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JAN 23, 2024

The Best Dairy-Free Protein Shake Recipe for Post-Workout Recovery

Enjoy the best dairy-free protein shake recipe for post-workout recovery: a perfect blend of nutrition and taste to refuel and rejuvenate your body after exercise.

Read time: 6 minutes

After an exhilarating workout you’re left sweating and panting, with your muscles burning. It’s a rewarding feeling right? Feeling the effort you’ve invested is paying off. But then what? Your body is desperate to recover. And yet, for a lot of people, the most widely adopted solution contains a substance that you can’t or maybe don’t want to process: dairy. What then? Well don’t worry, we’ve crafted a dairy-free protein shake recipe for fitness enthusiasts looking for a delicious, easy-to-digest solution to meet their dietary restrictions or preferences. So let’s elevate your post-workout recovery regime with this game-changing protein-packed shake.

Essential Dairy-Free Ingredients for Post-Workout Recovery

A common misconception is that post-workout recovery is all about protein. And while it's true that muscle protein synthesis requires sufficient levels of amino acids, other nutrients play equally vital roles. For instance, carbohydrates are crucial in replenishing your glycogen stores, while certain vitamins aid in repairing wear and tear on the body. But what if you're lactose intolerant or perhaps vegan? Fortunately, various dairy-free ingredients can help you recover without sacrificing taste or nutritional value.

  • One essential ingredient to consider using in your post-workout shake is chia seeds, known for their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. They also contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and facilitate recovery.

  • Other dairy-free options include oats for carbohydrates and fiber, bananas and berries for a natural sweetness packed with vitamins and minerals, and nut butter or coconut oil for healthy fats.

Power of Plant-Based Protein Powders

Protein powder has become arguably the most popular supplement consumed by those looking to achieve specific fitness goals. Not only does it offer convenience, but it also simplifies the process of achieving adequate protein intake. However, traditionally, whey sourced from cow's milk  has been the preferred source of protein for most athletes; but times are changing!

  • These days, athletes have healthier or compassionate reasons to pursue non-whey alternatives such as those derived from plants. And the benefits are plentiful. These include excessively lower saturated fat content compared to its whey counterpart and additional micronutrients.

  • Consider plant-based protein powders derived from peas, brown rice, or hemp. They suit various dietary lifestyles and are complete proteins containing all essential amino acids required for muscle recovery.

  • One great option is to opt for a coconut-based powder like the one offered by Sunwarrior Warrior Blend. With 19 grams of protein per serving, it's rich in electrolytes to help you rehydrate after a strenuous workout.

Rehydration with Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Keeping hydrated  during and after a workout is crucial for optimal performance and speedy recovery. And for those who are lactose intolerant or abstaining from dairy products, it's essential to seek alternative options to replenish fluids lost in the body. Utilizing non-dairy milk alternatives can cater to these needs and still provide necessary nutrients like calcium, which is present in milk.

Dairy-Free Protein Shake for Post-Workout

We all know protein shakes are an excellent way to promote muscle recovery and growth post-workout. A well-formulated shake mixed in a world class shaker bottle can repair broken muscle fibers and increase the body's protein synthesis rate. Here are some DIY non-dairy ingredients that cater to different needs:

Creamy Vanilla Bean Vegan Shake

Consisting of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, coconut cream, vegan protein powder, vanilla extract, and agave syrup, this combination is perfect if you crave something sweet after an intense workout. Almond milk also contains Vitamin E, which helps muscles recover faster, while coconut cream provides the healthy fat required to curb hunger pangs.

This shake suits vegans who require quick energy recovery but prefer non-fruity flavors.

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Made from unsweetened chocolate almond milk, banana, natural peanut butter, chia seeds, and vegan protein powder, this concoction is perfect for post-workout snacks to curb hunger pangs. Unsweetened chocolate almond milk contains essential amino acids necessary for quick recovery after exercise, while bananas provide potassium, which helps prevent soreness.

This shake is a great post-workout meal replacement for individuals who require essential nutrients but prefer a snack-like meal.

Antioxidant-Rich Fruit and Nut Smoothie Recipe

Fruits are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help ease muscle inflammation caused by intense workouts. This antioxidant-rich fruit and nut smoothie recipe combines blueberries, bananas, walnuts, spinach, and almond milk to create a delicious mix perfect for recovery drinks. Blueberries are considered the top fruit in terms of antioxidant content and, when combined with omega-3s from walnuts and potassium from bananas, make this drink a powerhouse of nutrition.

Try this breakfast recipe or immediately after a workout to reduce muscle soreness and increase energy levels throughout the day.


  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 ripe banana

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add all the ingredients into a powerful blender and blend until smooth.

Omega-Boost Vegan Smoothie Recipe

Plant-based proteins like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds provide adequate nutrition while being easier to digest than animal products. This omega-boost vegan smoothie recipe contains more ingredients to replenish lost energy post-workout. Including coconut water in this shake provides natural electrolytes that aid in rehydration and improve digestion.

Here's what you'll need:






2 cups

Chia seeds

2 tbsp


2 tbsp

Hemp seeds

2 tbsp

Coconut water

½ cup


Blend all the ingredients until smooth for the perfect post-workout snack.

Nourishing Benefits of a Dairy-Free Post-Workout Shake

It’s obvious that post-workout recovery is a crucial part of any exercise routine. And we all know why: it's essential to replenish nutrients and repair muscles post-exercise. Smoothies are a popular option for this, but many incorporate dairy-based whey protein powder, which not only negates the benefits for those who are lactose intolerant but also contributes to environmental concerns concerning animal welfare. A dairy-free protein shake is a more sustainable option and provides an array of nourishing and healthful benefits.

  • Plant-based milk alternatives like coconut, almond, or oat milk make excellent bases for post-workout shakes. These milk alternatives contain healthy fats and are low in saturated fat compared to traditional cow's milk. For example, almond milk has one-third the calories of whole milk yet still contains calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D - all necessary for muscle recovery.

  • Additionally, incorporating fruits such as berries or tropical options like kiwi or pineapple offers an abundance of vitamins C and E and other antioxidants that help support recovery and strengthen the immune system.

Crafting Tasty and Nutritious Dairy-Free Shakes

When creating a delicious dairy-free post-workout shake, remember a few important things. First and foremost, it's essential to include key nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates (preferably from whole fruits as opposed to refined sugars), and healthy fats.

Fresh ingredients are also paramount. Stick to seasonal fruits or frozen options for an added chill that can refresh summer workouts.

Here’s an example recipe that ticks all these boxes:



Almond milk

2 cups







Hemp seeds

2 tbsp


Simply blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy for this nutrient-dense drink, suitable for recovery after any workout.


There are so many options available when creating dairy-free post-workout shakes that don't compromise taste and nutrition. Just remember that nutrient-dense ingredients packed with vitamins and minerals - not just plant-based proteins alone - will energize you and kickstart muscle recovery! And be sure to experiment with different recipes and combinations to find the right balance for you to feel nourished for your next sweat session!

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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