Gentle World’s World-Famous Banini

The Gentle World banini is as simple as it gets, but this delicious vanilla smoothie is a taste of vegan history, as well as being one of our all-time favorite vegan recipes! We make it for everyone who comes to visit, because it’s always a hit.

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It’s hard to believe nowadays, but there was a time when there was no such thing as vegan ice cream! Yes, once upon a time, becoming vegan meant that ice cream and milkshakes were simply no longer on the menu. In 2022, the options for plant-based frozen desserts are becoming increasingly plentiful, but in the early days, Gentle World members had to use their imaginations to create creamy kitchen experiments in the hopes that they might just manage to hit that sweet spot.

It was during one such experiment that the brilliant idea arose to blend frozen bananas with tahini and ice cold water. Like magic, and with great celebration, “The Banini” was born. Who could have imagined that we (and every one of our guests) would still be hooked on baninis over 30 years later? 

Now you too can enjoy this deceptively simple treat, by following a remarkably quick and easy little recipe.

Bananas need to be frozen beforehand, but we always keep a stash in the freezer. Vanilla extract is optional but highly recommended. Another possibility is to replace some of the water with plant milk, or add your favorite vegan protein powder. You can also play around with the ingredients ratio until you find your desired consistency and flavor.

A dash of salt can also take it up a level, especially with the different variations. Banini + peanut butter + dates + salt = salted caramel banini… Yes please!

See recipe video below, and scroll down for more frozen banana magic.

The One-and-Only Banini (Banana-Tahini Vanilla Malted Shake)

4 cups ice cold water (but don’t add ice to the blender)
4 frozen bananas, sliced
1 fresh banana (optional)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp. vanilla

In a blender or Vita-Mix, start with three cups of ice cold water. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Slowly add more water until it reaches desired consistency.

Optional Variations

  • Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup or ¼ cup vanilla soy milk (or other plant milk)
  • Add pitted Medjool dates plus fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Add dates / maple syrup plus cocoa or cacao powder
  • Add peanut butter (with or without dates / maple syrup)
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Top view of smoothie bowl with strawberries, banana and coconut chips on a pink background.

The Magic of Frozen Bananas

For an instant energy boost that is long lasting, yet light on the digestion, frozen bananas are fantastic for smoothies, snacks and even raw vegan desserts.

Read More »


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© Gentle World 2023. Gentle World is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization, helping to build a more peaceful society by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition. EIN: 59-1999433