Smoothie operator

Illustration by Jonathan Buck

A good smoothie is hard to come by—that is, one that doesn’t contain dairy and isn’t an icy, watered-down frown inducer. In a years-long quest for a satisfying smoothie, the Nutty Cocoa Monkey—which kind of tastes like liquified Snickers bars—from Whole Foods Market’s juice bar is finally the one that earns recommendation status. However, be sure to request swapping the whey-inclusive vanilla powder for dates when ordering to make it vegan. The V Word’s obsession, er, research, with the drink went into the test kitchen to replicate the recipe: 1 banana, 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other nondairy “milk”), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (or other nut butter), 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and 4 dates equals perfection. Then I realized the recipe is on Whole Food’s website under a less embarrassing name to say in public, “chocolate-almond banana smoothie.” Good news, though: I nailed the recipe!