monkeylada smoothie

February 18, 2014  |  Breakfast and Snacks
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A raw vegan smoothie inspired by the flavors of a pina colada with banana in it, also known as a monkeylada. monkeylada smoothie smoothie | #raw #vegan #gluten-free

I just got home from a week in the Cayman Islands. I ate so much seafood, I am almost sick of it. Almost. I forgot to pack my hairbrush, and I didn’t care. That’s how relaxed I was. I sat in the sun, crushed a scorpion with a coconut (true story), and I drank some goofy rum drinks. I also ate copious amounts of tropical fruit. We had island apples, guava, pineapple, papaya and bananas every day for breakfast. I wish I could share with you guys the way the perfumey smell of guava hit my nose, like a tropical wave, as I barefooted into the kitchen every morning. Yeah, it was rough. [I’ll try not to make you hate me even more by describing the infinity pool looking out to the aqua blue Caribbean Sea.]  Grand CaymanOops. 🙂

I don’t really expect you to feel sorry for me when I tell you that I am not super happy to be home. But it was sort of a shock to the system. I wanted to high tail it straight back to the beach before we even got home, with a cancelled connection and an unexpected late late late night rental car ride from Newark to Burlington and the 2 feet of snow between our car and the front porch. What has taken me more off kilter it is what the copious amounts of rum cocktails and conch fritters did to my healthy rhythm. I’m still feeling it. I have already gotten three good workouts in, and I am back to my usual diet, but my system still seems all out of whack.

The view from our balcony | Grand CaymanIt’s not that I am worried that I gained a bunch of weight or anything. [I know it takes 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound of fat, so I am not worried that I really did that much hard damage to the numbers on the scale… even still, I’m not planning to get on that for a few days… if ever.] But I just don’t like the way my system is running right now. I feel bloated, and like I may be fighting off the cold my 5-year old is rockin’. So my solution is simple. This smoothie.

Monkey Lada Smoothie ~ Like a pina colada with banana that is okay to drink for breakfast #raw #vegan #glutenfree

I laugh because I realize that it is sort of like a bit of hair of the dog. It is loaded with that yummy fresh tropical fruit, and it tastes just like a pool-side pina colada with banana in it (aka Monkeylada.) But it is a-okay to drink this for breakfast because it doesn’t have any alcohol, it’s totally raw vegan and gluten free.


Two unusual things about this recipe are first that I added in Coconut meat also known as coconut manna or coconut meat butter. This really gives the smoothie richness and strong coconut flavor. A little goes a long way, so 1 tablespoon is all you need for two servings. You can find it at the health food store with the coconut oil, or a lot of times it will be stocked with the peanut butters. It is thick like peanut butter, and it is great in vegan ice cream too. It is solid below 80 degrees (because some of the fats are saturated.)


The other curve ball ingredient is the cashews. For the base of the smoothie, you blend the cashews with the coconut water to make coconut cashew cream. I learned about making cashew cream from a vegan chef I had in culinary school. He taught us to use it in place of heavy cream in all sorts of recipes, including amazingly good vegan alfredo sauce. After that, I used it a lot when I was a personal chef for clients who couldn’t tolerate dairy. I have used it in recipes here on the blog like in this lamb with cashew curry sauce or an almond cream variation for this swiss chard tart with chevre and leeks. Recently I have been noticing recipes calling for the step of soaking the cashews first for four hours or overnight. I tried it out this time, and the texture was even better, and less grainy.


I am already starting to feel better. PS, I won’t judge if you do decide to try these monkeyladas out with a splash of rum and visualize that infinity pool some evening. That also cures what ails ‘ya:)

monkeylada smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup each

monkeylada smoothie

Raw, vegan and gluten-free smoothie recipe inspired by the flavors of a pina colada with banana in it, also known as a monkeylada.


  • ¼ cup raw cashews, refrigerated and soaked for four hours or overnight
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen if desired
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut meat butter, such as Nutiva Coconut Manna


  1. Drain and rinse cashews. Puree cashews and coconut water in a blender until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add banana, pineapple, ice, coconut meat butter and puree until smooth, 30 to 45 seconds.
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  1. Ok, I’m officially jealous now. You were out running around the Bahamas while the rest of us were shoveling snow. Glad you had fun! And I bet that scorpion never saw you coming…
    David recently posted…Oat Bran MuffinsMy Profile

    • Ha ha! Too true:) This has been quite the wintery winter here in the NE. But, it wasn’t my intention to make anyone jealous, I just thought it would seem out of left field if I suddenly shared such a tropical recipe without any explanation. lol! That scorpion didn’t see me coming, thank goodness, if it had been brandishing its tail I may not have been so brave;)
      katie recently posted…sweet potato cheddar soup with chipotleMy Profile

  2. Oh, Katie – this smoothie is beautiful, and the flavors sound rich and creamy and delicious, just my kinda drink. I love the idea of adding coconut meat butter to smoothies, and soaked cashews, and coconut water. I will definitely be trying that!
    Alanna recently posted…Smoked Cardamom Ice Cream with Salty Honey Caramel SwirlMy Profile


    I can be the jealous type, ya know?

    honestly Pina Coladas are my favorite vacation splurge,I can’t get enough!! so this “Monkeylada” is definitely right up my alley. Oh, and your family is beautiful 🙂 lovely post!
    Christine recently posted…Simple Sun-dried Tomato White Bean HummusMy Profile

  4. OMG, Christine, Lol! You crack me up! Thank you.
    katie recently posted…10 healthy valentines recipesMy Profile

  5. Love the looks of this smoothie recipe! Can’t wait to try it. I have been to the Cayman Islands several times. It’s one of my favorite places in the world!! So Jealous!! Glad you had a get away, so relaxing there.

  6. I am seriously going to be craving this all day! This going up on my Facebook page today.
    Cookin Canuck recently posted…Low-Fat Greek Chicken Salad Wrap RecipeMy Profile

  7. Really.. I loved it.. I will make smoothie for my kids.
    sara recently posted…How to Make a Good Milkshake at homeMy Profile

  8. It is not difficult to maintain your good health. After reading this blog, I am getting new ideas for a smoothie.
    Heather recently posted…How to Get Rid of Baby AcneMy Profile

  9. Great i loved it! definitely try in the next holiday.
    Celine recently posted…Comment on Newborn Rash by adminMy Profile

  10. Hi Katie,

    What’s the link to the “swiss chard tart with chevre and leeks” recipe mentioned in your post above, as both links point to the same Thai green curry marinated lamb.


    Stef recently posted…Pompoen curryMy Profile

      • Thank you Katie!

        Just to be 100% sure: you blend the cashews with (fresh?) coconutwater (since you mentioned Cayman Islands) and not with (canned?) coconutmilk?

        Reason I ask: once I have fresh coconutwater -and not having coconut meat butter available- it feels logical to just blend the fresh coconutmeat that comes with the fresh coconut as well 🙂
        Stef recently posted…Pompoen curryMy Profile

        • I think I understand your question. I made this stateside with health food store ingredients. So I used the coconut water that you buy in the refrigerated section with other drinks. Vita Coco is a popular one. And I used Nutivia Coconut Manna which is like the texture of peanut butter. I think you’re asking if you could substitute an actual fresh coconut (the water inside and the white flesh inside the hard brown shell) for these two ingredients. My guess is yes, but you’d have to play with the portion of the coconut and you’d need a Vitamix to make it smooth enough. The water from inside would be a 1:1 ratio. Please let me know if I have misunderstood what you mean.
          Katie recently posted…grilled vegetable antipasto platter with white bean puree and chevreMy Profile

          • Thanks Katie,

            You understood my question well 🙂

            I reside in Malaysia, so we actually have the fresh green coconuts you most likely have seen (or drank!) in the Caribbean. Its flesh is thin and can easily be scraped out with a spoon, as well as easily blended with a “simple” blender (all in all far less creamy than a blend from an old/brown coconut.)

            So yes, I now know what to do to make a monkeylada smoothie… now for the infinity pool part… 🙂
            Stef recently posted…Pompoensoep met kerrieMy Profile

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