This chocolate banana protein shake is a quick, easy and delicious way to get an extra boost of protein in your day! It can easily be made gluten-free, vegan and paleo.
But I don’t love the sugar crash. Even though I rarely add sweeteners to my smoothies, the fruit is enough to bring me down later.
This chocolate protein shake does have a banana in it but the added protein from the protein powder and the little bit of fat from the peanut butter help make it more balanced.
If you’re thinking, “Protein powder?! Eww!” – hold up! I’ve always been a little leery of protein powders. A lot of them are just plain nasty and have terrible ingredients.
This chocolate protein powder with chia and probiotics is the protein powder I used in this shake and in this Protein Nutella Hot Chocolate. I’ve only used it in smoothies, shakes and no-bake treats so far. But so far, so good.
There’s no grittiness or funky taste in this shake. There’s a little aftertaste from the monkfruit sweetener (which I usually quite dislike!) in the protein powder but in combination with all the other stuff in this shake, it’s not that noticeable.
I read that it’s recommended that you only get 25-50 grams of protein from powder every day. The rest should come from whole foods. In this chocolate banana protein shake, 20 grams of protein come from the powder and 22 grams come from the other ingredients (if you use all of the optional ingredients!).
If 42 grams of protein in one shake sounds like too much for you, you can halve the protein powder.
So the base recipe is only 3 ingredients – banana, milk and protein powder. You can drink it that way but it’s thin and you can definitely taste the protein powder.
The quickest way to improve the taste is to add some nut butter + salt. If you use unsalted nut / seed butter, it feels flat. Adding salt makes the flavors pop.
The next best way to mask the protein powder flavor is to add cocoa powder. If you add cocoa powder, you’ll probably also want to add some sweetener.
You don’t need much. 1-2 teaspoons is enough (at least it was for me).
And finally, if you want to have this smoothie keep you full for longer, oatmeal is a great addition. You can use leftover cooked oatmeal or uncooked quick oats.
It makes this protein shake nice and thick, adds some fiber and all the other benefits that come with oats. Make sure to use gluten-free oats, if needed (read are oats gluten-free if you need more info about that!).
If you omit the oats and use cashew butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter, you’ve got yourself a paleo protein shake! But of course, make sure that your protein powder is paleo.
As the recipe is written with almond milk, the recipe is also vegan (if your protein powder is vegan). This homemade Vanilla Maple Almond Milk would also be great in it. You can of course use dairy milk (or whatever milk you’d like).
Questions about this chocolate banana protein shake?
Do I have to use the banana?
If you omit it, you’d have to add a lot of sweetener in its place. It also adds texture to the smoothie. Avocado would be a great sub but as I said, you’d have to add quite a bit of sweetener.
What can I use instead of peanut butter?
Any nut butter or seed butter!
Do I have to use cocoa powder? Can I use a different type of powder?
I like to add a little as it helps cover up the taste of the protein powder. You can use regular natural cocoa powder like Hershey’s, Dutch-process, cacao powder… whatever you want. If you omit it, you probably won’t need the optional sweetener.
Do I have to use the oats?
Nope. The oats add texture, fiber and make the shake more filling but they’re optional.
Do I have to use the protein powder?
Nope! Excluding the protein powder (and if using all the optional ingredients), this chocolate protein shake has 22 grams of protein, which is still pretty decent. With the powder, it has 42 grams of protein.
What other sweetener can I use? Can I omit it?
Use any sweetener at all. You can omit it if you don’t want it sweet. If your protein powder is very sweet, you might not need it.
Chocolate Banana Protein Shake (vegan, gluten-free)
- 1 large (140 grams peeled) cold banana
- 1/2-1 cup (120-240 ml) unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk you want) - I use 1/2 cup for the quick oats version or no oat version and more like 1 cup for the cooked oatmeal version
- 1/4 cup (45 grams) chocolate protein powder (make sure it's vegan / paleo / gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 tablespoon (16 grams) natural peanut butter or another nut / seed butter (use sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
- 1 tablespoon (7 grams) cocoa powder
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup cooked and chilled oatmeal or 1/4 cup (23 grams) quick oats (make sure to use gluten-free oats for a GF version)
- 1-2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup for vegan
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt (if using unsalted nut butter, you might need more than a pinch)
- Add everything to a blender and blend on high until totally smooth. Serve cold (it tastes terrible when warm!).