Long before the smoothie there was the lassi. Originally from Punjab, India, the lassi is a refreshing drink best enjoyed during the long hot Indian summer days. It is traditionally a simple blend of yogurt, water, sugar (or salt), herbs and spices, and can be served along with food or had alone. Cumin, cardamom, turmeric and ginger are common spices used, while mint, mango, strawberries and other fruit pulp may also be blended in to add subtle sweetness to the otherwise tart drink.
My lassi recipe is a less sweet and slightly savory version than many of the lassis you might see on menus at Indian restaurants across the US. It has a savory flavor from the ginger and turmeric*, but is lightly sweetened by pineapple, mango and a dash of vanilla. I opted to use coconut milk here, as it imparts a tropical flavor, but water would be just as good a substitution. Ice cubes help to thicken the beverage up and keep it chilled.
Turmeric, when traditionally used in lassi recipes, is believed to help relieve stomach ailments in India and other Asian countries. Science is aiming to back up this claim: there have been some clinical trials that suggest this homeopathic remedy can improve digestion and reduce relapse of ulcerative colitis flares (1), among other pro-inflammatory diseases.
I hope you enjoy this lassi recipe, which has no added sugars and is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fiber!
*Ginger and turmeric may interfere with anticoagulants, such as warfarin, and increase risk of bleeding. Please discuss with your dietitian or doctor before using herbal supplements for any potential drug interactions.
Pineapple & Mango Lassi
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pineapple
½ cup mango
½ cup coconut milk
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric
dash of vanilla
6 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve.
(1) Thavorn K, Mamdani MM, Straus SE. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.Systematic Reviews. 2014;3:71. doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-71.