When properly balanced, smoothies can make a quick, easy, and refreshing breakfast or snack. Research shows that most people need approximately 15-30 grams of protein with breakfast, while a snack should contain around 10 grams.
Though protein powder is a convenient way to add protein to a smoothie, many people dislike the taste and texture. It can also be pricey and contain unwanted ingredients. Luckily, there are many whole-food alternatives to protein powder that work well in smoothies, such as:
- Nut butter.
- Greek yogurt.
- Plant-based “Greek style” yogurt.
- Cottage cheese.
- Hemp seeds.
- Cow’s milk.
- Plant-based milk containing protein (such as soy milk).
- Silken tofu.
- Flax or chia seeds.
Most protein powders on the market contain between 10-30 grams of protein per serving. You may need to combine a few of the above options to reach the higher end of this range.
Remember that everyone has different protein needs based on age, weight, sex, and activity level. Talk to a registered dietitian for more guidance on how much protein you need for meals and snacks.
17 High Protein Smoothie Recipes (Without Protein Powder)
This simple smoothie recipe contains the classic flavor combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and banana. Instead of almond milk, which has almost no protein, try cow’s milk, soy milk, or pea milk. This swap will bring the smoothie’s total protein up to 16 grams.
Additionally, you could add another tablespoon of peanut butter to make the smoothie closer to 20 grams of protein.get the recipe
This smoothie contains an unusual protein source–raw pecans! Soaking the pecans overnight will help them blend more easily, resulting in a smoother texture. As is, the recipe contains 8-9 grams of protein. However, swapping the coconut water for milk can increase the protein content to 17 grams.get the recipe
This berry smoothie packs a nutritional punch with over 23 grams of protein per serving. The protein in this recipe primarily comes from yogurt and milk. Be sure to choose Greek yogurt, which has almost double the protein of regular yogurt.
This recipe contains raw egg yolks, which may increase your risk of salmonella. After omitting this ingredient, the smoothie will still have over 20 grams of protein.get the recipe
This simple, vegan recipe contains natural sweetness from dates and provides around 10 grams of protein. While this is perfect for a snack, you will likely need to add another protein source, such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or almond butter, to make it a meal.get the recipe
Get a morning boost with this chocolate, banana, and coffee smoothie. Though the original recipe contains protein powder, you can omit it, and the smoothie will still have around 25 grams of protein.
There are many modification options in the recipe description. The above protein total is based on choosing Greek yogurt instead of regular, ground flax seeds instead of flax oil, and omitting the raw egg due to salmonella risk.get the recipe
A smoothie bowl can be a great way to change up your morning smoothie. Thicker than a regular smoothie, smoothie bowls can hold up to crunchy toppings and can be eaten with a spoon.
To maximize the protein, choose a milk that contains protein and add at least one more protein source, such as almond butter or Greek yogurt. You can also add high-protein toppings, such as nuts and seeds.get the recipe
Though tofu in a smoothie may sound odd, it has a mild flavor and provides a creamy texture when blended. The key is getting the proper ratio of tofu and fruit so that the tofu flavor is masked.
This simple recipe contains only four ingredients, yet it has over 25 grams of protein. Again, if choosing a plant-based milk, select a type with protein, like soy or pea milk.get the recipe
You may have never heard of putting cottage cheese in a smoothie, but it’s a great way to add protein without significantly impacting the overall flavor. This recipe has just five simple ingredients and 20 grams of protein per serving.
Cottage cheese can be very high in sodium, so you may want to choose an alternative like Greek yogurt if you follow a low-sodium diet.get the recipe
Hemp seeds are a small but mighty vegan protein source. They contain a whopping 10 grams of protein in just three tablespoons. This chocolate smoothie recipe has hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, and nut butter to provide over 15 grams of protein.
You can bring this total to 23 grams by choosing soy milk or substituting cow’s milk.get the recipe
With 10 grams of protein per cup, kefir can be an excellent way to get probiotics and protein if you dislike Greek yogurt. With simple and tasty ingredients like banana, peanut butter, and honey, this smoothie provides a whopping 28 grams of protein to start your day off right.get the recipe
Chia seeds are a popular superfood that can provide protein for your smoothie. However, you will need to add at least one other protein-rich ingredient to get the amount of protein you need.
This chia seed smoothie recipe also contains Greek yogurt and has around 15 grams of protein. If you swap the almond milk for soy milk, you can increase the protein total to 23 grams.get the recipe
This green smoothie is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals from avocado and spinach. It’s also a good source of protein, with almost 14 grams per serving.
You can boost this by increasing the amount of kefir to one cup and adding one tablespoon of hemp seeds. These modifications would bring the total to around 20 grams of protein.get the recipe
Though chickpeas are an unconventional smoothie ingredient, they are a great vegan protein and fiber source. They also have a mild flavor easily masked by other smoothie ingredients.
This creamy chickpea smoothie has nine grams of protein, which you could increase to 17 grams by swapping the almond milk for soy milk.get the recipe
With over 20 grams of plant protein, this vegan smoothie recipe is a delicious and nutrient-dense breakfast option. Cocoa powder, banana, and peanut butter mask the flavor of the black beans, and dates provide some natural sweetness.
If using canned beans, be sure to select “no salt-added” black beans and rinse thoroughly before adding them to your blender to avoid a noticeable bean flavor.get the recipe
This beautiful, swirly smoothie is also a great source of protein. With hemp seeds and plant-based milk such as soy milk, this recipe provides almost 13 grams of protein per serving.
While this is an excellent amount of protein for a snack, you may want to add Greek yogurt to meet your nutrition needs for a meal.get the recipe
This refreshing, antioxidant-packed smoothie includes tropical fruit, greens, and protein! It contains hemp seeds as the primary protein, and using milk will bring the total up to 14 grams.
Increase the milk in this recipe from half a cup to one cup for 18 grams of total protein.get the recipe
By swapping the almond milk for soy milk, this nutrient-dense green smoothie provides over 18 grams of plant-based protein. This recipe is a great way to get a balanced breakfast on a busy morning, as it contains fruits, vegetables, protein, fat, and carbohydrates.get the recipe