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Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake

June 15, 2018
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
This Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake is a great healthy way to kickstart your day. Completely vegan and packed with health-promoting ingredients, but it feels more like having dessert for breakfast. Perfect summer sip for the whole family!

Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake

Homemade shakes are incredibly easy, yet have such amazing flavor payoff and this Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake is no different. Make your next healthy shake at home which can be enjoyed for breakfast or as dessert, made with all plant-based ingredients! This shake is bursting with vanilla + banana flavors, creamy, velvety, and has just the right amount of spices for a "warming" feel with every sip. All dairy-free, vegan. Gluten-free option.

Drinks in two cups with a straw on brown wood table with an ice cream carton and cashews.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love and receive commission from.

When it comes to morning shakes, I'm such a fan of tasty flavors. Like smoothies, I love how easy it is to whip together a shake while still achieving the level of fullness needed for a busy morning. This Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake is something that I enjoy making on repeat and the best part is that you're able to substitute and swap ingredients for a new variation, depending on your preference. This shake recipe is literally like drinking dessert for breakfast and it's the perfect cross between a traditional shake and a milkshake---hence the addition of ice cream.

This recipe boasts of it's deep vanilla and banana flavors, nuttiness from the cashews, perfect balance of sweetness, and ultra velvetiness that makes every sip worth it. Plus, it's made with all dairy-free + vegan ingredients with a gluten-free option, and is a favorite for kids and adults-alike. So, if you're a lover of decadent drinks like this, then you'll thoroughly enjoy this Cashew Date Morning Smoothie, Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Chunky Milkshake, Classic Dairy-Free Strawberry Milkshake, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Milkshake.

Is Protein Shakes Good For You?

In general, protein shakes are known for helping with weight loss and promoting nutrients post-workout which makes them an easy option. With this shake recipe, it's jam-packed with nutrients that come from the bananas (supports digestive health, heart health, full antioxidants, + improves kidney health), cashews (low in sugar, rich in fiber, + plant protein), and chia seeds (loaded with antioxidants, supports weight loss, contains bone nutrients, + reduces blood sugar levels), specifically----making it a great option as a meal replacer or boost in overall health.

Jump to:
Ingredients on a brown wood table including bananas, vanilla, ice cream, milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds.

What's in this Protein Shake?

Using cashews provides the rich, luxurious creaminess of a milkshake while keeping this recipe healthy and entirely dairy-free + vegan.

The addition of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg add just the right amount of warmth, resulting in a balanced, healthy shake that comes together in minutes. 

Best of all, it’s entirely customizable. You can make this protein shake with or without bananas, substitute the cashews for almonds, omit the ice cream and replace with ice, use any of your favorite plant-based milks, or add more spices to the mix. It’s easy to have fun and experiment for everyone involved---including the kids!

How to Make Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake

This Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake as I’ve mentioned before is super easy to whip together and doesn’t require anything special when it comes to ingredients. All you need to whip up this simple pick me up shake is a handful of ingredients and a good high-powered blender.

INGREDIENTS

  • Cashews. I soak these overnight, but for a quick soak, simply add them to boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Vanilla-based ice cream. I love premium dairy-free ice cream like Ben & Jerry's, Van Leeuwen’s or So Delicious Dairy-Free.
  • Banana. Adds great thickness and works as a natural sweetener as well. You can always substitute with sweet potato puree, Meedjol dates, avocado, or oats.
  • Spices. I like to add cinnamon and nutmeg for a warm spice flavor.
  • Milk. You can totally use your fave plant-based milk. Choose unsweetened. I recommend making easy homemade almond milk (my recipe doesn’t require soaking!)
  • Vanilla extract. Use a dash of pure vanilla to optimize the flavor.
  • Chia seeds. There are a ton of health benefits to adding chia seeds to your foods or drinks. Definitely adds a nice crunch to this shake.
  • Whipped cream. For a nice smoothness after every sip, I like to top with coconut whipped cream. Make your own or use a store-bought version.

Chia Seed Health Benefits

Perhaps the best health benefit of chia seeds is how rich they are in omega-3 fatty acids. These are the healthy fats that our bodies need but do not produce on their own. Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation and may fight free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic disease.

In addition, chia seeds can be added to almost anything. Add them in other drinks like this one. Sprinkle them on your sandwich, add some to your morning smoothie, or scoop a tablespoon into your cereal. No matter how you eat them, chia seeds are extremely beneficial to your diet!

Benefits of Chia Seeds + Why You Should Be Using Them—–Convinced yet? Here are some of the top health benefits of chia seeds according to science. I’ve also added some of my favorite recipes to incorporate chia seeds into your everyday meals. 

Cashews in a brown bowl on a brown wood table.

Why Cashews?

Few foods are as high in copper as cashews. Copper plays an important role in creating and maintaining the connective tissue in our bodies. This soft, creamy tree nut provides 622 micrograms per ounce, making it a very effective way to get your daily dose of copper and keep your joints and cartilage happy.

Cashews are also high in healthy, unsaturated fat. These healthy fats not only taste delicious but they’ve been shown to reduce hunger, helping you maintain a healthy caloric intake.

They round out the healthy ingredients and add the perfect creaminess to this incredible date smoothie.

What Kind of Dairy-Free Milk Can I Use?

When it comes to vegan milk options, there are so many possibilities. From soy milk to nut milk to the newest trend, potato milk, you can find a delicious plant-based option you love. And what makes these milks even better? You can make them from scratch at home! All of these dairy-free milk recipes will work for this Protein Shake recipe:

If you’re curious about the wide world of dairy-free milk options, start with this guide to The Best Milk Alternatives for Your Entire Household.

What Are the Best Protein Packed Ingredients?

When it comes to making this Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake, you can definitely add your favorite protein powder to the mix for a great source of protein. However, if you're looking to add specific ingredients that contain good amounts of protein, then these are a great place to start (both vegan + non-vegan):

  • Eggs
  • Lean meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork)
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.)
  • Dairy products (i.e. milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Nuts and seeds (i.e. almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.)
  • Nut butters (i.e. almond butter, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Fish and seafood (fish, prawns, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, etc.)
A white bowl with cashews covered with water on a brown table.

Toppings Ideas

Add crunch and texture to your Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake with your favorite toppings. I like to serve this shake with a few dollops of coconut whipped cream and a garnish of chopped cashews, but you can use any of these:

  • Fresh berries, especially strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.
  • Sliced almonds or another nut. Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or brazil nuts are also great. 
  • Almond butter or another nut butter-----softened for a nice drizzle.
  • Seeds like chia, pumpkin or sunflower.
  • Yogurt. You can use plant-based or regular Greek yogurt to add a nice creamy addition.
  • Sliced bananas for additional sweetness and nutrients.
  • Caramel sauce or chopped chocolate (vegan-friendly).

Common Q + A's for Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake

How to store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly sealed or in a covered mason jar, ensuring that you drink it within the same day for best taste and consistency.

How to soak cashews?

To best soak cashews, add 1 cup of cashews to a bowl or measuring cup and cover with cold water, sealing the top with plastic wrap and leaving it out (at room temp.) overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse. If not able to soak overnight, simply cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, drain, + rinse.

Can I add additional ingredients to shake?

Absolutely! To create a kick of flavor or add nutrients to this shake, you can add any of the following: turmeric (about ¼ tsp), your favorite nut butter, flaxseed meal, cacao powder (about 1 Tbsp), or an additional sweetener such as Dates, Honey or Maple syrup.

Is this vanilla protein shake gluten-free?

To make this Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake gluten-free, ensure that any store-bought products like the coconut whipped cream if GF-friendly.

When should you drink protein shakes?

Generally, it's best to drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of working out. If you're drinking it for post-workout recovery, then aim to drink it within 60 minutes. For general health and wellness, you can drink a protein shake at any time of day.

Do protein shakes taste better with milk or water?

In all honesty, mixing protein with milk is much better in taste as compared to mixing protein with water.

How much protein do I need a day?

According to research, an adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. That means that the average man should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, whereas the average woman should eat about 46 grams.

Are bananas high in protein?

No. Like most fruits, bananas are not a source of fat or protein, but they are a great source of energy and higher in calories.

A glass of shake with a straw on a brown wood table including a spoon and cashews.

More Easy Healthy Summer Recipes to Try!

Now that you're on a protein shake kick with this recipe, give these recipes that your entire family will love a try next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Up close shot of shake in a glass with herbs and cashews.
Up close shot of shake in a glass with herbs and cashews.

Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake

June 15, 2018
5 from 3 votes
This Vanilla Cashew Protein Shake is a great healthy way to kickstart your day. Completely vegan and packed with health-promoting ingredients, but it feels more like having dessert for breakfast. Perfect summer sip for the whole family!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1 serving

Ingredients

SHAKE:

  • 1 very ripe organic banana
  • 1 cup Almond milk (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked + drained (See Notes!)
  • ½ cup dairy-free vanilla ice cream (You can also sub with ice, if preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Chopped cashews

Instructions

TO MAKE THE SHAKE:

  • Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. NOTE: If shake is too thick, simply add an additional ¼ cup milk.
  • To serve, add shake to prepared glass(es) and top with Coconut Whipped cream and chopped cashews, if desired.
  • Sip and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly sealed or in a covered mason jar, ensuring that you drink it within the same day for best taste and consistency.
  • SOAKED CASHEWS: To best soak cashews, add 1 cup of cashews to a bowl or measuring cup and cover with cold water, sealing the top with plastic wrap and leaving it out (at room temp.) overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse. If not able to soak overnight, simply cover cashews with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes, drain, + rinse.
  • ADDITIONAL OPTIONS: To create a kick of flavor or add nutrients to this shake, you can add any of the following: turmeric (about ¼ tsp), your favorite nut butter, flaxseed meal, cacao powder (about 1 Tbsp), or an additional sweetener such as Dates, Honey or Maple syrup.

Nutrition

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 346IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 459mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. Such a great way to celebrate success, Congrats. I will surely be going to try your recipe it seems quite yummy.

  2. What a great way to celebrate your first year this looks so yummy .. congrats to you and your doing a great job looking forward to the next chapter!

  3. Wow I could totally go for some of this milkshake...like right NOW! Looks so creamy and delicious!!

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