There is a little fruit & nut shop en route to Palm Springs that is famous for their date shakes. They only have date or date-banana and they are delicious. They are made with the creamiest of ice creams. I remember getting them with my mom and sister when we'd drive out to see my grandma and we swore we each needed our own. We would drink them fast, the cold sweetness being just the refreshment driving through the hot desert. I could get through about half of it before the heavy cream coated my insides and the thought of finishing the whole shake seemed like a task. I can still see the cup they came in in my memory. A taupe-ish color with swooshes of pink and purple and a big thick straw so the chunks of date could get through. I guess I've always had an affinity for all things ice cream. 

Speaking of, in an effort to cool it on the ice cream habit we've come to around here, I am finding alternatives for a more nutritious frozen treat. We're having some warm days this week, so this coconut-banana-date shake is just the thing for an afternoon snack. I don't usually go for bananas in shakes/smoothies, but it keeps everything cohesive and smooth here. The combination is sweet and creamy, without too much of either. This is the shake I have no problem polishing off. 


I included a note for a bit of protein powder here because the times I am needing a shake is usually when I am a just moderately hungry - early morning before a workout or afternoon slump time. Adding a bit of protein to a shake or smoothie helps it "stick to my ribs" until a real meal. It is by no means necessary. I don't want to pump a particular brand of protein powder, but there are a plethora of plant based options, as well as good quality whey proteins (such as Tera's Whey) that don't have a bunch of junk fillers in them. Read your labels and know you usually get what you pay for on this one. I also like the addition of oats in smoothies and think this would pass for a quick breakfast if you added them here. They make a lot of sense with these ingredients. Let me know if you try it.

If you want it similar to a milkshake or ice cream, use regular coconut milk. The light kind will still be creamy, but much thinner and a coconut beverage (the sort you find in the fridge) will be like an everyday smoothie. Up to you. 

2 cups coconut milk

4 large pitted Medjool dates, chopped up

1/2 scoop vanilla protein of choice (optional)

one small banana, preferably frozen

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1-2 cups crushed ice

splash of orange juice

In a blender, combine the coconut milk, dates, protein (if using), banana, cinnamon, ice and splash of oj. Blend everything together well until the dates are in tiny pieces and everything is smooth. Adjust with as splash of this or that as desired. Enjoy cold. 

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Reader Comments (59)

Gorgeous Sara! I LOVE dates in smoothie and think the combo here sounds simple and divine - I'm always good with banana in my shakes and know it would heavenly with coconut milk. Smoothie excellence right here with or without added protein! Gorgeous.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShira

Love the color and flecks of dates! The simplicity of this along with the photos are a fabulous combo. Deelish!

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This looks absolutely delicious....and I'm sure it is because I've yet to find a recipe of yours that I don't like! One question - what type of coconut milk do you use? A lot of the ones I've come across are rather processed, which has made me shy away from them.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

This sounds soooo delicious! I can't wait to try!

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I know EXACTLY the place you are talking about. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!

I looooove those date shakes and since I only head that way once a year or so, we stop there every time to satisfy my craving. However, last time we had to rush back home from Palm Springs (too much time at the nearby outlets...) and we couldn't stop for the shake.

A little part of me is cursing you however, because now I can make these whenever my little heart desires. My waistline better watch out!

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane @ Vintage Zest

I typically eat half a bar of chocolate, or a bowl of ice cream, after dinner. Every. Single. Night. Tonight I made this, and I think it's going to be my new go-to sweet treat. Assuming I can keep the freezer stocked with enough frozen bananas. You rule big time, lady.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshlae

I've never had a shake with dates in it. I love banana and coconut I can't wait to try the shake with the dates. Photos are stunning like always. Thanks for the recipe.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElise {Buttercream & Roses}

I love the Hadley date shakes! We always stopped there when visiting my grandma who lived in palm desert! It was a tradition and I recently took Kris there and "made" him get one! Of course he loved it! Glad you made thought of this healthy twist.... I will be making one soon I'm sure! Xoxo

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Winrich

Your storytelling just keeps getting better, lady. I love this memory, and the shake it inspired you to make looks scrumptious. I am a fan of ice cream and coconut milk and anything with dates, so I'll have to give this a go when the weather gets just a bit warmer up here in the northern country. ;) Also, Hugh: LOVE the date and ice cube photos in particular!

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

coco banana wow, that great combination. how about coffee shake mix with banana is that really give great taste?

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSunteerto

So I made this tonight because there's a place in my area that makes date smoothies also (apples instead of coconut), and it's my favorite drink! I loooove the use of coconut milk, though, and it was an amazing balance. Such a hit with the family. Will make again. Thanks bunches!

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

Ah, the date shake has always been one of those much-fabled, completely California-kind-of things that I've wanted to cross off my list (mostly for the California road trip though). I have residual coconut milk in the fridge currently--your version is gonna happen. A little desert living in Canada. Yes, yes.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

This looks amazing! I have some coconut milk looking for a purpose too! Thank you!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStaci

I have half a bar of chocolate (or a bowl of ice cream) after dinner every. single. night. Last night I had this, and I don't think I'm going to be going back to my chocolate bar or ice cream anytime soon. You rule, lady. Should have known if anyone could break my chocolate addiction, it'd be you.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshlae

This sounds so delightful. I grew up in Vegas, and moved to New York, and occasionally I miss the west coast flavors that are absent here. And this is a perfect example of the desert-inspired cuisine that I long for. I will definitely be making this over the weekend!!!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I've always read about people adding protein powder to have a bit more substance to a smoothie / shake. What I do is add macadamia nuts. I've found the fats in the nuts keep me really satiated. They would work really well with this combo - and if you don't want to use coconut milk you can do macadamia nuts + water -- in combination with bananas + a splash of vanilla the macadamia nut milk tastes like a (dairy free version) of a vanilla shake!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

When I first read the title I saw "shark" instead of "shake," and I was really curious where you were going to go with that! But this looks delicious and exactly what I want for breakfast.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSincerely Jill

Looks delicious and nutritious! I've been looking for something new to try with my smoothies/shakes and this looks like just the thing - dates, frozen banana, juice, coconut! I bet chocolate would be delicious in here as well. Thanks!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

i wish i could say it was warm here in nyc, but i can't . this is a most enticing cold drink - even for someone dealing with temps in the upper 30s. sounds lovely!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Creamy deliciousness!

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKiran @

Looks refreshing and delish. I can't wait to try it.

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

I was JUST looking for date shake recipes the other day! Making this one for sure (since "Tita Sara's food is the best")

March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMollie

Wow, this really was delicious. Tasted like something you might have in Morocco or somewhere. I used organic coconut cream, which you can buy in baby little tins here in the UK, its just a more concentrated, creamier version of the milk. Just used one can of that plus the ice, the consistency was like yoghurt or fool - spoonable and delicious. Worked out well because we were out of straws. I think it would work well with a little orange zest added too, will try that next time. I also wonder what would happen if you omitted the ice and just shoved it all into an ice cream maker?! Hmm.
Had your pesto butternut squash penne for dinner (I used wholegrain spelt penne, it worked wonderfully with the robust flavours), and this for pudding, a memorable meal to say the least. x

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsobel

looks so cool! i'll try it soon, for sure :)

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkaterina

Love this recipe and making this for a quick snack or dessert! Have you ever tried Vega vanilla protein, I think it taste great with something like this! Thanks for sharing :)

it looks so delicious ! Love your blog...

March 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChantall

I made this yesterday morning with a few changes- no protein powder sub cooked vanilla steel cut oats. It was awesome! Totally making it again. I can't wait until it's summer out here I and we can enjoy this as a proper dessert, maybe try it as an ice cream?! Minus the oats of course. Thanks so much for the recipe! Love your blog!

March 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrenna

This looks delicious. I have never had a banana-date shake, but I did have a banana-fig malt, and it was crazy good. So this is another one of your amazing, healthy recipes on my list (especially since your peanut butter cups have been my downfall). xo

March 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarah

This looks interesting, I've never tried a date shake. I hope that the frozen banana will give it the same thick, creamy texture as an ice cream shake. I usually use frozen bananas in shakes when I really want an ice cream shake but stop myself from the calories. Lovely post!


March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSally

This was my first time trying dates and coconut milk (I used to have an allergy and have been nervous to eat too much coconut at once), but this was amazing!

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Ooooh -- I know that date shack. And I, too, have loved the first 50% of my date shake. But this recipe looks awesome. Looking for dates next time I'm at the store!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Queezle_Sister

Completely delicious! I have been reading your blog for years, constantly finding inspiring for life and whole-foods! What a wonderful pre-hot yoga smoothie with a variety of unexpected flavors! Thanks for sharing!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Sara, I hear about Hadley's date shakes several years ago and ever since then I've been longing to try one (no dice on the real deal since I've been a good thousand miles away), but have never quite been able to ever have dates and ice cream on hand at the same time. But, I had all the ingredients for this (save the protein powder) and just made it for a snack. Delicious! Even more delicious than I would have imagined. Thanks for the idea!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Yum!! What a great idea, I normally make a banana and date smoothie for breakfast but being that Im obsessed with coconut I think I'll have to try your recipe out tomorrow. looks and sounds so deilcious!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

this was absolutely dee-lish!!! i'm not one for protein powders but i add a couple of heaping spoonfuls of wheat bran or wheat germ to all of my smoothies for a bit of texture and some fiber. it worked well in this smoothie. thanks for my new go-to bfast and dessert!

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterminda

I was so excited to have all of these ingredients on hand (except for the protein powder).My coconut milk and bananas were frozen, so I just skipped out on the ice and added a little bit of milk to thin it out. (Wish I had a little room temp coconut milk instead, but the regular milk did the trick.)The texture was exactly like a milkshake-- so creamy and delicious, and I love the little chewy flecks of date throughout.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

While I like bananas just fine, there is something about them that I just don't crave, like, ever. I don't know, there is no real reason. But the thickening magic they add to smoothies and shakes is like a miracle of chemistry, so I'm down. Also not the biggest fan of dates, but they sound like they would work so very well together! I think I'm going to have to try and see if, for me, these two makes something greater than the sum of their parts for my taste buds.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie Webb

i know exactly the place you're talking about too. date shakes are my dad's all-time favorite treat. i'll have to make him this. he'll be tickled its a healthier version of something so good. you're wonderful. xo

I've never tried dates in smoothies before, but this looks so delicious! I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe at home asap!

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAvloppstankar

Hi, Do you use fresh dates or dried dates?

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

@Sara - Either will work. I buy the dates and trader joes or costco. Hope that helps!

March 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

I only recently discovered how much I love dates (thank you, Larabar). So I can only imagine how amazing this would be! I'm just coming off a month of no sugar and the ice cream I had the other night was too sweet. This probably would have been a better pick :)

this looks delicious! i also *love* the glasses you used..can you please share the brand? such a beautiful, clean design.

March 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersusan

@susan - cb2. They are very very fragile but so pretty!

March 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

Hi there! I'm new to your blog and I must say I'm inspired by your photography. Everything looks so unique and beautiful! This shake is right up my alley. I'm going to have to try it soon!


March 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia @

Bananas and dates find their way into most of my smoothies, but somehow I hadn't thought to add the essential coconut milk. Oh my, need to make this stat!

March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArt & Lemons

We are headed to Palm Springs next week - is the shop you mentioned nearby? I'd love to check it out and grab a date shake!!

March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSally Mae

@ Sally Mae - I'm referring to Hadley's but I know there are a few options en route. Have fun!

March 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

When we went to Palm Springs date shakes were so popular! I wanted to try one but never got around to it. I like your version, by using coconut milk and banana its creamy and thick without all the fat of ice cream. Not to mention coconut milk and banana are delicious.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

Yes! Hadley's! My grandma lives near there, too, so we'd always go when we visited. And the dinosaurs down the road -- did you ever stop there? What a goofy little oasis in the desert.

My husband doesn't love dates, but I've insisted that we get date shakes the next time we visit my grandma. Maybe I'll make these first to warm him up to the idea. He LOVES bananas.

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

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