Food Babe Family - Header

How To Make A Protein Shake Without Protein Powder!

Years ago, after I found out that my favorite protein powder was recalled for rat droppings (yuck!), I realized that I needed to be more careful and investigate my supplements – and that included protein powders. Many of the most popular protein powders on the market are filled with highly processed denatured proteins, unnecessary chemicals, preservatives, GMOs and other additives – and I’m here to tell you don’t need to waste your money buying them anymore. There is a much better option!


I created this quick video to show you how easy it is to make a delicious protein shake without any protein powder – just by using REAL food ingredients. It tastes so refreshing and is perfect to make ahead to have after a workout or for breakfast. I also share with you which types of protein powders I avoid at all costs, and why. 

Watch me make this here:

Where does the protein in this smoothie come from?

  • Hemp seeds: This is my favorite source of protein! It’s a more digestible protein than other sources of protein like meat and dairy, and better for the planet. 
  • Leafy greens: Depending on the types of greens you use, you can vary the amount of protein in this recipe. If you use kale, it’s got about 8 grams of protein in the 3 cups that go into this recipe. If you use spinach, you’ll get closer to 3 grams in those 3 cups. 
Food Babe's Papaya Pineapple Protein Smoothie
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 3 cups dark leafy greens
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen papaya
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • ½ lime squeezed
  1. Add the water and leafy greens to a blender and blend well
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, blend, and serve!
  3. Optional: Store in fridge up to 48 hours to consume later.
**Please use all organic ingredients if possible**


These are the supplies I used in this video:

If you have any additional burning questions about papayas – like how to find non-GMO papayas and what to do with the seeds, I answer it all in this post.

This is just a sneak peak into the types of exclusive videos and recipes that you’ll get if you join the Food Babe Membership Program

I include smoothie recipes like this as a regular part of this program because it’s one of the best ways to get greens in your diet, provide your body a rich source of chlorophyll on a daily basis, and ultimately is one of the key actions you can take to keep your body in an alkaline state to avoid disease. 

When you join, you’ll get hundreds of pages of my tested tricks and tips to making healthy eating mindless, and a monthly meal plan full of Food Babe approved recipes and guidelines. You’ll also get exclusive how-to videos and access to live group check-ins with me, where you can ask me anything.

If you know someone who could upgrade their protein, please share this recipe with them. Who knows, maybe they’ll make you one too!




Food Babe Family - Book
Food Babe Grocery Guide

Sign Up For Updates

And Get A FREE Healthy Grocery Guide Sent To You Now!

Find out what to buy and where at the top grocery stores near you

Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

78 responses to “How To Make A Protein Shake Without Protein Powder!

  1. Hi! What is your suggestion for a non fruity shake? I always feel really funny after drinking fruit smoothies. Right now my smoothie consists of milk (either raw milk or cashew or almond/coconut milk) with some kind of homemade nut butter, cacao, flax, and a half of a banana. (Oh and a tsp of instant organic coffee.) What would you add or sub for more protein?

      1. I use Orgain Organic Protein which can be bought at Costco and the Vitamin Shoppe. I feel it is one of the best proteins out there.

  2. Thanks for this! I hate protein powders for so many reasons so I appreciate this alternative.

    I have been wondering if you could do a piece on Beachbody’s Shakeology! They claim to sustainably source only the best ingredients and blah blah blah but of course I would love for you to take a look at the package and let us know your thoughts!

  3. Thanks for this recipe. I have long been avoiding protein powders for similar reasons.

    I was wondering if you would ever do an investigation of Beachbody’s Shakeology. They claim to source their whole foods responsibly and claim it is the “healthiest meal of the day” but I’d love for you to have a look at the ingredients and let us know what you think!

  4. Looks good, but from how I calculated this out – it seems like this smoothie has about 25 grams of sugar (that seems like a lot to drink) as well as about 15 grams of fat (approximately). Maybe reduce the fruit portions to cut down on the sugar?

    1. I agree. I’m not worried about the fat but there is way too much fructose in there, so you’ll probably feed the candida (overgrowth anyone?) and some other bad bacteria. Besides, there are some awesome protein powders out there without ANY bad ingredients or garbage, that are organic, gluten-free, raw etc, and they’re nutritious without ANY sugar at all.

      1. What protein powders are healthy?
        I cannot consume ones made sole with soy, or pea or beans, and most with a mix of veggies and fruits taste like sawdust.
        I have found one brand that is tolerable, except it is green in color, which grosses me out. VEGA, the Vanilla Chai flavor is tasty, if I add a little liquid yogurt, more cinnamon, and a touch of stevia to it. It also doesn’t separate as badly as some of the other drinks.

  5. Although this may have 18 grams of protein it has a VERY high amount of fat. Yes pumpkin seeds are a healthy fat but even healthy things need to be consumed in moderation. The registered dietician I worked with taught me a rounded teaspoon is a healthy serving of seeds at a meal for the fats category. At 4 tablespoons of seeds this recipe has an incredibly large amount!

    1. I would like to know the exact nutritional value to this protein shake. Realistically you are still getting more protein from a protein powder and probably lower fat content so you can still get your fats from other meals assuming people are watching their macros using a specific ratio. Can you please post the full nutritional facts to this shake?

      1. Sorry I meant to add that as a comment not to the reply. But I completely agree with you on this.

  6. I don’t add fruit to my smoothies because of my ketogenic diet which is virtually carb free except for some berries and non starchy vegetables.

  7. This smoothie sounds like a winning combo. Someone I have known for years, wanted to bulk up a little and used a protein powder recommended by a gym, and got intestinal infections to the point of near death. That has been around 5-6 years, and his health has never been right. I already Love and utilize the ingredients in your recipe, Vani, so now I’ll put them all together. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
    And wear what you want to wear. Our old, worn in clothes are comfortable and comforting. Right?
    May You Be Blessed,

  8. recipe sounds delicious. I would though like to mention though that the protein in hemp seeds while high in protein, do not have the digestibility and therefore bioavailability of either soy as a vegan choice, or Whey protein. So this recipe may yield 18 grams of protein, not all 18 grams can be used by the human body.
    Interested in protein, look up protein digestibility corrected amino acid scores.

  9. I like the idea of using the seeds for protein but I do very low card/ keto so the papaya & pineapple are out. Not sure if there would be a way t o make a palatable low carb version?

  10. This shake sounds delicious. I haven’t heard anything about the use of moringa. It is an excellent source of protein and vitamins, and soooo easy to grow in tour backyard.

    1. Yes, I use a Moringa based protein shake. Also has Whey from grass fed cows. All great ingredients and all bio available!! Super easy, delicious and has 20 grams of protein with low sugar.

    2. YES Moringa based Protein. I like the Vanilla Bean. Whey protein from grass-fed cows.

  11. This shake sounds delicious. I haven’t heard anything about the use of moringa. It is an excellent source of protein and vitamins, and soooo easy to grow in tour backyard.t

    1. I’d say no because of the high oxylate acid content. I always wilt my kale and it’s also so much tastier and digestible. There is a lot of valuable research about that. Kale, spinach and other greens need to be slightly cooked for full digestive availability.

  12. Hi…this looks awesome but can you tell me the nutritional info for it…mainly the macros, the fat, protein and carbs info? Thank you!

    1. 62% of calories from carbohydrates (70g) including 20g sugar
      22% of calories from fat (11g)
      16% of calories from protein (18g)

  13. Hi, I’m with the others that want to know if Beachbody’s Shakeology is really as healthy as they claim it to be! Please do a future post on that. Thank you, Vani!

  14. 62% of calories from carbohydrates (70g) including 20g sugar
    22% of calories from fat (11g)
    16% of calories from protein (18g)

    hard to call this a protein shake

  15. Hi Vani,
    I’m a busy Mom of 3 little boys. I’m a huge fan of yours and appreciate your food wisdom tremendously!!! Question, for breakfast I’m on the run and make myself a quick shake. I use the Isagenix products which were recommended by a friend. Are these doing more harm than good? Please help as I’ve tried to research but don’t know what all the ingredients really mean. I’m sure you know off the top of your head!!! Thanks in advance!!

  16. What’s with the music. We are here to watch you make a protein smoothie not listen to your music. When you give a live lecture, are you playing music in the background? Why do it on a video. Its so distracting. Also, not everyone has your taste for the same music. I stopped watching the video and just went straight to the recipe.

    1. I’ve heard worse. Try music with a heavy beat. But it is true that we don’t necessarily agree with the music choices of people’s videos. At least this isn’t loud. But even soft can be annoying.

  17. Sorry, no hemp seeds for me. I want nothing to do with them. People will grow hemp seeds so they can get away with growing marijuana. And I am allergic to marijuana smoke. It gives me a splitting headache if I get just the tiniest whiff. Think me being in an enclosed apartment in the dead of winter, with people smoking in an adjacent apartment, with no shared ducting. I am really distressed at people using these so much, because it only aggravates the potential that I will be confined to my own home because people are smoking marijuana everywhere outside in public, and I do NOT want to share the road with people under the influence. Marijuana is NASTY STUFF, as my personal experience proved to me quite well. We also adopted a baby boy whose biological mother apparently used marijuana during pregnancy. He suffered permanent brain damage. Given a choice, I’ll take my chances with whey powder. Oh, and by the way, I refuse to travel to any state that has legalized recreational marijuana use.

    1. Actually, the hemp seeds that you buy in the grocery store come from a plant that is related to, but quite different from the marijuana plant. The marijuana plant is very high in cannibanoids (20%) and grows low to the ground, whereas the hemp plant has almost no cannibanoids (1%) and grows quite tall. So buying and eating hemp seeds in no way supports the drug market. They are actually two different plants!

      1. As far as I know, it’s the same species. It may be a different variety, but as long as it’s the same species, I’m not going near it. I don’t want 1% cannabinoids. I have seen photos of the marijuana plant, and it grows upright. The fact remains, I am allergic to the species.

    2. I’m in Australia so I’m not sure if it’s the same-I assume so- hemp seeds allowed in this country have been ‘treated’ so they can’t grow into full plants. I guess it’d be good to find out what the treatment is and how it works. Recipe looks fantastic but I’d have to check hemp seeds more. Also compare them to flaxseed, LSA and chia seeds.

      1. If I were you, I’d go with chia seeds. They’re fantastic, very, very nutritious, and totally safe.

  18. Thank you for the fabulous recipe. I love real food smoothies and make them every single day for me and my boys. I am also not a fan of protein powders. Never have been. I did try them once because clients kept asking me which protein powder was good. I just kept saying just eat real food, but so many people love protein powders. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue with them. Just not for me. But anything with real food in it that makes me feel good im down to eat! So many people worry about how much fat, carbs, etc but if you just listen to your body, connect with it and stop worrying about all that and just eat real food your body will thank you for it. I love eating lots of fruit and veggies raw, cooked I love them all! And am super healthy and feel great! Thank you for being a light and helping many on this journey. Hugs.

  19. Thank you for the latest smoothie recipe! This protien smoothie looks really amazing and I can’t wait to make and share with my friends. You mentioned making it the night before, to drink the following morning…will it lose some of it’s nutritional value if stored in the refrigerator over night? This would be really helpful if I could prepare my smoothies the night before, so I don’t miss out, if I happen to be running late the next morning. Thanks again and eager to hear from you.

  20. I always like to get new ideas for smoothies. I will have to try the method of blending the greens first. One thing I do with lemons or limes is throw the whole half into the blender rather than just squeeze out the juice. A powerful blender such as the Vitamix that you used will break it down well.

  21. This is just what I need! I hate using plant proteins because they never taste good.

    I loved how you washed your hands. I have seen Martha Stewart prep a raw chicken and after touching the raw chicken, she went on to touch everything else without washing her hands! I was so grossed out!

  22. Add a egg for more protein and it will make all the nutrition from the other ingredients more absorb-able. Also I like to put a tablespoon of resistant starch (unmodified potato starch) to mine as a prebiotic.

  23. I have had bariatric surgery, and must consume high levels of pure proteins, low fat, low carbs, and low fiber. While fiber is great for digestion, it is not good for bariatric patients because we cannot process it properly. I have gone the world around in trying to find healthy protein powders for the 1-2 meal suppliments. Soy protein powder tastes terrible and my stomach hates it. Kale gives me the gripes, and I cannot consume so much fruit in one meal-diabetes!
    Any thoughts on the ISO PURE and NECTAR proteins. I have also tried the VEGA Nutritional shake. I am trying to find good tasting, digestible, low calorie, low fat but high protein shakes, that are also healthy vegan options. I am limited to how much I can drink at a time too, since I have a tiny pouch for a stomach. I often use a little liquid yogurt for the creaminess and the probiotics, and only use natural plain nonfat yogurt and milk.
    Also I have tried the coconut oil to cook with and find even a tablespoon of a meal cooked in it gives me a pain in the gut and sometimes it makes me yack. I am allergic to all olive oils, and I really am disgusted about how much people use it in everything! When I dine out, you wouldn’t believe how a restaurant uses olive oil. I often go away without eating or the chef must create something completely different, and it usually is blah and yuck. I am a better chef than that!
    I have followed your site and believe in most of what you teach. You have a grip on the modern food industry, and I’m glad you are vigilant to make us a healthier nation. Thanks Vani.

    1. As as far as healthy protein powders you can do your research and you’ll see that there are a few that stand out. Dr. Mercola and SunWarrior are my fave. Vega is not bad either but I prefer the above mentioned.

  24. do you have any suggestions on using non-cruciferous greens? I just learned that for thyroid conditions they are not good to eat raw. They interfere with. The bodies ability to convert the thyroid hormone. What other greens have a good protein count?

  25. Hi Food Babe! Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks delicious and iI definitely want to give it a try. Reading the comments showed me that it is certainly not for everyone. Yes there is more sugar from the fruit but it is processed differently than our body processes refined table sugar. Theres no doubt that this is great for digestion! (: I think it’s super important to know our bodies. How do they react to carbs, sugar etc. Thank you for everything you do!

  26. Excellent video and tips for those that take natural living as a way of life. For my taste, I do prefer to use yellow and green fruits. Well presented tips and I hope people pay attention and try them out.

  27. Best wishes
    I am Rajendhiran-from Tamil Nadu state, India.
    Not comment-My own experience: My wife was affected by some neuro :problem.for the past 10 yrs.
    All doctors pointed that, such problem will not be cured. But in Indian Traditional method there is a way. By hearing, for the past one year, myself stopped all tablets and medicines and feeding only food made from traditional millets which contain more fiber and so on. Some minute improvement is noticed. We hope she will will cure in shortly.
    For your information pl.

  28. Hello, This sounds yummy. I would love to make it as I’m a skinny girl & its gonna provide fats as well. But the issue is where i reside in India, it is quite difficult to get Kale. What can be the substitute for it ? Spinach? Does the amount of protein & fat will change ? And does it gonna help in weight gain ? Waiting for some guidance!

    1. Hi thanks for the information, is it compulsory to use papaya in this protein shake if i have a proble. With that what can i use against it

  29. I must say. I’m a little disappointed. With all the research you’ve done about the raw food community, I thought you’d end your article with the discovery that “getting enough protein” is just another bill of goods we’ve been sold. If the TRUTH be told, we can get all the protein we need from fruit and some green leafy vegetables. Our bodies are designed to ingest only a tiny amount of nuts and seeds.

    When you think about it, our ancestors had to collect them and actually remove the shells. In most cases this is a time consuming arduous task. It wasn’t very likely that our ancestors ate anywhere close to the amount of nuts and seeds your average vegan chows down on each day or each week in protein shakes or Superfoods. In fact too much protein damages your kidneys which means your body’s ability to eliminate toxic wastes from the eliminations of the hundred trillion cells in your body is compromised! (You know the way to tell if you are getting rid of those wastes is by seeing sediment in your urine. If your urine has no white sediment, you are not eliminating those cellular wastes.)

    Check out Dr. Robert Morse’s THE DETOX MIRACLE SOURCE BOOK or check out his YouTube channel. He’s a 40 year(hard core true blue) naturopathic doctor; has a doctorate in biochemistry; is a master herbalist and can spin circles around all of those you’ve interviewed to date. He’ll even debunk that nutritional “deficiencies” is THE cause of “diseases”. Rather he and earlier healers say it is due to the acid damage and eating mucus forming foods… and that getting rid of the acidic toxic build-up that clogs our immune system and causes inflammation is more important in restoring health– along with stopping the consumption of dairy, meat, complex carbohydrates, grains, legumes and cooked foods that creates the problem in the first place. In fact he’ll debunk that there is any such thing as “diseases” as they are all caused by the same thing. He actually makes health and recovery very easy to understand and his message is EXTREMELY empowering. Ask him what he thinks about Vitamin supplements. It isn’t what 99 percent of the holistic “experts” including most naturopaths will tell you . However it makes perfect sense.

  30. Wow people like to complain. Vani, I thought the video was great (including the music), it was fun and light-hearted! As far as the recipe goes, I am going to try it. If you people out there are watching your sugar or fat intake then use a recipe that suits you! This recipe is obviously for those who simply prefer to use real food ingredients. If you don’t like it, move on! Thanks Vani!

  31. Have you researched Syntrax Nectar whey protein? My trainer recommended this one but I didn’t see it mentioned in your reviews. Thank you.

  32. I love this video its always been hard for me to get my daily protein. What kind of blender did Vani use?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

food babe with grocery cart - footer image