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Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie {vegan}

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.

Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie | Letty's Kitchen

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!

Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie | Letty's Kitchen

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.

Turmeric rocks!

  • 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.turmeric for Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie | Letty's Kitchen

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.

#Eat Seasonal:

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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  • My mouth is watering over this smoothie, Letty! I’ve been wanting to try turmeric in a smoothie but haven’t gotten around to it, and now I really want to! This is on my must-try list. Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Thanks Marcie–fresh turmeric is such an easy and colorful way to get it in our diet! Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • Maura Mark

    Hola Letty,
    This looks sooooo good! I used to love Orange Julius’s as a kid. Just added some ingredients to my grocery list. Thank you so much. Yum
    Keep those Vegan/Gluten Free recipes coming. Grateful! xoxo Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Gracias Maura. I loved those Orange Julius drinks too. In my 20’s I would make them at home with frozen orange juice concentrate, milk, and vanilla! Reply · 10 January, 2017

      • Maura Mark

        P.S. I can’t stop making these smoothies. The first try, I forgot the almond milk even after making my own! I had added 4 tangerines, so there was plenty of liquid and it was really delicious. Now I see your carrot soup post. Will try that next. xo Reply · 16 January, 2017

        • So cool! Love that you play with these recipe Maura. xo back at you! Reply · 17 January, 2017

  • What a find, Letty! I have never seen fresh tumeric before! Both you and tumeric were on my mind this past week — we were at Deer Valley, and of course, I thought of you and your sweet creations – and pointed out the plaque to my daughter that was on display with your name and the insanely good Chocolate Snowball at Royal Street Cafe. While we were there, we also had a discussion about the benefits of tumeric over lunch – talk about worlds colliding!

    I love the twist this adds to your tangerine julius! Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Thank you Liren! I hope you got some good skiing while you were there! My husband takes a turmeric supplement and I’m trying to figure out ways to use the fresh. He loves this smoothie! Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • Letty! The turmeric is a brilliant addition. I need to get to the store and stock back up on tangerines. I love it! Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Thanks Lindsey! Tangerines are the best aren’t they? Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • I keep wanting to splurge and get tumeric root at the store! This smoothie sounds awesome! Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Becky, One of the good things about fresh turmeric is that you can just buy a little knob, like you can break off only as much ginger as you need. Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • I’ve actually never used fresh turmeric – only dried/ground. Shameful I know! I need to grab some and make this smoothie. It sounds delicious! Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Thank you Liz. Hint: I have a carrot turmeric soup on the blog next Monday. I predict turmeric the spice of 2017! Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • I love these smoothies and I love that you used fresh turmeric in it! They’re so cute! This smoothie looks like a really healthy and tasty way to start the day! Reply · 9 January, 2017

    • Thank you Izzy. For breakfast I have been adding a scoop of protein powder to this smoothie! Reply · 10 January, 2017

  • I loved Orange Julius when I was a kid. And this healthy reinvention of one (with turmeric!!!) is so fresh for this time of year. Reply · 10 January, 2017

    • Hi Katie–thank you. Stoked to see your seasonal recipes in this group too! Reply · 11 January, 2017

  • Never had an Orange Julius but I certainly know the Creamsicle. I also have a tree full of ripe satsumas! GREG Reply · 11 January, 2017

    • Totally envious of your satsuma tree and its hanging fruit! Bring on the julius! Reply · 11 January, 2017

  • Bajaus Juice Bar

    Hi Letty
    Great Ideas… delicious combinations
    thanks for sharing…

    Bajaus Juice Bar Reply · 12 January, 2017

    • Thanks guys. I was so excited to see turmeric shots on your menu! Reply · 14 January, 2017

  • I really need to try using turmeric! I could use all those health benefits for sure! Reply · 12 January, 2017

  • […] that I’ve been a part of for several years. Last year, I chose tangerines, and blended up a super-healthy tangerine Julius smoothie. The January before that, pink grapefruit inspired a burnt honey custard tart topped with […] Reply · 8 January, 2018

  • […] Tangerine Julius Tangelo Chocolate Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake Tangerine Drizzle Cake Tangelo Mint Iced Tea […] Reply · 29 January, 2018

  • Jackie Reeves

    Hi Letty, I just read all of the comments about the Tangerine Smoothie…it sounds so good! Where can I buy fresh turmeric root here in Baja? Reply · 17 January, 2020

    • Hi Jackie,
      I found it at La Comer in San Jose. I saw it there again this season.
      Letty Reply · 17 January, 2020

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