How to make a Natural Protein Shake without Protein Powder (Paleo, Dairy Free, Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Grain Free)

Natural Protein Shake Recipe Card (Updated Blog Post Image)
Protein is something that everyone has an opinion on.  Do we make more of a fuss about it than we need to?  Depending on who you ask you’ll get a different opinion.  

We all have different bodies and different needs – but I believe if you eat a sensible whole foods diet then you should get enough protein.

When it comes to smoothies – however we like to chuck everything under the sun in them and use them as an excuse to stock up on everything we think we’re lacking.  

I think there is a danger in just throwing all sorts of powders into your smoothie as we sometimes forget what we have in there and might not make a link between how we are feeling and the ‘healthy’ smoothie we are drinking.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I believe in trying to do things as naturally as possible using food which is as close to it’s natural state as possible. How to make a natural protein shake without protein powder

For me that definitely means that protein powder is out.  There are several reasons why I don’t use protein powder:

  • It is a refined food.  The protein has been taken out of the food source which means it’s harder for the body to utilize
  • Proteins should be balanced with the fat and the carbs that they came from.  On it’s own it’s easy to throw the body out of balance
  • When we become dependent on powders and pills to sort out our nutrition it’s easy to forget that we should be getting most of our nutrients from our diets
  • If you take the fat out of the protein source – it won’t satisfy you and fill you up for as long

If you want to read more why you shouldn’t be eating protein powders – check out this, this, and this. If you are a vegan you do have to be more careful about getting your protein – but before you reach for the protein powder, did you know how good the simple pumpkin seed is for you?  

They are full of all kinds of nutritional goodies!  This natural protein shake contains 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds and you can see a complete breakdown of nutrients of that here.  

Check out the amino acids and other amazing stuff! And after reading all that you’re still determined to use protein powder – I would urge you to stick to this or this brand only. How to make a natural protein shake without protein powder So what are we to do if we don’t eat dairy (or eggs for that matter).  How do we make sure we still get enough protein in our smoothie to make it a complete meal and fill us up?

That’s why I created this natural protein shake for you.  It has got a whopping 25 grams of protein per shake.  This is more than your average scoop of protein powder! The great things about this natural high protein shake are:

  • It’s full of real food that is GREAT for your health
  • It doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals, preservatives or toxins
  • It can be made organic if you use organic ingredients
  • It is dairy free, egg free, vegan, gluten free, grain free, Paleo and free from lots of allergens with a nut free option
  • It tastes gorgeous
  • It is a full meal and will keep you going until lunch time
  • It makes a great post workout meal
  • You can substitute your favourite milk and favourite fruit

How to make a natural protein shake without protein powder If you are concerned that you aren’t getting enough protein you could always get your amino acids tested to see if you are low on anything.

How to make a Natural Protein Shake without Protein Powder

Usually my recipes serve 2 but this one SERVES 1.  For it to be a meal replacement you will probably need to drink most or all of this shake.  

It is high in calories but it’s about a third of your calories for an average woman which is the amount I’d recommend having for breakfast.  

If you scrimp on energy at breakfast time you’ll end up reaching for junk mid morning.  This smoothie will keep you going until lunch time. I believe the best way to lose weight/fat it to make sure you’re completely satisfied from healthy foods to stop yourself reaching for unhealthy foods.  

Once you balance your sugar levels and eat a healthy diet you’ll start to notice the fat shifting.

If you are struggling to know what to eat for every meal for weight loss and are in need of a detox you should have a look at my 7 Day Diet Plan for Weight Loss and Improved Health. Here is a break down of the nutrition in this natural protein shake: Natural Protein Smoothie Nutrition The 25 grams of protein in this smoothie is based on all the recommended ingredients including the spinach.  If you make substitutions your protein will be adjusted accordingly.

If you don’t want to use the spinach just take 2 grams of protein off the smoothie – so it would contain a total of 23 grams of protein. Popeye wasn’t strong for no reason! Eat your Spinach - it is a good source of protein in this natural protein smoothie


How to make a Natural Protein Shake without Protein Powder (Dairy Free, Paleo, Vegan, Raw)

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Number of servings: 1

How to make a Natural Protein Shake without Protein Powder (Dairy Free, Paleo, Vegan, Raw)

Natural high protein meal replacement smoothie


2 Cups Milk. Use your favourite milk. I use either Homemade Almond Milk or Homemade Coconut Milk
1 Banana or mango or peach
1 Peach or pear or mango
¼ Cup Dates (like this) or raisins or use your own healthy sweetener to taste
¼ cup of Pumpkin Seeds
¼ cup of Almonds or ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds or other seeds
1 Cup Spinach, tightly packed or 2 cups loosely packed (or any other mild greens)
OR if you run out of fresh greens, add 2 scoops of Amazing Green Powder for an extra healthy green boost. (like this)
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract or half a vanilla pod like this (adds amazing taste and contains no nasties - but only suitable for high speed blenders)
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon


Blend the ingredients in the following order:

1. Blend the dry ingredients and liquid first for a short time

2. Blend the greens next for a short time (if using)

3. Blend the fruit and the rest of the ingredients until smooth (or as smooth as your blender will allow. High speed blenders may need 2 minutes for a Green Thickie, less powerful blenders may need a lot more, sometimes 5-10 minutes)

More tips:

Blending this way allows the dry ingredients to be blended for longest, it means the greens will fit in your blender and your fruit gets less blending so it doesn’t become too hot.

- Add more water if required to thin it out.

- Substitute any of the ingredients for whatever you already have.

- If your smoothie is too warm, you can cool it down in the fridge or freeze some of your ingredients before blending. You can also replace half of the liquids with ice. Add the ice at the end. It is better to add frozen ingredients at the end to cool the smoothie down.

How much should I drink to replace a meal?

- This smoothie serves 1 so if you have higher calorie requirements you might need to make more.

Suitable for Special Diets:

- Gluten free

- Raw

- Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, wheat free, soya free (don’t use soya milk or tofu),

- Salt free (don't add salt)

- Nut free (replace nuts with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. This doesn't include coconuts)

More information about making the perfect Green Thickie

If you are new to Green Thickies and have more questions about making the perfect green thickie, please read this guide on How to make a Green Thickie

This is a vegan smoothie, but if you don’t mind consuming animal products then I suggest you add some raw milk, raw eggs and grass fed gelatin to your smoothie for a massive protein boost instead of the pumpkin seeds.

If you would like more high protein natural smoothies, you are going to love my book, 80 Green Thickies Recipes.  Check it out.


How do you get your protein? 

How to make a natural protein shake without protein powder

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  1. Good stuff as always. Chia is another good source of protein that I like.

  2. This smoothie sounds delicious, but for me the calories equal more than I usually eat for a meal and a snack combined. It’s also way high in carbs for the amount of protein (like more than two meals worth). I do usually use protein powder in my smoothies, but I like the idea of finding a way to do a smoothie with good protein amounts without the powder. You have inspired me to look for a way to do that while staying within the calorie/carb/protein/fat guidelines I follow.

    • Hi Susan, I’m guessing you would be eating animal products if you wanted to reduce your carbs and increase your protein without protein powder. Vegans do naturally end up eating a higher carb diet as most of their protein sources are also quite high in carbs. I’m glad I inspired you. If you drink raw cow’s milk I’ve heard that’s a good source of protein? I’m not sure if that would fit within your guidelines.

      • Katherine, cow’s milk is a definite source of protein, but finding raw milk where I live is probably impossible. I do eat animal products, and a lot of the reason I do is that I was a vegetarian for years, and then vegan for about a year, but my body needs more protein than one can readily get on a vegan diet, and as a result I was literally starving myself. To the point where I had a very vivid dream about steak, which I didn’t end up eating, but the dream told me that I needed more protein. I wish I could survive as a vegan, I sort of envy people who can, but I have learned the truth that everyone’s metabolism is unique, and mine does better with plenty of protein.

  3. I saw your post on Healthy 2day Wednesday. Yes, the calories are high, though I find if I eat a filling meal especially for breakfast, I don’t need a snack in the morning. I love finding a natural alternative to protein shakes.

    If you have time, I’d love for you to share your recipe at my Motivation Monday linky. We sadly do not have a lot of healthy recipes being shared despite asking for them.

  4. Great recipe! So much natural protein… and even though I get high quality protein powders I bet I’m throwing money away… ;<

    ps. thanks for sharing it at the Potluck Party…

  5. This is great! I don’t like using protein powders yet really want high protein drinks so this is a perfect recipe for me to try!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.

  6. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you’ll join us again this Thursday.

  7. What do you mean by a “sensible” whole foods diet?

  8. Amanda smith says:

    Hi looks great. I wouldn’t use mangos they are GMO. I will have to try this. I did at one time use protein powders now reading up on them I don’t. My breakfast usually consists of whole milk plain stoneyfield yogurt with my homemade coconut oil granola and a banana with peanut butter on it. I stay full for a good 3 hours.

  9. Can a low carb version of this shake recipe be made using stevia or other sugar substitute and lower carb ingredients?

  10. Ninety grams of carbs and 60 of those sugars! No thanks!

  11. I’ll leave out the Banana and Peach – way too much fructose for me. Mango and dates are enough. I’d also pre-soak those pumpkin seeds overnight to remove the phytates and enzyme inhibitors. Love green smoothies!

  12. I’d buy lots of good gourmet paleo foods on amazon plus a new food processor, glass storage containers and LOTS of ingredients! Can’t wait!

  13. I would use the money to buy pots and pans. I don’t have any. :(

  14. Just want to point out that unless using dairy milk, or some type of protein-fortified dairy-free alternatives, the protein content of this recipe will be WAY less than the 25 g promised, even with the spinach. Perhaps some gelatin would be a good addition to get that value up if not using dairy.

    • Hi Melissa

      I checked the Protein levels using and that’s what it said.

      • using what type of non-dairy milk?
        According to the website you provided (and’s MyPlate which is the site I used to check in the first place), standard unsweetened almond milk only has 1 g protein per cup so 2 cups yields only 2 g protein.
        I do have to apologize, once I calculated the whole smoothie (including all the fruit), it did get much closer to the 25g protein promised (23.9g). But for some reason shows the protein value of pumpin seeds as 9.7g for the 1/4 c indicated in your recipe. MyPlate only rates them as 8g protein for the same serving size. Weird. Either way it turns out to be far too low of a protein:carb ratio for me, but I hope others will enjoy this recipe. It sounds delicious.

  15. I’m sensitive to pumpkin seeds, can I use a combination of sunflower and chia seeds and still have enough protein?

  16. How are you suppose to balence blood sugar levels with a drink that has 95 carbs.. thats just another form of sugar right? I think something low carb no sugar is the way to go.

    • We are all different. I’ve been able to balance my blood sugar levels fine by just eating this kind of food. I feel good with fruit and don’t get blood sugar level swings when I avoid refined sugar. I feel totally different eating fruit compared to eating refined sugar.

  17. If I had that many carbs, on my low carb diet, I would have major sugar issues. I am limited to 30 carbs a day. I am limited to berries for fruit. My sugar would spike like crazy. I wish there was a shake for us low carbers. I kept from diabetes for 35 years, by my carb limitations, but my sugar levels have been sneaking up and I love my shakes. Any suggestions?

  18. Thank you soooo much for posting this! I am thrilled to see a high protein smoothie recipe without the icky powder!!! :)

  19. 25 grams of protein in a 750 calorie smoothie or meal of any kind is not HIGH protein. A minimum of 14, and more accurately 21grams of protein, in a 300 calorie smoothie is high protein. This can be considered a drink that CONTAINS protein but not one that is HIGH in protein. To translate, a 750 calorie high protein smoothie would contain 35 to 52 grams of protein.

  20. WOW! That is a lot of calories for very little protein. I use gelatin to get extra protein in, though I guess if you’re vegan that won’t work. But if you’re just trying to avoid protein powders and all their extra ingredients, gelatin is the way to go.

  21. Just wondering if the recipe calls for raw or roasted pumpkin seeds.

  22. Hi, just wondering if anyone has heard about this one:

    would it be a good replacement for protein powder?

  23. Thank you for the wonderful Smoothie! I agree the carb count to protein ratio is way too high for me. I would substitute Great Lakes Gelatin (Beef) in the Green Container, Pure Kosher Protein, Cold water soluble that I get on Amazon. It has no carbs, no taste, and 11 grams protein per 2 rounded tablespoons and I would cut back on the carbs in there and go with some kind of berries. This stuff is great for joint health also and skin. =)
    ps..would probably add my chia seeds too.

  24. This is what I’m referring to: “great lakes gelatin collagen…”
    Product Details
    Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrolysate, Beef, Kosher, 16 oz, 3-Pack
    $58.47 ($1.22/Ounce)
    ( I buy it in the 3 pack as it makes it cheaper)

  25. Even though this is healthy there is even healther alter to this as this has way to many carbs in it the carbs alone would have me in a carb coma alone let alone all the sugars even though there natural sugars still not good to have that many sugars and carbs all in one time even whey protein would be better then this

  26. This is a great vegetarian protein smoothie and wonderful way to break up the usual protein powder smoothies.

    Agreed that most of your nutrients should be coming from your regular diet through clean eating, but this is an awesome way to change up breakfast every once in a while (you do get bored of eggs eggs eggs :)


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