To me the perfect breakfast food is well-balanced but high on the protein side of things, and perhaps most importantly, quick and easy to make. Only on the rare weekend morning do I feel like putting in the work for anything complicated like an omelette before I’ve even had my morning coffee. There are so few foods that meet these restrictions. Eggs are wonderful but I get tired of them. Oatmeal is a little carb heavy and I don’t like it very much. Boxed cereals are pretty much all carbs, as are the great classics like pancakes, waffles, toast and bagels.
But one standard I often go to is the Date Milk Smoothie that Puja introduced me to many years ago. Her parents are deeply into healthy eating, and this is based on one of her dad’s recipes. He makes it with almonds that have soaked overnight but I prefer the flavor of pistachios. You can also make it Puja’s favorite way, with pecans.
I like these smoothies because the nuts make them rich in protein and the dates add lots of sweetness. Over the years we’ve made many variations of it. When we first started making them we added honey, but that turned out to be unnecessary because dates are already so sweet. But I love pistachios. They are by far my favorite nut. I only recently I started making it with Almond milk which makes it vegan. Almond milk works just as well as regular milk, although the result is a little less creamy but you don’t really miss it because the pistachios already make it so thick.
In my opinion it is also a great post-workout vegan protein smoothie. But I often drop a raw egg into mine to give it even more protein. I like to tell people about the raw egg to see what kind of reaction they will have. The egg just adds a little creaminess and barely changes the flavor at all. I do this with most smoothies I make. I used to do it to Puja’s once in a while. She had no idea until one day I mentioned it casually in conversation and she freaked out and told me not to do it again. As tempting as it’s been, I haven’t done it since.
I’ve been making Date Milk for 8 years now and I have a precise technique down. This is important because if you don’t do it right sometimes the dates won’t dissolve into the mixture and the result won’t be as sweet or flavorful as it should be. And you’ll end up with a clump of dates at the bottom. The two most important things to remember are 1. Use medjool dates if you can and 2. Blend the dates, pistachio and milk mixture well before blending in the ice.
Pistachio Date Milk
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or dairy milk)
- 4 medjool dates, chopped
- 5-6 ice cubes
- Put the pistachios and dates in a blender. Add about a half cup of milk. Blend at the highest setting. Stop the blender and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, add the rest of the milk and blend again.
- When the mixture is nice and creamy blend in the ice cubes until they are thoroughly integrated into the smoothy. Serve cold.
Be sure not to add the ice cubes until the very end. If the dates are too cold when they are blended they will clump and not blend well.
You can substitute other nuts for pistachios. We’ve had success with soaked almonds (raw, not roasted), cashews and pecans.
Medjool dates are by far the best for this smoothie. If you use a different kind you might try soaking them in the milk for a few hours ahead of times, or even cooking them into a syrup first, to make sure they blend well.