I typically get my recipe inspiration from all kinds of sources — books, magazines, cooking shows, restaurants, etc. — but my idea for this healthful Orange “Julius” came from a dream I had about drinking the Dairy Queen classic beverage. I haven’t had one in years, but I remember how creamy and refreshing they are. After my dream, I decided I must have an Orange Julius. Of course, the ingredient list for the DQ version is abysmal (egg white solids???), so I set out to create a nutritious version.
After one failed attempt, I came up with a creamy, sweet beverage that I didn’t want to put down. In fact, this photo shoot almost didn’t happen because I kept tasting my recipe. Hence, the very small jar of Orange “Julius” in my photos!
I used Cara Cara oranges in my Orange Julius because they are sweet and seedless, and I love their deep orange color. If you can’t find Cara Caras, any medium-large sweet orange will work. Just make sure you remove all of the seeds before adding it to the blender!
To add a little extra sweetness to my Orange Julius, I tossed in a few soft Medjool dates (pits removed, of course) before blending. I don’t like my drinks to be super sweet, so two dates per serving was just the right amount of sweetness for me. If your oranges aren’t very sweet, you may need to add one or two more dates.
To give my Orange Julius a creamy, cool texture, I blended the oranges and dates with lite coconut milk and a few ice cubes.
With only five ingredients, this recipe could not be easier! It’s the perfect drink for kids who are constantly asking for sweets. You can even tell them it’s an orange shake if you want!
Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and fiber, as well as calcium, copper, and B vitamins. Dates are also highly nutritious, as they are full of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. They even contain folate, calcium, iron, vitamin K, and B vitamins. This Orange Julius is also a good source of antioxidants, so drink up!
- 2 sweet medium-large oranges, peeled and seeds removed
- 8-10 ice cubes
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- 1 cup lite coconut milk
- 4-6 soft Medjool dates, pits removed
- *Bonus antioxidants: ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until completely smooth. I recommend starting with 4 dates, then tasting for sweetness and adding more if needed. If you want more of a slushy drink, add more ice and blend again.
- Serve in large glasses for two servings, or small glasses for 4 servings. Drizzle with more coconut milk and garnish with an orange wedge, if desired.
*I'm always looking for ways to add turmeric to my diet because it's anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. I added ¼ tsp to my Orange Julius, and I couldn't taste it.
This Orange Julius is so creamy and tasty, I will definitely be making it a lot this summer!
Perhaps I will put some in a bottle and take it to the park, because once school ends, that’s where Abby and I will be spending most of our time . . .
What’s your favorite summer beverage?