This cashew kale smoothie with banana is deliciously drinkable! It has a light, creamy texture and a beautiful matte green color.
Packed with kale, cashews, flax or chia seeds, it’s full of phytonutrients, potassium, and protein.
Great for breakfast, pre-workout snack, or an afternoon pick-me-up.
You won’t believe there are four handfuls of greens in this mouthwatering kale banana smoothie.
This smoothie was inspired by the Sweet Kale Shake at SunCafe in Studio City, California.
SunCafe was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in Los Angeles.
And their kale shake was a major draw.
It’s a bright green shake that drinks like a dessert, not a typical green smoothie.
The first time I ever tried it, I was amazed.
How could there be so much nutrient-dense kale smashed into this mouthwatering & decadent drink?
After I moved away from Southern California, I couldn’t bear to go without my favorite pre-workout drink that had powered me through so many Griffith Park hikes.
So I started making it at home.
My version really captures the sweet mild flavors of banana, raw cashews, and a tiny dash of almond extract for cherry flavor.
To really complete the SunCafe experience, you can even garnish with goji berries and shredded coconut like they do.
(Over the years, I’ve reduced the amount of banana & cashews I use. So you may notice that the amounts in the video vary slightly from what’s featured in the recipe card.)
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this banana kale smoothie recipe.
Bananas: Frozen banana chunks add sweetness. But best of all, they create a wonderful creamy consistency that’s almost shake-like.
Non-dairy milk: Use any unsweetened non-dairy milk that you enjoy. Soy, cashew, oat, or almond milk will all work fine here.
You can use plain or for extra dessert flavor, opt for vanilla flavored.
Chia seeds or flaxseed: Chia or flax seeds lend a whippy viscosity to the smoothie. Plus, they amp up the omega 3’s and protein.
Raw cashews: Raw cashews add so much delicious creaminess to the smoothie. They make it extra full-bodied.
Kale: You can use any kind of kale you like. Curly kale is my favorite.
It adds bright green color & nutrients to the smoothie. Be sure to remove the stems!
Almond extract: This ingredient is optional. If you’d like a touch of cherry flavor in your smoothie, add a tiny splash of almond extract.
It’s delightful either way.
Ice: Adding ice to the smoothie makes it freezing cold.
The ice makes the smoothie texture even lighter. And it dissipates any lingering bitterness from the kale.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make the recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Peel two bananas, and break them into chunks.
Freeze the bananas in a freezer proof container.
When you’re ready to make the smoothie, remove the kale leaves from their stems.
Then put the following into a high speed blender.
- Non-dairy milk
- Chia or flaxseeds
- Raw cashews
- Frozen banana chunks
- Curly kale
- Almond extract (optional)
Blend until completely smooth.
If you’re using a Vitamix, you’ll want to get the tamper involved to push the greens into the blade.
(For tips on making this smoothie with a standard, non high-speed blender, see the notes in the recipe card and/or watch the video.)
Once the smoothie is completely smooth, add about 6 standard-sized ice cubes.
Blend again until totally smooth.
You’ll know it’s done when you stop hearing the sounds of ice crushing.
Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!
Make it your own
This kale smoothie recipe is rife with personalization opportunities!
Vary the kale
Instead of curly kale, use lacinato (dinosaur) or purple kale.
Or replace some or all of the kale with another dark leafy green like collards or spinach.
You can also vary the amounts.
I use about four handfuls (or four small leaves) of kale. But you could do as little as one handful or as many as five.
Keep in mind that if you have less bulk from veggies, you can also reduce the amount of liquid, so that the smoothie doesn’t get watery.
Make it sweeter
I prefer smoothies that aren’t overly sweet. And this one is just right for me.
However, if you prefer a sweeter smoothie, add any of the following:
- Another frozen banana in chunks
- 1 or 2 pitted dates
- A squeeze of a liquid sweetener like agave syrup or maple syrup
- Use sweetened non-dairy milk
Replace the almond extract
If you don’t have or don’t like almond extract, omit it. Or use vanilla extract instead.
Vary your non-dairy milk
You can use any non-dairy milk that you enjoy like soy, almond, cashew, or oat milk.
Or you can even replace the non-dairy milk with water. Since you’re adding cashews, it will still have plenty of creamy goodness.
For more vanilla flavor, use vanilla vegan milk.
You can also add more or less milk, depending on if you like your smoothie thinner or thicker.
More smoothies you’ll love
Creamy cashew kale smoothie with banana
- Put the following into a high-speed blender: non-dairy milk, chia or flaxseeds, raw cashews, frozen banana chunks, almond extract (optional), and about 4 handfuls of raw kale.
- Blend until smooth. (Stop to stir if necessary)If using a Vitamix, get the tamper involved to push all of the ingredients into the blade to blend completely.
- Add about 6 ice cubes. Blend until smooth & there are no sounds of ice crushing.
- Pour into two glasses & serve.
- Blend the kale with non-dairy milk on their own in the blender until totally smooth before adding other ingredients. (Stop and stir, if necessary.)
- Grind the raw cashews & chia or flax seeds in a clean coffee grinder until they’re the texture of flour or a smooth meal.
- Add the ground cashew/chia mixture to the blender along with frozen bananas and almond extract (if using). Blend. Then add ice & continue blending until smooth.
Content, recipe, and photos updated August 29, 2022. Originally posted July 7, 2011.