Looking for a recipe for a low carb smoothie bowl without banana? Look no further. The secret to making a creamy smoothie bowl that is low in sugar is to use frozen cauliflower as the base. The berries add a low glycemic index sweetness that allows for the addition of some sneaky greens.
I’ve been really into making banana-free smoothie bowls lately (or any smoothie bowl really, like this Turmeric Golden Milk Smoothie Bowl). The omission of banana is only possible with the inclusion of frozen cauliflower for texture, as well as berries for natural sweetness. When combined with some healthy fats from nut butter, and some greens from zucchini and spinach we have ourselves a nutrient-dense breakfast that won’t send our blood sugar levels soaring. Try starting your day with this Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens – having veggies for breakfast has never been so easy!
“Cauliflower, alongside other cruciferous vegetables, is high in phytonutrients carotenoids and flavonoids, as well as glucosinolates which are virtually exclusive to this group. Glucosinolates have been strongly associated with reducing cancer risk.”
Why Make This Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl Recipes
When we think smoothies, we often think banana, dairy and even juice. The fluid consistency of smoothies and smoothie bowls means they pass through to our digestive tract relatively quickly, and the natural sugars (from the fruit and/or dairy) are released into our bloodstream quickly, resulting in a post-smoothie blood sugar spike. Being conscious of the carbohydrate content of smoothies helps prevent any large fluctuations in our blood sugar levels.
Banana-Free Low Carb Smoothies
We eat more bananas than any other fruit, more than apples and oranges combined. Unfortunately, the Cavendish variety, which is often the only one we have access to in the grocery store, is lower in overall antioxidant value than almost all other fruit in the grocery store, except for melons, papaya, and pineapple (1).
The majority of the bananas we have in our grocery stores come from Central America. Some consumers may be conscious of not only the associated food mileage but also of poor working conditions and environmental standards of the Banana Industry.
Low Carb Smoothies for Diabetics
The Glycemic Index is a rating of how quickly a food will break down into sugar in our bodies. Bananas are technically a medium glycemic index fruit meaning it will have a moderate effect on our blood sugar levels. When we consider their glycemic load of 12, we understand that their higher carbohydrate content in relation to size will spike our blood sugars more than say the same weight of blueberries, which have a glycemic load of 5.
Making a Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl
The phytonutrients glucosinolates in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are well studied and are known to provide a variety of health benefits including their cancer-protective effect (2). Cauliflower retains the most amounts of nutrients when consumed raw, or when steamed for no more than 10 minutes, or lightly sauteed. Boiling or blanching can destroy up to 40 percent of its cancer-fighting compounds (3,4).
Variations For This Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl Recipes with Yogurt
For those who like the addition of yogurt in their smoothie bowls (coconut for vegans), try adding 1 cup of plain yogurt as well as the remaining ingredients as per recipe. This will result in a slightly less firm smoothie bowl, but a more creamy mouthfeel.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl Recipes with Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a great way to bump up the protein content of any smoothie bowl. Try adding 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt in addition to the ingredients as per the recipe for an additional 8-10 grams of protein per serve.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be used in place of almond butter in the low carb smoothie bowl. The addition of a healthy fat is essential for satiety (keeping full) and sensory. Healthy fats offer a delicious flavour and mouthfeel – you won’t even miss the carbs.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Avocado
Add one diced and deseeded avocado to the smoothie bowl to increase the healthy fats, which will keep you going for longer and result in more stable blood sugar levels. Even better if you can freeze your avocado beforehand – be sure to remove the avocado flesh from the skin and seed before freezing for easier use in your next smoothie bowl.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Coconut Milk
Coconut milk can be used in place of the milk alternative. Using coconut milk from the can increases the fat content of the smoothie bowl which will keep you fuller for longer and offer a more creamy and delicious smoothie bowl. Try making your own coconut milk, like in this Prebiotic Smoothie Bowl with Chickpeas.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Spinach
I love adding greens to my smoothie bowls. Spinach has a slightly less bitter taste than kale, though kale or any other green can be used. I often encourage kale over spinach because of the absence of calcium-binding oxalates (see post What Foods Are High In Calcium On A Plant-Based Diet). As this smoothie bowl does not contain a high amount of calcium, using spinach is fine.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl Vegan
If using a milk-alternative this smoothie is naturally vegan. If using granola, those following a strict vegan diet may look for one that does not contain honey.
Low Carb Strawberry Smoothie Bowl
Strawberries can be used in place of blueberries, and I find doubling the amount of strawberries works best (with an additional 1/2 cup milk alternative). Don’t worry too much about the carb content with the additional berries as strawberries have almost half the amount of carbs as blueberries, and a glycemic load of 1 (compared to 5 for blueberries).
Keto Low Carb Smoothie Bowl
This low carb smoothie bowl works for those following a keto diet. It is naturally low in carbohydrates due to the omission of banana and contains healthy fat from the nut butter. Consider switching the milk-alternative out for some canned coconut milk to increase the fat content of the smoothie bowl.
Tips For This Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens
Raw vs Steamed vs Frozen Cauliflower for Smoothies
I’ve made this banana-free smoothie bowl using both raw, steamed or frozen cauliflower. I find that frozen cauliflower results in a thicker consistency that is aimed for with smoothie bowls. If you don’t have frozen cauliflower on hand use fresh or steamed cauliflower, and add less liquid, or add more frozen berries to ensure a firm smoothie bowl consistency.
Low Carb Green Smoothie Bowls
The greens are completely optional and I find that the taste is barely noticeable. The zucchini adds to the thickness of the smoothie (best when frozen but fresh works as well). Kale can be used in place of spinach. I suggest freezing any leftover vegetables from the week in a ziplock bag to use in your next smoothie bowl.
Making a Low Carb Smoothie Bowl in the Vitamix
Using a Vitamix or another high-speed blender is the best way to ensure the smoothest consistency. If you’re concerned about the power of your blender, you may need to add 1/4-1/2 cup more milk or milk-alternative to achieve the desired smooth consistency.
Want Some More Smoothie Bowl Recipes?
Love smoothie bowls as much as me? Try these favourites:
- This gut health promoting Prebiotic Smoothie Bowl Recipe with Chickpeas
- This anti-inflammatory Turmeric Golden Milk Smoothie Bowl
- This Kefir Chia Pudding
- This Healing Breakfast Smoothie
Did you make this Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Share it on Pinterest and leave a comment below. I would love it if you shared a picture of your recreation on Instagram so I can take a look, and be sure to tag me @theconsciousdietitian.
Low Carb Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens [GF, Vegan]
- 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower
- 1/2 cup frozen zucchini
- 1 cup frozen spinach loosely packed
- 1 cup frozen blueberries preferably wild
- 1 cup milk alternative (try homemade hemp-milk)
- 2 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- hemp hearts
- berries fresh or frozen
- granola (grain-free for low-carb)
- This smoothie bowl works best with frozen cauliflower and zucchini*. Option to steam the cauliflower first, but if using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix this step is not necessary. Frozen spinach is easy to have on hand, but fresh works fine as well.
- Add all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender, starting with the frozen ingredients closest to the blade. Blend until a creamy consistency is achieved and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Divide the banana-free smoothie bowl mix into two bowls. Top with homemade granola, fresh fruit, and additional hemp hearts.
Nutrition Analysis was done with no-toppings for the smoothie bowl
1. Eating On The Wild Side (2013). Jo Robinson
2. Effects of cruciferous vegetables and their constituents on drug metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation of DNA-reactive dietary carcinogens (2001). Mutation Research
3. Effects of some technological processes on glucosinolate content in cruciferous vegetables (2007). Food Chemistry
4. Processing (blanching, boiling, steaming) effects on the content of glucosinolates and antioxidant-related parameters in cauliflower (2009). Food Science and Technology
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.