I know, I know…whyyy am I giving you a frozen fruit drink in December? I don’t really have a good answer for you other than I make it my business to have one of these a couple times a week and so I thought I should share the wealth. If you have some time between your spiced ciders and hot chocolate (I am literally drinking cider as I write this), then whipping up this little smoothie up can mentally transport you somewhere warm, tropical and anywhere but December. Hallelujah!
So what exactly makes this a “lassi” and not just an ordinary smoothie you ask? Two things to be precise – the cardamom and yogurt. The yogurt is easy to wrap your head around..the cardamom, however, is definitely the more unfamiliar addition. Its warm, floral, a little spicy and sort of exotic all at the same time. You’ll probably find it most often in pumpkin pie spice but recipes don’t usually call for it on its own. Its become a staple in my house (unbeknownst to my roommate) and I’ve been adding here and there to shake things up. Think in oatmeals, cookies, pancakes and now smoothies.
But back to this lassi. A lassi (per wikipedia) is a popular and traditional yogurt-based drink that originates in India and Pakistan and is made by blending yogurt with water and Indian spices. Hence, the greek yogurt and cardamom. I would be lying though if I said I came home from an Indian restaurant and wanted to re-create something I had at a great NYC establishment, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, that’s not really how this happened. I started making smoothies as a way to beat the heat during the summer and it was something I could take with me on the go for breakfast, lunch or a snack. I used to jam these things with protein powder, green stuff, flax seeds and a bunch of stuff that just got way too far from what I really like to eat. So I went back to the basics and some real food.
I started with different fruits and yogurt and began to try out different spices/accents to make it unique and palatable to my tastes. After gettin’ all creative in my kitchen, I stopped to actually look up what I was doing and found that it’s been done for years. Go figure.
So yes, it’s totally healthy and it tastes good. Oooh and its filling. Confusing, I know.
Mango Coconut Lassi
makes 1 very large smoothie
1 c almond milk
1 c frozen mango cubes (any grocery store has this but you can use fresh when its in season)
1/2 c plain yogurt (I used greek, fat free)
1 T shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp almond extract
Just throw everything in a blender and buzz until desired consistency. If you like your smoothies a bit sweeter, feel free to add a little honey. Also, play around with the spices and extracts – they make a difference!