A healthy Caramel Cookie Dough Milkshake made without ice cream or bananas. The cold creamy secret to this blender treat–frozen cauliflower! But you won’t even taste it…
This is not your typical smoothie.
For starters it’s a milkshake. And no I did not just slap that label on for no reason. There is a certain level of decadence that garners that title, and this beverage has it.
It is also just barely fruity–no bananas in this blend. There are a few dates blended in for dessert-like sweetness and more in the caramel, but that’s the only fruit component. Well and coconut if that counts and if you take my advice on the nondairy milk choice.
But the bulk of this smoothie is veggie. And that veggie is frozen cauliflower. And no it doesn’t taste funky or healthy or like salad or anything, I promise. It tastes like a milkshake–frosty and ice cream-like with a lucious texture and sweet vanilla taste. The sort of treat you will want to slurp up every last sip of. Every last drop of cold creamy cauliflower in disguise!
I tried out this fun cauli-trick on these smoothies, but in that recipe the frozen cauliflower was just a sneaky sidekick to frozen bananas. And hiding under chocolate, which we know can hide almost anything. For this recipe I wanted to make the frozen cauliflower the main ingredient to truly test its beverage-base ability. Spoiler alert: it passed!!
All this delicious talk and we haven’t even gotten to the Caramel Cookie Dough Milkshake mix-ins yet…
Caramel. Added equally for looks and flavor, the drizzled component of this milkshake is my homemade date caramel sauce. We already know that it drizzles quite deliciously (see video), but if you decorate the inner walls of a pre-frozen glass with the stuff it also hardens just enough to stay put in whatever artistic design you create. So freeze your soon-to-be milkshake jar, caramel doodle, refreeze while you blend the shake, and then pour it in to create a beautiful caramel-streaked contrast look. And a little extra drizzled on top isn’t a bad idea either.
Cookie dough. I am far from done with these cookie dough bits. In fact, I am just getting started with the delicious things to do with them. Today they are taking this milkshake from yummy sip to borderline-blizzard. You will need a spoon. You will have a shake-soaked sweet soggy cookie dough feast at the bottom of the glass when you are done drinking (my favorite part!) And you will add them liberally because nothing’s worse than a milkshake that’s stingy on the mix-ins. Okay maybe a few things are worse, but you know what I mean.
And again, a few extra on top is probably a good way to go. Just so you don’t forget what kind of milkshake it is under there.
Oh and that nondairy milk rec I mentioned…I’ll keep it short and sweet: coconut milk. Unless you hate coconuts, then I’ll let it slide. Maybe go with cashew in that case, or homemade almond. Something especially lush, ya know? If you even think about using water I will cry.
I personally used light canned coconut and it I was marvelous. We are drinking our vegetables here, so I say treat yourself to a lil extra creamayyyy coconut texture.
Call it a smoothie. Call it a milkshake. Call it a salad if you can pull that off. But this funky frozen thing just one-upped green
smoothie nicecream on my list of Most Delicious Ways to Consume Vegetables so I think you need to try it. My freezer will be fully stocked up on frozen cauliflower for the foreseeable future. I already cleared a dedicated shelf. Because it is the most super spectacular multi-tasking veggie. Ever.
Caramel Cookie Dough Milkshake
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 person 1x
A healthy cookie dough milkshake made without ice cream or bananas. The cold creamy secret to this blender treat–frozen cauliflower! But you won’t even taste it…
- 2 cups frozen cauliflower ((*see note))
- 1.5–2 cups light canned coconut milk ((you can use lower fat non-dairy milks, but it won’t be as creamy))
- 4 pitted medjool dates
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cookie dough bits ((plus more for on top))
- 2 tbsp vegan caramel sauce ((plus more for on top))
- Freeze a glass or jar for at least 1 hour. Remove from the freezer, and drizzle the inside with caramel sauce. Freeze again while you blend the milkshake.
- In a high speed blender, combine the frozen cauliflower, dates, vanilla, and 1 cup coconut milk.
- Blend on high until smooth, adding more coconut milk as needed but keeping it as thick as possible.
- Add the cookie dough bits and pulse to briefly mix them in.
- Pour into the caramel-decorated glass. Top with additional caramel sauce and cookie dough. Enjoy!
*The cauliflower should be cooked not raw. I used store-bought frozen cauliflower, so it has been blanched before freezing. If you are going to freeze your own, you will want to steam it before freezing.
Nisha / @rainbowplantlife says
I just love the addition of frozen cauliflower in here. What a sneaky way to get in veggies. I just bought frozen cauliflower last week for the same purpose!
I’ve been seeing it pop up in blender recipes more and more, and I am totally on board with it. It’s amazing how much you cannot taste it!! Can’t wait to see what you sneaky cauliflower smoothie/beverage you make 🙂
Demeter | Beaming Baker says
Ah-ha! The age-old smoothie vs. milkshake question! 😉 I’m always thinking about this–like, what does it take to transition the drink from one classification to another? Definitely decadence, some kind of amazing drizzle, and if possible, LOTS of topping. As I’m “dessert analyzing” this beauty in front of me, well, I’m drooling in a spectacularly attractive way, and I’m totally thinking: YES!!! Love that you made this using your ingenious discovery of frozen cauliflower as the DL creamy thick agent. Isn’t cauliflower just… magical? Also, can we never be done with your cookie dough bits? ‘Cause I was kind of planning for them to be a HUGE staple for our tropical vacay getaway. Ahem. I’m just gonna call this TASTY. Love ya! xoxo
It’s a very fine and delicate line between smoothie and milkshake, I can’t say that I really know the defining difference either. I mostly just go with gut instinct, and this one felt more milkshake to me. I think if there are more fruity than dessert flavors I go smoothie, but more dessert than fruity I go milkshake…yeah something like that? We need more stuff to ponder, ya know?? Eating all the cookie dough in Hawaii–sounds like the perfect summer plan to me!! Love ya and happy almost weekend?
Leah M | love me, feed me says
I still haven’t hopped on the frozen cauliflower smoothie/milkshake train yet, but I trust you so I guess I’ll have to give it a go!! This looks so lush and decadent. That caramel drizzle on the cup hnnnng!
You don’t have to, but I strongly encourage 🙂 You won’t taste it! Or if you do then your tastebuds are way more perceptive than mine and you should add chocolate. Idk something about cold makes flavors less noticeable…I think I read that somewhere once and I believe it. Thanks lovely, happy weekend!
Nicole Dawson says
Oh wow Natalie! This would incredibly intriguing and delicious all at the same time. I’ve gotta try this and I love your little caramel hack!
It’s more delicious than it sounds, I promise! I have been loving the glass decoration drizzles lately–easy and major brownie points for presentation 🙂 Thanks Nicole!
The concept of cauliflower in a milkshake is still crazy to me, but I mean that in the best way possible! The fact that we can use veg to thicken up a creamy, delicious shake is awesome. Go plants!!! Plus, the fact that you combined date caramel and those cute little cookie dough bits…I’ll take one for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert!
Give it time–I think this little trend will catch on and become not crazy. I mean just think at one time avocado mushed up on toast probably sounded crazy too? Which is so strange…instagram messing with our minds again. But this is definitely a delicious kind of crazy for now 🙂
Oh my, I’m so excited to try this! My oldest daughter and I are both allergic to bananas, so this would make a great alternative to all the avos we eat, lol. Thanks Natalie!
Mmmm avocado in smoothies makes for awesome texture too, but it is nice to have other options! Even though I can eat bananas, it’s just more fun to develop banana free smoothies–more of a challenge. And I actually think I prefer the flavor and texture of this blend to bananas! I hope you try it and both you and your daughter enjoy Lauren 🙂
The Vegan 8 says
Mmmmm, cookie dough and caramel and milkshake is a triple combo threat of yumminess!! This looks so lush, thick and creamy! I’m liking the cauliflower trend and think it sounds amazing, especially since cauliflower is a pretty mild flavor. And the fact that it is NOT banana is a huge win for me! I know most people use bananas for 90% of their shakes to thicken them but the problem is banana is so strong in flavor that it overpowers everything. I am LOVING the cauliflower idea. I became a cauliflower just this year to where I actually eat it now, haha. My hubby can’t have it due to gout, but I can certainly eat it. Plus, it’s like basically fat-free, what a wonderful bonus. I love that you used lite coconut milk, that is pretty much my go-to coconut milk for all recipes, nothing beats it in my opinion….as far as desserts are concerned! Great recipe Natalie and the caramel drizzle is making me drool!
I absolutely know what you mean on the always banana-based smoothies. Even though I like bananas, I still preferred the flavor of this blend! You could actually taste the vanilla and the caramel, not just banana with a little tiny hint of vanilla hiding underneath. I think that’s why it felt more like a milkshake to me, because pretty much all smoothies in my mind taste like banana haha 😀 Plus the coconut milk = super creamy!! And when it’s already chopped up and frozen my lazy side really likes it too 🙂
Amazing idea Natalie! I never tried frozen cauliflower in a dessert but it’s a great idea to consume more veggies, I love this. 🙂
My mind is just full of all sorts of creamy dessert places to try blending it into now, such a fun discovery 🙂
How did I miss this dreamy post????? Oh, my! <3 Creamy, caramel-y, guilt-free milkshake sounds SO heavenly! A few years ago we bought this superfood smoothies book (Julie Morris) and she has lucuma coconut smoothie that calls for cauliflower and I was so leery of it that it ended up being the last recipe we tried in the book….and it ended up being one of my absolute favorites! I've been using less bananas these days so this milkshake is so perfect. Especially with that delicious caramel sauce! Your drizzling game is on point 🙂 Totally drooling!!!! Hehe – I would cry too if someone used water instead of a creamy milk…coconut milk would be the perfect choice! I feel like cauliflower has become the magical ingredient these days – transforms into endless wonderful things…kinda like oats. I'm so anxious to try this! xo
Oh wow, that book was way ahead of it’s time and this cauli-trend–I’m impressed! I’ve definitely become MUCH more open minded since I started blogging, a few years ago I probably would’ve never tried that one? Yep totally perfect for cutting down on the bananas but still smoothie-ing. I’ve actually found dates in small amounts to be better than bananas for me. Slowly but surely my diet changes are making their way into recipes, I actually have a truly AIP recipe in the works now? Thanks my dear, hope you are having a good monday!
audrey @ unconventional baker says
Hehe. I tried it out in smoothies and nice cream before as well — def good call on caramel, chocolate, and cookie dough bites 🙂 I think if the flavors are right cauliflower appears to have no limits!
It really does seem unstoppable!! And bonus points that the color is nice and natural too 🙂
The recipe doesn’t specify if the cauliflower should be raw or cooked, which did you use? Thanks, looks delicious!
I bought it frozen so it has been blanched before freezing. If you are going to freeze your own, then yes lightly cook/steam it before freezing.
We made this tonight with half coconut milk and half cashew yogurt for the non-dairy milk, and added a few chocolate chips instead of the caramel and cookie bits. It was wonderful and creamy! My little girls loved it! Thank you for sharing your recipe! ♡
That sounds perfect, I love the yogurt addition! I’m so happy everyone liked it, thanks for the feedback 🙂
Hi Natalie, thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes 🙂 I love your blog just as much as I am a big fan of your instagram account. I’m from Germany and not too familiar with cup-measurement. How much is 1 cup cauliflower? 200g? Thanks for an answer <3 Merry Christmas
Hi Anika! Thank you so much for the kind words and support <3 1 cup frozen cauliflower is approximately 85g. But honesty there is wiggle room in this recipe and a little less or more won't hurt, you just want a really thick and creamy consistency 🙂 Hope that helps and happy holidays!
Thanks for your quick answer dear Natalie. Will make this for my whole family for desert tomorrow night <3 Will tell you how it goes 🙂