I didn't include this shake in my list of favorite recipes, since it's not a truly wholesome meal that I encourage everyone to make. But there's a reason why shakes and powders like Soylent or Huel (or worse, Muscle Milk) are so popular: The convenience of a meal replacement shake can solve problems. I use them semi-regularly, often in the evening, if I've run out of time to cook and would be skipping a meal or ordering restaurant food otherwise. Sometimes, when my energy is sapped by my depression, a meal shake provides some relief by eliminating a stressor. You can also use shakes for a ready-to-go breakfast or during travel, helping you avoid the nearest drive-thru or junk food.
My requirement for any meal replacement food is to have no added sugar and as few processed or artificial ingredients as possible. Major bonus points if the ingredients are shelf-stable and can be purchased cheaply. This recipe is the closest I've come! Estimated cost per serving is about $2–$3.
Note: This is not a weight loss shake (nor are Soylent, Huel, Muscle Milk, OWYN, or Boost). I also do not recommend drinking this shake more than once per day. Wholesome meals are still better!
JJ's Meal Replacement Shake
This is a vegan chocolate shake that is instant and filling, with no added sugar and no sugar "rush." It has a mellow taste, like a homemade oatmeal cookie.
One serving is approximately 440 calories with at least 38g of protein. The protein sources are typically easier on digestion than whey or soy, and the essential amino acid profile is still "complete." The calories are split evenly across proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. You get a range of simple and complex carbs as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Our advantage over other sugar-free shakes, like Huel or Soylent, is more protein and fiber with way fewer processed additives. For maximum convenience, you can make this powder mix in a batch that will keep for at least a couple months.
There are lots of adaptations that I've listed at the bottom!
Ingredients (single serving or batch)
- 1/3 cup quick-cook oats (27g)
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds (8g)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (10g)
- 1 tablespoon baking cocoa (5g)
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (7.5g)
- 2 teaspoons stevia sweetener (4g)
- 1 scoop (25g) pea protein isolate, unflavored
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Drops of vanilla extract
Batch (12 servings in 10-cup blender)
- 4 cups quick-cook oats
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 3/4 cup ground flax seed
- 3/4 cup baking cocoa
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup stevia sweetener
- 12 scoops (300g) pea protein isolate, unflavored
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 cups (3 quarts) unsweetened soy milk (shelf-stable available for extra convenience)
- 6 cups (1.5 quart) cold water
- Drops of vanilla extract
- In a high speed blender, blend the quick-cook oats and chia seeds into a relatively fine powder, stopping occasionally to shake.
- Add the ground flax seed, baking cocoa, tapioca flour, stevia sweetener, pea protein isolate, and salt. Blend briefly to mix.
- If creating a batch, transfer powder mix to an airtight container.
- Blend 2/3 cup (about 82g) of powder mix with 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/2 cup cold water, and 1-2 drops of vanilla extract. If consistency is too thick, add more water. Drink immediately or after chilling in refrigerator for up to an hour.
Want a different flavor? Add a spoonful of instant coffee for a mocha flavor, or spice it up with a dash of cinnamon. Or leave out the cocoa entirely and add fresh or frozen fruit – berries, cherries, mango, or peaches – when blending your shake! Make the fruit smoothie into a super smoothie by sneaking in some spinach or kale.
Don't keep unsweetened soy milk on hand? Substitute with additional 3/4 cup cold water, keeping in mind that you will miss out on 7g of protein.
Don't want to buy tapioca flour? You can omit it!
Want it to be sweeter? You can add more stevia, or blend your shake with ½ frozen banana, slightly thawed. Or skip the stevia and cocoa, and try a fruit shake!
Away from a blender? Put your prepared powder mix and liquids into a shaker bottle and go wild.
Using a regular blender that isn't high speed? You can skip blending the quick-cook oats and chia seeds into a powder. The end result will have more texture like an oatmeal smoothie rather than a shake.
Feel bloated after this shake? Your body is probably accustomed to less fiber. While you will miss out on some nutritional value, you should try leaving out the ground flax seed.
What about a different protein powder? Unflavored pea protein powder is typically much easier to digest than popular whey protein, while also being cheaper. If you want to try a different protein powder, look for one that's an "isolate" (protein separated from its fats and carbs) and unflavored. The flavored protein powders include lots of the additives that this recipe intentionally avoids!