good question, and something I wondered about myself up until a few years ago.
An adaptogen is a plant (usually an herb, root, or mushroom) that may help your body adapt to stress (whether acute, episodic, or chronic).
To be clear, I’m not suggesting adaptogens replace stress-reduction practices like yoga, walking, deep breathing, breath work exercises, getting outdoors, therapy, etc. But what they can do is help your body take the edge off when you’re experiencing stress. In this way, I see them as a bit of a stress sidekick.
I’ve personally found adaptogens to be most helpful when paired with other daily rituals like reducing caffeine, eating balanced meals, yoga, walking, meditation, and journaling.
What Do Adaptogens Taste Like?
All adaptogens taste different (and they can taste different to different people depending on their palettes). But in my experience, adaptogens in general tend to not be the most enjoyable in terms of flavor, which is why mixing them with other things like sweeteners or cacao or carob powder makes them more palatable.
Which Adaptogens To Try First?
While I’m not an adaptogen expert, I have been taking them for years with good results. And if I had to choose, these are the three adaptogens I’d suggest getting started with as they’re more widely available and relatively easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
- Ashwagandha – An herb widely used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) that’s become most well known for its ability to help our bodies adapt to stress and potentially lower cortisol. It has a slightly bitter taste. Best for adding to smoothies or hot chocolate in small doses (we don’t usually exceed 1/2 – 1 tsp per serving).
- Maca – A root vegetable grown in the Andes that has serious health benefits — everything from boosting libido to balancing hormones to increasing energy levels. It has a malty, almost caramel-like flavor, making it easier to enjoy. We love it in smoothies, hot chocolate, energy bites, and shakes (we don’t usually exceed 1 – 2 tsp per serving).
- Reishi Mushroom – commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and also known as the Queen of Mushrooms, reishi is especially good for helping our bodies relax and chill out during times of stress. It’s also relatively neutral in flavor and pairs especially well with things like Mushroom Coffee and this shake (we don’t usually exceed 1 tsp per serving).
In this recipe, I also use an adaptogen called He Shou Wu (a.k.a. Fo-Ti), which has been claimed to improve the health of hair, skin, and nails — something I’m always trying to support. It’s a less common adaptogen with a pretty bitter taste, so I use it sparingly and in lesser quantities (usually 1/4 – 1/2 tsp per serving).
For this shake, we used all four of the adaptogens described: ashwagandha, maca, reishi mushroom, and he shou wu. If you don’t have all of them, feel free to play around with what you have. It’s fairly forgiving and versatile as long as you start with small quantities of the adaptogens and work your way up.
The chocolaty flavor (from carob or cacao) and the sweetness of the banana, dates, and cinnamon balance the bitterness of the adaptogenic herbs. And the coconut milk provides richness and helps it all blend. The result is a shake that tastes like dessert but sneaks in some health perks!
We hope you LOVE this shake! It’s:
Quick & easy
It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up without the caffeine rush! And it’s also great as a snack or healthier dessert.
Admittedly, this drink isn’t for everyone. It requires a handful of adaptogens, which can be a bit of an investment. But some of you are really into these types of recipes, so we decided to share! If you don’t have all of the ingredients, just use what you have on hand for similar results.
If you’re looking for shakes with more readily available ingredients, we have several delicious options for you below!
More Banana Shake Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 2 (Smoothies)
- 1 ½ frozen bananas (for less sugar, sub a little ice for some of the banana // as original recipe is written, ~1 ¾ cups)
- 2 pitted dates (for less sugar, use half the amount of dates, or sub stevia to taste)
- 2 Tbsp carob powder or cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder // stick to carob to keep caffeine-free)
- 1 tsp reishi mushroom powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 1/2 tsp ashwagandha
- 1/4-1/2 tsp he shou wu
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 healthy pinch ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup light coconut milk (or sub other dairy-free milk)
- Water as needed to thin
To a high-speed blender add frozen banana, pitted dates, carob or cacao powder, reishi powder, maca powder, ashwagandha, he shou wu, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and coconut milk and blend on high until creamy and smooth. Add more dairy-free milk or a little water as needed if it has trouble blending.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maca for malty-caramel flavor, carob or cacao for more intense chocolate flavor, or dates for sweetness.
Serve immediately and garnish with additional hemp seeds (optional). Best when fresh. Freeze leftovers into popsicles or into ice cube molds (store for up to 1 month in freezer) and enjoy blended as a smoothie later on.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with carob powder.
Serving: 1 smoothie Calories: 217 Carbohydrates: 46.7 g Protein: 3.5 g Fat: 4.7 g Saturated Fat: 1.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.98 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.31 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 6 mg Potassium: 643 mg Fiber: 7.3 g Sugar: 31 g Vitamin A: 94.31 IU Vitamin C: 7.74 mg Calcium: 57.25 mg Iron: 1.4 mg