This vanilla protein shake is made with simple, natural ingredients and packed with protein. It’s perfect as a post-workout snack or a filling breakfast on the go!
Protein shakes are all the rage right now and for good reason! They make for an energizing breakfast and double as an amazing post-workout snack that helps refuel your body and repair fatigued muscles.
Over the years I’ve tried a ton of different protein shake flavors, but sometimes I’m craving a true classic – vanilla!
Some people might think that vanilla is boring, but trust me! This vanilla protein shake has a ton of vanilla flavor (from 3 sources!!) and it’s remarkably creamy.
Blended Protein Shake
Often times when we think of a protein shake we think about putting some protein powder and water into a blender bottle and shaking it up. I’ve honestly ever been a big fan of that sort of protein shake so I started making blended shakes… that actually taste good.
Of course, there is an extra step because you do have to break out your blender, but trust me it’s worth it.
Here’s What You Need
The best part about the protein shake? It’s made with 5 simple ingredients!
protein powder – Since this is a vanilla protein shake, I like using vanilla protein powder for added vanilla flavor. That said, you can use a natural (unflavored) protein powder if that’s what you have on hand! In terms of which protein powder to use, I love use Nuzest protein powder. It’s plant-based, has a short ingredient list and great nutrition facts! Use my code eatingbirdfood for 15% off your order.
banana – I recommend using a frozen banana because it will give you that thick and creamy shake texture, however you don’t have to use banana. See my suggestions below for making a banana-free version of this shake.
milk – I like using an unsweetened vanilla almond milk for this protein shake (extra vanilla flavor!!), but any milk will work. Added bonus: unsweetened almond milk is low in calories and has zero sugar!
cinnamon – the perfect spice to add to this smoothie. If you don’t love cinnamon, you can skip this!
vanilla extract – this where the true vanilla flavor comes in! If you’re feeling fancy, you can also scrape the seeds from the inside of a dried vanilla bean for the vanilla flavor. This will add sweet little specks of vanilla to your shake too!
chia seeds or flaxseed – adding chia seeds or flaxseed to your shake is totally optional, but does add a little extra protein, fiber and healthy fats.
ice – adding a handful of ice (about 3-4 cubes) will help thicken your protein shake and give it that frozen texture.
Add even more protein by adding a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt to the shake or a spoonful of peanut butter!
How to Make a Protein Shake Without Banana
Frozen bananas give shakes and smoothies that thick and creamy texture – similar to a shake you’d get from a smoothie shop. They also add a bit of sweetness, as well as, extra nutrients like potassium. That said, I know that some people simply don’t like bananas, need a low-sugar option and/or are allergic so I have some options for you to make this shake banana free:
ice – replace the frozen banana with additional ice (about 1 cup). It will give the shake volume and add a nice, frozen, slushy texture.
frozen milk ice cubes – this is the same concept, but instead of using regular ice cubes, make frozen cubes using your favorite non-dairy milk (like almond or coconut) and use about 1 cup of these cubes instead of the frozen banana.
frozen cauliflower rice – I use frozen cauliflower rice in my shakes all the time and it works as a low-sugar replacement for frozen banana. I do find that it adds a different texture to shakes, especially if you use a large amount. I’d start with 1/4 cup, give the shake a taste and then add more if needed.
There are some other frozen fruit and veggie substitutes for banana in protein shakes, like frozen berries, frozen mango or even avocado, but I’m not recommending these here because they will likely overpower the vanilla flavor we’re going for with this protein shake. That said, if you don’t mind the extra flavor, feel free to try these!
How to Scrape Seeds From a Vanilla Bean
I love using the seeds from a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract when I have them on hand! To get the vanilla seeds out of the bean, carefully slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Hold down one end of the vanilla bean and use the dull side of the knife or a spoon to scrape the seeds away from the pod. Use the seeds right away!