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Smoothie Recipes

Green smoothie with hemp seeds and coconut milk cubes

Prep time 15 minutes
serves 2 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed

Published June 4 2019
Updated October 28 2019


1 cup coconut milk
2 frozen bananas
6 frozen coconut cubes
1 cup fresh greens
1 cup frozen smoothie blend
3 tbsp hemp hearts
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until thick and creamy. For extra thickness add more coconut cubes. Enjoy!

This green smoothie exceeds delicious, thick and creamy, because - coconut ice cubes.

I don’t usually have frozen coconut milk cubes on hand but at the time of preparing this green smoothie, I had a half can of coconut milk left over from a curry that we had photographed for our ebook several days prior that was begging to be saved. I recall while I was working at Ceres Organics people had mentioned they often had leftover coconut milk from a 400 ml can and did not know what to do with it, well, this is what you do with it. You freeze your coconut milk in an ice cube tray and make super creamy fat metabolising smoothies with it. Potentially.

I rarely buy canned coconut milk now. There was a time where I was making raw desserts quite often for work, but it got tired, I think even Pinterest got tired of it. It’s not for everyone, the ingredients require a certain level of investment, of access. I bake banana cakes now. And so, there are no half cans of coconut milk hanging out in my fridge anymore, but when coconuts are in abundance at the markets, I will make my own. It was Benoit, Amandine’s partner who thought to make coconut milk from scratch after spotting mature coconuts at Garden For The People one weekend. Turns out you can make around 1 litre per coconut, depending on the consistency. And since we were picking up coconuts for around $3 this ended up being far more cost effective than purchasing cans, and it is a better product than a carton version, plus it is zero waste. Wins abound.

And back to the fat metabolising part. Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides which stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis, or heat production. There is some research to suggest that coconut consumption supports weight loss, however, this is going to completely depend on you and your genetics and unique biology. Coconut does, however, make this green smoothie energising and nourishing. I like my smoothies super thick and usually use a banana per serve though I understand some people are watching their carbohydrate intake, and you do what feels right for you. Coconut cubes provide a creaminess much like banana so there really is no compromise here. Or you use an extra frozen banana.

Hemp seeds are also creamy. If you are not familiar, hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa, from the same species as cannabis (marijuana) a different variety, they contain no THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you high. Hemp seeds are safe to eat, the trans-Tasman Ministers government confirmed this on 28 April 2017 approving changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code that would allow the sale of hemp seed as a food for human consumption. Amendments were made to the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006 and the Food Regulations 2015 that would “provide for consistency between the Food Standards Code to allow low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp seed as food.” And that is all sorts of wonderful if you are wanting to incorporate other vegan protein sources into your diet given we have been denied hemp for decades.

Because I’m also wary of health claims, and that while knowledge is power, misinformation is perhaps more dangerous than ignorance, this is not a protein smoothie. But it is good. Hemp seeds per 100 g contain 31.56 g of plant protein - quality protein, chia seeds are 16.5 g per 100 g for comparison. Hemp is, however, a good source of Omega-3’s, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. If you want protein, I would recommend adding a serving of pea protein isolate - pea protein isolate is 75 per cent protein. One serve contains 23 grams of plant protein and that plus the hemp seeds as per the serving in this recipe, 5 grams of protein per serve, that would provide you with more protein than a serving of steak in one smoothie. And like most things, hemp seeds are easy enough to procure online. It was while researching the nutritional information for this piece I came across Hemp Farm which sells organic hemp seeds at a more accessible price point than other options available locally. Significantly. Having said that there is a misconception a plant based diet is ‘expensive’, it can be, does not need to be. And what if we paid the true costs of growing crops, meat, or plants? I think it would democratise the field, there would be clear incentives for growing plant crops such as hemp, for growing sustainably.

Currently there is a global narrative both societal and at industry level that questions our focus on protein production sourced from animals. We have to start working towards an understanding of the sustainability limits for the meat and dairy production both here New Zealand and globally. I read this short paper from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) discussing the opportunity for New Zealand in manufacturing high-value plant protein foods, and while hemp interestingly was omitted, hemp crops are part of a solution to improve access to healthy protein sources while working towards our climate obligations and addressing future climate change challenges.

This blog was founded with the intent of being useful, of empowering people to change on their terms in pragmatic optimism for the issues we collectively face. And while not in the context of climate change, but applicable yes, Michael Hobbes wrote in his piece for the Huffington Highline, FML - “Like everyone in my generation, I am finding it increasingly difficult not to be scared about the future and angry about the past.” I think most people reading this can relate to some degree. He was referring to millennials and their uncertain financial future. You do what is reasonable, like buying and eating locally given dietary restrictions, budget restrictions. Nothing is perfect. We don’t need perfect, we just need more people doing something.

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