You could call it a tangerine almond smoothie, or a tangerine creamsicle drink–both names suggest the flavors going on here. But if you’ve ever tasted the creamy citrus-y vanilla-y trademark orange Julius, your mouth is already watering. This healthy tangerine julius smoothie is a healthful riff on the famous orange beverage.
Frothy and refreshing, this smoothie gets its start with fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, vanilla almond milk, dates, and a banana. Fresh ginger and turmeric add zing, color, and myriad health benefits.
Tangerines are on January’s The Vintage Mixer seasonal produce list, and the juicy, honey-sweet orange cuties got me thinking smoothies. A test batch was yummy, but it didn’t have much orange color—and then I remembered an orange spice that had recently come under my radar–turmeric.
On a Mexican country road last fall, we stopped at a palm frond-covered nieve stand for artisan-made frozen refreshments. After sampling at least five fresh fruit flavors, I settled on a delicious orange-hued sorbet made from starfruit and azafran. And wondered what the heck is azafran?
My friend thought it was some kind of saffron, but that didn’t make sense. Saffron is world’s most expensive spice, and my cup of of nieve cost a dollar’s worth of pesos.
The next day in the market, we spied a hand-written sign—azafran–tucked in a basket of knobby orange finger-like roots. I recognized them right away as fresh turmeric. Ha! Azafran is turmeric–turmeric was the mystery flavor in my nieve!
Besides offering peppery sweet flavor and healthful well-being, turmeric tints this tangerine smoothie a perfect pale orange shade, color you can’t get from tangerine juice alone.
- Fresh turmeric hangs out in the produce aisle next to its rhizome cousin, knobby ginger. Both fresh spices are distinctly different than their ground counterparts, and both bring sprightly flavor plus health benefits to this smoothie.
- Turmeric is tonic. Long known for its powerful medicinal qualities, its anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and anti-cancer benefits, newer studies show turmeric’s potential to improve brain and kidney function, blood sugar balance, and gut health.
- If you can’t find fresh turmeric, substitute the dried spice. It won’t taste quite the same as with fresh turmeric, but you’ll still get the brighter orange color, along with all the healthy turmeric benefits.
- Beware: Dried or fresh, turmeric’s intense yellow-orange color leaves its mark—on your hands, your apron, cutting boards, and kitchen counters—on everything it touches.
More Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie recipe notes:
- Fresh mandarin orange varieties–tangerines, clementines, or tangelos–have similar juicy sweet/sour qualities–feel free to use any of these for your smoothie.
- Boost your healthy tangerine julius smoothie with protein powder. I like Sunwarrior’s plant-based powder—it has almost 20 grams of protein per scoop.
- When the Spanish-language label reads azafran Español, then azafran is the pricy yellow-orange threads, Spanish saffron. I bought both turmeric and saffron, both labeled azafran, here in Baja. The knobby orange fingers went in my healthy tangerine julius smoothie, and the expensive saffron is about to go in Garlic and Leek Soup, a delicious recipe I want/need to update with photos.
- Choosing fresh grapefruit from last year’s January seasonal produce list, I created this healthy-ish dessert–pink grapefruit with broiled 5-spice honey custard.
Be sure to check out Becky’s The Vintage Mixer blog for her list of seasonal fruits and veggies, with links to more than 70 seasonal recipes. For even more inspiration, follow the links below to other food blogs featuring produce from Becky’s January list. We hope our recipes encourage you to get in the kitchen and cook something delicious—and seasonal!
Leek and Turnip Soup by Vintage Mixer
Apple Almond Bircher Meusli with Winter Fruits by Simple Bites
Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel by Floating Kitchen
Saucy Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry and Mint by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash Boats by She Likes Food
Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries by JoyFoodSunshine
Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette by Project Domestication
Winter Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Coconut Panna Cotta by Kitchen Confidante
Maple Orange Teriyaki Salmon Bowls by Flavor the Moments
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- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated tangerine zest
- ¾ cup tangerine juice
- 1 small banana
- 3 to 4 pitted dates
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 or 3 ice cubes
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Be sure to include the citrus zest--the oil in the skin is essential to tangerine flavor.
- Scrape the peel from fresh ginger and turmeric before grating.
- A high-speed blender makes this smoothie the smoothest. I used a regular blender, which left tiny bits of date floating in the liquid. I didn’t mind the dates at all.