Start your day off right with this refreshing cucumber apple smoothie! Packed with hydrating cucumber, sweet and tangy apple, protein-rich milk and Greek yogurt, and heart-healthy avocado, this smoothie is not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious.
Add a hint of ginger for some extra flavor and digestive benefits and enjoy it as a quick breakfast or post-workout snack that is sure to leave you feeling satisfied.
Why This Works
- Provides a balance of macros with protein from milk and Greek yogurt, carb from apple, and healthy fat from avocado
- 7 simple ingredients with options to customize
- Make it in 5 minutes
- Works for a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack
- Nutritious and filling
Ingredients and Nutrition
Apple and cucumber smoothie is a nutritious and refreshing drink that offers a variety of health benefits. Cucumbers are hydrating and rich in vitamins and minerals, while apples are a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Health benefits specific to the ingredients used in this smoothie are explained below.
Incredibly filling and low in calories, apples offer fiber, which supports gut health, promotes satiety, and moderates blood sugars.
In addition, apples provide antioxidants and boast the following nutrients :
- Vitamin C: A vitamin needed for the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, and muscles, as well as for wound healing. As an antioxdiant, vitamin C protects the cells against free radical damage.
- Potassium: A mineral and electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance, nerve function, muscle contractions, and blood pressure. Potassium helps ensure proper functioning of the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles.
Although often referred to as a vegetable in cooking, cucumbers are classified as a fruit due to their seed-bearing nature.
Whatever you’d like to call them, cucumbers are especially low-calorie, high in water, and offer some nutrients. They provide vitamin K, an important nutrient for bone health and blood clotting.
People often describe cucumbers as having a crisp, refreshing, and mild flavor with a slight sweetness and a subtle hint of bitterness.
It’s not necessary to remove the seeds from cucumbers before eating them. In fact, the seeds are edible and contain fiber. However, some people may prefer to remove the seeds as they can be a bit bitter.
Cucumbers range in their bitterness, however, English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, are a popular variety that is typically less bitter than other types. They have a mild, sweet flavor and thin, edible skin, which makes them a great choice for salads, sandwiches, and snacking.
Smaller-sized Persian cucumbers are another variety that is known for their sweetness and low bitterness.
I typically add a banana, mango, or avocado to my smoothies for a creamy base. Avocados are especially helpful when trying to create a thick and filling smoothie.
What’s more, avocados also boost the nutrient density of smoothies by providing healthy fats, namely monounsaturated fat . This type of fat can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, in turn reducing the risk of heart disease as well as stroke.
Avocados supply a good amount of potassium, vitamins C and K, as well as the following nutrients.
- Vitamin E: A vitamin with antioxidant properties. It also helps maintain healthy eyes and skin.
- Folate: An important nutrient for cellular growth and red blood cell production. It’s essential in pregnancy to reduce risk of anemia and birth defects.
Both milk and non-dairy alternatives provide the body with essential nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, that are necessary for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Using water in your smoothie instead of milk or a non-dairy alternative is a missed opportunity to meet recommended nutritional needs for these key nutrients.
However, these products differ in protein content, which is important to consider if you want a smoothie with sustenance.
When recommending milk products, I typically suggest cow’s milk, soy milk, or pea-based milk because they have a higher protein content compared to other types of milk.
If you have an allergy or intolerance to these products, it’s important to seek out a suitable alternative from the wide range of milk varieties available.
Plain Greek yogurt
Easily increase the protein in your smoothie with plain Greek yogurt. Just a half-cup serving (around 100 grams) supplies about 10 grams of protein.
Choosing plain Greek for smoothie recipes gives you a blank, creamy canvas to work with. You can add your flavors without all the added sugar that comes with some flavored yogurts.
In addition, plain Greek yogurt’s versatility allows you to create a myriad of recipes, including savory foods like dips and cream-based salads.
Besides protein and calcium, Greek yogurt is rich in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B12: An essential nutrient that helps keep your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy.
- Vitamin B2: A vitamin that helps maintan the body’s energy supply.
- Selenium: An important mineral for reproduction, thyroid gland function, and DNA production. It also possesses antioxidant properties.
- Phosphorus: A vital mineral that works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. It also plays a structural role in cell membranes and is involved in energy production.
- Ice helps thicken up the smoothie and make it colder, which can be especially refreshing on a hot day. In general, ice also dilutes overly sweet or strong-tasting ingredients. However, if you don’t have ice, the overall taste of the smoothie is just as fine.
- Maple syrup or honey: Just a tablespoon to add a hint of sweet taste but this may be optional. You may also use a couple of pitted and chopped dates.
- Ginger adds a slightly spicy, warm flavor. Optional but it gives the overall flavor profile more dimension. Ginger may also offer health benefits such as aiding with digestion and anti-inflammatory effects.
Firstly, chop and core the apple as well as chop the cucumber. Then add those to the blender along with the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Drink immediately or store in an airtight container to consume later.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, apples and cucumbers are a great combination because they’re packed with nutrients your body needs. Consuming both of them together provides a nice flavor balance with the sweetness from the apple combined with the cucumber’s refreshing and hydrating feel.
Yes, banana is often used as a sweet, creamy base in smoothie recipes. You may use banana as your cream base instead of avocado. Or banana for your fruit instead of an apple. Whatever you choose, it’s important to experiment and find combinations that work for you.
Yes, you can drink this smoothie every day. However, if it’s all you’re consuming, this could not only lead to boredom but nutrient deficiencies as well. To get all the nutrients your body needs, it’s important to have a varied and balanced diet.
This recipe provides around 19 grams of protein. But you can increase the protein in this smoothie or any smoothie, by adding any of the following ingredients:
– Peanut butter or peanuts
– Nut butter or nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews
– Hemp hearts (the soft inner part of the hemp seeds)
– Chia seeds
– Wheat germ
Nuts and seeds also offer heart-healthy fat, something to note if you’d like to swap out avocado for another healthy fat source.
You can also increase the protein by adding more Greek yogurt or milk.
Another option is incorporating a protein powder. I don’t recommend a specific brand or type of protein powder, but I suggest keeping the following in mind when shopping for a protein powder as there are endless options available:
1) Choose a protein powder that meets your needs as far as protein is offered. Look at the nutrition facts label and pay attention to serving size, and calories as you may need more or less, depending on your needs. I recommend choosing a powder that’s also lower in sugar.
2) Double check on the ingredient list that it only contains the type of protein(s) you’re intending to consume such as whey or pea protein, for example.
3) You need to be careful when choosing your protein powder, especially if you’re ordering it online. Protein powder is classified as a dietary supplement, which means it isn’t regulated like food or medicine . As such, I generally recommend choosing a powder that’s gone through third-party testing with NSF, U.S. Pharmacopeia, or ConsumerLab. These independent organizations check for ingredient accuracy and potency, heavy metal contaminants, and if the product label aligns with what’s in the product.
Try these other easy and customizable smoothie recipes:
- Matcha Strawberry Smoothie
- Mint Chocolate Protein Smoothie
- Pumpkin Protein Smoothie
- Banana Chia Smoothie with Peanut Butter
Apple Cucumber Smoothie with Protein and Variations
- 1 cutting board
- 1 chef knife
- measuring cups and spoons
- 1 blender
- 1 cup milk higher in protein such as cow's, soy, or pea milk
- 1 apple
- 1 small cucumber or ½ of a large cucumber
- ½ avocado
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup ice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, or 1 to 2 pitted and chopped dates
Optional: 1 to 2 teaspoons grated ginger root or ⅛ teaspoon ginger powder, ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Core and chop the apple and place it in the blender.
- Roughly chop the cucumber and place it in the blender.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender as well as any optional ingredients you'd like to add and blend until smooth.
Tried this recipe? What variations or adaptations did you make? Share in the comments.