Homemade Protein Shake – Without Protein Powder

Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

There are many different types of protein powders on the market. They vary in price, ingredients, and quality. This homemade protein shake is a great plant-powered option if you want to save money or avoid unhealthy additives found in store-bought protein powders. It’s made with whole foods, is dairy-free (100 percent vegan!) and provides 29 g protein per serving.

a glass jar of homemade protein shake that's pink in colour and topped with hemp hearts with a pink polka dotted straw inside.

First, I must confess that this vegan protein shake tastes incredible. Without question, it has to be my all-time favourite healthy post-workout smoothie because it’s jam-packed with nutrients that go above and beyond what you’d find in a typical protein powder. Bonus: It also makes use of items that you probably already have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator.

Looking for more vegan shakes?

Pumpkin chocolate smoothie is my go-to breakfast smoothie. And if you’re searching for something packed with leafy greens that also tastes amazing, my healthy green smoothie is always a hit. I’m a sucker for anything tropical, and this pineapple mango smoothie makes me drool every single time!

I’ve always had a hard time tolerating protein shakes made with protein powders because they’re either clumpy, chalk-like or give me a tummy ache. I’ve tried many over the years, and they’ve been too pricey or have ingredients that I don’t want to consume (artificial sweeteners, flavours).

The nice thing about this protein shake is that it’s quick and easy to prepare, and you’ll enjoy its rich, delicious flavour. It’s also perfect as an on-the-go protein smoothie after a workout.

It would be fair to say that I’m a firm believer in making homemade protein shakes rather than relying on store-bought ones.

Because this recipe is vegan and contains no dairy products whatsoever, it’s perfect for those who have lactose sensitivities or allergies and those looking to include more plant-based proteins into their diet.

How do you make a protein shake without protein powder?

Making a protein shake at home without using protein powder is rather simple. You’ll notice that I’ve been careful in selecting protein sources that are vegan and complement one another to create the best protein smoothie.

If you’re looking for a protein shake for muscle building, this fits the bill!

graphic showing ingredients needed to make homemade protein shake with accompanying labels

Ingredients:

  • Soy milk: because it has one of the highest amounts of protein. Opt for the unsweetened version.
  • Hemp hearts: provide an abundance of nutrition; they’re a source of healthy omega fatty acids and are rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. They also add to the creamy texture without the need for dairy milk or yogurt.
  • Peanut butter: for flavour and healthy fats. Make sure to choose natural peanut butter without any added sugars or oils.
  • Cooked quinoa: for its unique nuttiness. I don’t blend it in with the rest of the ingredients because it gives the protein shake texture and character. The cooked quinoa is simply stirred in towards the end.
  • Banana: the ripest you can find because it adds all the natural sweetness. If you have frozen bananas on hand, they’ll also work well. A medium-sized banana is ideal!
  • Strawberries: for a delicious antioxidant boost. I opted for frozen strawberries, but fresh fruit will also work well – whichever you have on hand. Feel free to increase if you prefer a more berry-centric taste.

Instructions:

images showing how to make a homemade protein shake in a blender using wholesome ingredients
  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients except cooked quinoa. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds before turning up to high speed until smooth and creamy – about one minute total time spent blending should do it! (Images 1-6)
  2. Spoon cooked quinoa into a large glass, add the smoothie and stir well. Serve immediately (Images 7-10)!

Homemade protein shake

How to make the perfect quinoa?

  1. Quinoa should be washed in at least two changes of water. Drain and transfer ½ cup of uncooked quinoa to a small pot.
  2. Add ⅔ cup water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 8 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Switch off the heat source and allow the quinoa to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  4. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tips and substitutions:

  • Use water or another non-dairy milk. If you’re looking for a thicker shake, use coconut milk or another high-fat non-dairy milk.
  • Add fresh or frozen fruit. Fresh fruits like banana, strawberry, and blueberry are perfect for protein shakes.
  • A high-quality blender or food processor will give your shake a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Add ice cubes if you want a cold shake.
  • If you’re not a fan of hemp hearts, try chia seeds or walnuts. Besides peanut butter, almond butter or another type of nut butter also work well.
  • You can also use vanilla yogurt in place of peanut butter if you want a creamier texture.
  • If you have a nut allergy, sunflower seed butter is an excellent alternative that goes well with the strawberry flavour.
  • Omit quinoa and use rolled oats instead. They’ll also help thicken up the protein shake without adding too much sweetness!
  • You can also top your banana protein shake with ground flax/chia seeds or hemp hearts for an extra boost. Coconut flakes and fresh berries add a hint of sweetness.
  • If you want to reproduce your favourite vanilla protein powder taste profile, add a dash of vanilla. It will also bring additional natural sweetness!
  • Add unsweetened cocoa powder to create a different version of this protein shake recipe. The chocolate deliciousness makes it feel like you’re eating dessert!
birds eye view of homemade protein shake topped with hemp hearts and pink in colour, with a pink straw inside the jar.

Nutrition facts per serving size

One serving of this protein shake is:

  • A rich source of high quality protein
  • An excellent source of fibre
  • An excellent source of vitamin A
  • An excellent source of iron
  • An excellent source of vitamin C
  • An excellent source of calcium
  • An excellent source of potassium
  • Low in sodium
  • Dairy free and vegan
  • Gluten free

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet

Protein nutrition facts of this homemade protein shake

Here’s how much protein one serving will provide:

  • 1 cup soy milk: 7 g protein
  • 3 tbsp hemp hearts: 10 g protein
  • 2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter: 8 g protein
  • ¼ cup quinoa: 2 g protein
  • 1 medium banana: 1 g protein
  • ½ cup strawberries: 0.5 g protein

Total protein content: 28.5 g (rounded up to 29 g)

Perspective shot of homemade protein shake on a wooden board with a pink polka dotted straw inside the jar

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this shake ahead of time and store it in the fridge?

You can definitely make this shake ahead of time and store it in the fridge. However, the quinoa will start to absorb some of the moisture from the other ingredients, and it’ll end up being a little too thick. If you do make it ahead of time, I would suggest storing everything except the cooked quinoa and adding that in when you’re ready to drink your protein shake.

Is this shake gluten free?

This protein shake is gluten free. However, please check the ingredients of your chosen peanut butter and soy milk to ensure they are both gluten free. If not, you can easily swap them out for a different type of nut butter or non-dairy milk that works well with your dietary requirements.

Can I make this shake without quinoa?

You can definitely omit the cooked quinoa from this recipe and use rolled oats instead. Oats work wonderfully in place of cooked quinoa, but you will lose out on some protein content and that lovely nutty texture. You’ll have to play around with quantities to achieve your desired consistency.

What’s the best way to store this shake?

Ideally, you’ll want to store your shake in an airtight container in the fridge. I like to use a mason jar or reusable bottle. This will help keep it fresh and delicious for a few days. If you’re not planning on drinking it all at once, I would suggest freezing the rest of the shake and defrosting it as you need.

This shake is a bit too thick. How can I make it less so?

If you find that your protein shake is a little too thick, just add water or more non-dairy milk until you reach the desired consistency! If you’re looking for an even thinner smoothie, try adding ice cubes to get the right thickness and chilliness.

a glass jar of homemade protein shake that's pink in colour and topped with hemp hearts with a pink polka dotted straw inside.

Are you trying to eat more protein? What are some of your favourite protein shake recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

If you try this vegan protein shake, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! I can’t wait to see your photos. 

Desi~liciously Yours,

Homemade Protein Shake – Without Protein Powder


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This homemade protein shake is a great plant-powered option if you want to save money or avoid unhealthy additives found in store-bought protein powders. It’s made with whole foods, is dairy-free (100 percent vegan!) and provides 29 g protein per serving.

Prep Time15 mins

Total Time15 mins

Course: Breakfast, Drinks

Cuisine American

Servings: 1 glass

a glass jar of homemade protein shake that's pink in colour and topped with hemp hearts with a pink polka dotted straw inside.

Instructions

  • In a blender, add all the ingredients except cooked quinoa. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds before turning up to high speed until smooth and creamy – about one minute total time spent blending should do it!

  • Spoon cooked quinoa into a large glass, add the smoothie and stir well. Serve immediately!

Notes

How to make the perfect quinoa?

  1. Quinoa should be washed in at least two changes of water. Drain and transfer ½ cup of uncooked quinoa to a small pot.
  2. Add ⅔ cup water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 8 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Switch off the heat source and allow the quinoa to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  4. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tips and substitutions:

  • Use water or another non-dairy milk. If you’re looking for a thicker shake, use coconut milk or another high-fat non-dairy milk.
  • Add fresh or frozen fruit. Fresh fruits like banana, strawberry, and blueberry are perfect for protein shakes.
  • A high-quality blender or food processor will give your shake a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Add ice cubes if you want a cold shake.
  • If you’re not a fan of hemp hearts, try chia seeds or walnuts. Besides peanut butter, almond butter or another type of nut butter also work well.
  • You can also use vanilla yogurt in place of peanut butter if you want a creamier texture.
  • If you have a nut allergy, sunflower seed butter is an excellent alternative that goes well with the strawberry flavour.
  • Omit quinoa and use rolled oats instead. They’ll also help thicken up the protein shake without adding too much sweetness!
  • You can also top your banana protein shake with ground flax/chia seeds or hemp hearts for an extra boost. Coconut flakes and fresh berries add a hint of sweetness.
  • If you want to reproduce your favourite vanilla protein powder taste profile, add a dash of vanilla. It will also bring additional natural sweetness!
  • Add unsweetened cocoa powder to create a different version of this protein shake recipe. The chocolate deliciousness makes it feel like you’re eating dessert!

Nutrition Facts

Homemade Protein Shake – Without Protein Powder

Amount Per Serving

Calories 658
Calories from Fat 333

% Daily Value*

Fat 37g57%

Saturated Fat 6g30%

Polyunsaturated Fat 8g

Monounsaturated Fat 9g

Sodium 270mg11%

Potassium 1503mg43%

Carbohydrates 58g19%

Fiber 10g40%

Sugar 28g31%

Protein 29g58%

Vitamin A 1014IU20%

Vitamin C 70mg85%

Calcium 389mg39%

Iron 7mg39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life – your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It’s okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.


Shahzadi Devje

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