Genius Recipes

The Most Beautiful Smoothie We've Ever Seen

The layered yogurt drink looks more like a fancy cocktail than something from a gym cafe.

May 11, 2022

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Founding Editor and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.

When Diana Yen and I got matched up to create an item for the snack break at Cherry Bombe Jubilee, Diana wanted something playful, something visual. As the founder of A LA CARTE, a studio that specializes in food photography, styling, and recipe development, Yen is always focusing on how to make individual ingredients sing. She lives in Ojai, California (which she’s dubbed “the Upstate of L.A.”) and visits the farmers market weekly, letting local and seasonal produce guide her cooking. In her work, ingredients come first, keeping in mind the simplest way to execute. Usually a recipe is done once and then never used again.

I, on the other hand, am the founder of Anita’s Yogurt based in Brooklyn, NY. I’m a former vegan chef, and I created my signature coconut yogurt in my home kitchen to use in dessert recipes. Nine years later, the brand has sold over a million cups of yogurt from coast-to-coast including 150 locations of Whole Foods. My recipes have been featured on Food52, Munchies, Cherry Bombe and Bon Appétit.

Photo by Julia Gartland.

So together, Diana wanted to make something using Anita’s Yogurt that evoked the magazine’s logo. So she thought, “How do I make two cherries?” She sliced strawberries horizontally and that led to drawing a stem between them. A big part of what made it popular was drawing that stem on the outside of the cups, and sticking the strawberries on the inside. It was colorful and the flavors evoked springtime—a floral hint from rosewater and the tart strawberries. The smoothie had three layers, red strawberry puree on the bottom, white chia and yogurt in the middle, and a classic pink strawberry smoothie on top. It’s a technicolor dream of a smoothie, a pousse-cafe meets a parfait meets a smoothie, as delicious as it was visually stunning.

Most impressive to me was how she showcased my yogurt so beautifully, and the engineering that was involved. Each layer had to be slightly less thick than the previous one in order for them to stay on top of each other without mushing together. With our team of five, we carefully spooned each layer into hundreds of glasses (each one hand drawn with the stem by Diana) the morning of Jubilee. Diana hand cut hundreds of paper straws so that they were the perfect length for the mini tumblers. Once the snack break started, attendees poured into the room and the smoothies were gone within minutes. But our efforts paid off. Diana’s strawberry rose smoothing made with my yogurt became the most Instagrammed snack of that year’s event.

Got a Genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I am a self-trained vegan chef, pastry chef and baker. More recently, I founded Anita's Yogurt in Brooklyn, NY. Anita's Coconut Yogurt is now available from coast-to-coast and for nationwide delivery from our website. I still frequently bake desserts for my daughter and post recipe videos on instagram. Currently baking: Kombucha Muffins From Jerrelle Guy, Genius Nut and Seed bread from Sarah Britton.