Pineapple & Mango Lassi

Lassi merchant in India

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

Serves 2
5 min  

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.


This week we have a Tropical Green Antioxidant Blast Smoothie. Greek Yogurt provides most of the protein in this smoothie, which packs 18 grams per serving. There is tons of fiber from fresh fruit and spinach, as well as chia seeds, which help reduce hunger. Chia is also high in calcium, phosphorus, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and increase brain function. Ginger and turmeric* have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ward off chronic diseases such as cancer, and heart disease, and can reduce symptoms of arthritis. Everything in this tropical green smoothie can start your day with a mega-dose of nutrition!

*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. 

Tropical Green Antioxidant Smoothie

Serves 1

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup baby spinach
½ cup banana slices (approximately ½ medium banana)
½ cup pineapple chunks
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric 

Blend all ingredients together in a blender and serve


I will always strive to achieve the goal of leisurely mornings before work. I would love nothing more than to wake up early enough to get a full workout in and read the newspaper. I truly believe that someday it will happen! But until then I will just have to do the best with what I can. Maybe I should start with not hitting snooze! :-P It has also been helpful to use a breakfast smoothie to help me speed up my morning routine. I found dozens of great recipes online, but what works best for me is a simple formula to mix things up.

Liquid Base + Protein + Fruit/Vegetable + Spices/Extras + Ice

My breakfast smoothie is a complete meal. It’s the ultimate “fast food” because it can be whipped up in an instant. I love a green veggie boost in my smoothie to add fiber and nutrients without a lot of additional calories. Frozen fruits are the easiest, as they are usually pre-cut and you can have a variety of them in your freezer ready to use. I always make sure to have a source of protein in my smoothies to keep me full throughout the morning. Protein powders are available everywhere these days in a variety of flavors. I use the Whole Foods 365 Everyday brand vanilla whey protein or Vega One French Vanilla. It’s fun to experiment with the extra spices and add-ins to the smoothie to really create a unique flavor. A dash of cinnamon or ginger goes a long way, and flax meal or chia seeds add healthy fats, fiber and make for a thicker textured smoothie.

When making a smoothie it’s important to remember that it is very easy for calories to add up when adding in multiple servings of fruit, nuts, seeds and sweeteners, and also from the liquid you choose to start with. If you are interested in controlling your weight consider omitting sweeteners, limit the amount of extras you use and stick with one ½ cup serving of fruit to blend in. A good protein powder will become handy if trying to control hunger and calories, as they usually are found in a variety of flavors, not just vanilla and chocolate, that can make a tasty shake without all the added ingredients. And remember fruit juice has a lot of natural sugars, so diluting juice with water will cut the calories while preserving the flavor of the juice. But feel free to use all the spices, herbs and greens your heart desires to make a deliciously filling and lower calorie breakfast smoothie!

Here are some of my favorite ingredients to use in the healthy smoothie formula: 

Liquid base (1 cup):
Skim milk
Unsweetened dairy-free milks (soy, almond, coconut, rice)
Fruit juice
Coconut water
Green tea (room temperature or iced)

Protein options:
Whey protein powder (1 or 2 scoops)
Plain Greek yogurt or kefir (1 cup)
Nut butter, peanut butter or PB2 (2 tbsp)

Fruits (½-1 cup):  
Frozen or fresh berries

Vegetables (generous handful):
Baby spinach

Chia seeds
Flax meal
Cocoa powder
Maple syrup
Matcha green tea powder

This month I will be mixing up different smoothies every week, so check back for the latest recipe every Sunday!