What Is Taro? How To Make A Taro Smoothie

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Taro is frequently a tea cafe best-seller, alongside other classic milk tea flavors like Thai milk tea and black milk tea. Taro boba tea, also known as bubble tea, is filled with chewy tapioca pearls. You can also use taro to make a delicious, healthy taro smoothie- with or without the pearls!

Taro is one of the most popular boba tea flavors in bubble tea shops and cafés. Many boba tea fans are drawn to its purple hue, creamy yet starchy texture, and sweet, nutty flavor.

Read on to learn more about this starchy root vegetable and how to incorporate it into your next healthy smoothie.

taro root that has been sliced with a knife on a wooden slicing board

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So what Is Taro?

Taro (colocasia esculenta) is a root vegetable native to South India and Southeast Asia. The taro plant is significant in Hawaiian culture, and the ancient Hawaiians used every single part of the plant. Venezuela and Brazil also grow taro root these days – though it’s not native to those regions.

The taro root has heart-shaped leaves, which are delicious and safe to eat. The outside color of the taro root is typically brown with white flesh inside. Taro commonly has pink or purple patches on the inside of the root and is extremely starchy – like a potato. Likewise, it also can be eaten and prepared just like a potato! My favorite way to eat taro is boiled then mashed with a potato masher or blended into my smoothies.

You can find real taro root, taro powder, or taro cremes online or in Asian grocery stores around the US. You can also make your own fresh taro paste or taro tea at home.

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Is Taro Good For You?

Raw taro root has a number of health benefits. For starters, it is high in several nutrients including:

  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Phosphorus 
  • Vitamin E
  • And more!

Firstly, fresh taro root and taro root powder can reduce the risk of heart disease thanks to the high fiber content in taro. Secondly, the resistant starch in the taro root can help regulate blood sugar as well.

Additionally, taro helps you feel fuller for a longer period, which can be great for weight loss. And taro is a great potato substitute and can even help digestion.

Why Is The Taro Smoothie Pink Or Purple Sometimes?

Since the taro root is mostly white inside, it can be a shock to receive a bright purple drink after expecting a white smoothie.

As the root is processed, it releases a light purple color. The slight purple/pink tint in the root is very powerful, which is why your smoothie or tea can change color. Some recipes also include purple sweet potato powder, which will also increase the purple intensity of your drink.

What’s the difference Between Taro And Ube?

Ube is a purple yam from the Phillipines, and has a naturally purple tint to it. And while both ube and taro are root veggies with similar colors, the tastes are very different. Taro is often associated with more savory flavors. However, Ube is sweeter and is typically used in desserts.

In addition, Ube is more purple in color, has a significantly sweeter flavor, and gets pretty soft when you cook it – much like a yam would. Meanwhile, taro is more like a potato and has a naturally earthy and nutty flavor.

a purple drink made from taro into a taro smoothie

Is Taro Good For Weight Loss?

Yes! Taro root can boost feelings of fullness, which can help reduce overall calorie intake. It can also increase fat burning due to its high fiber and resistant starch content, potentially leading to weight loss and lower body fat.

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Incorporating taro into your diet can help manage weight loss and add variety to your smoothie and meal plans.

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Is Taro Healthier Than Sweet Potato?

Although sweet potatoes and taro are similar in nutritional value; however, they each provide a different combination of nutrients.

Sweet potatoes are low in fat and have a low glycemic index value. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, fiber, protein, iron, and calcium. Meanwhile, taro is a great source of fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.

Although sweet potatoes and taro are similar in nutritional value, taro does provide more food energy, more fiber, less sugar, more calcium, and more vitamin E, folate, thiamin, and choline per 100 grams.

What Mixes Well With Taro?

Taro flavor pairs well with coconut milk, creating a wide variety of delicious beverages and treats. It also pairs well with simple foods such as yogurt or oatmeal.

You can use taro flavoring to moderate the sweetness and lend texture to sweet items like mooncakes and pudding (chè). You can even make a great taro ice cream with sweetened condensed milk for a tasty and unique taro treat.

Taro Smoothie Recipe with Black Tapioca Pearls

Taro smoothies are one of my personal favorite drinks. They’re even better when you add a little boba flair with some black tapioca pearls at the bottom. Start with a taro milk tea recipe (located at the bottom of this page) and then make the following simple modifications:

If you are already a Taro-boba lover, you can use your same boba recipe but instead of creating your boba tea in a large glass, just blend the ingredients in a blender first.

Taro Smoothie Recipe Steps:

  1. Blend your brewed tea, taro, and milk with a cup of ice until you have a creamy taro slush.
  2. Prepare your tapioca pearls according to the instructions and mix them with sugar syrup.
  3. Add the syrup-coated tapioca pearls to the bottom of a glass and pour your creamy taro smoothie over the top.
  4. Enjoy with a spoon or special straw!
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If this is your first time working with tapioca pearls, I recommend buying them online or from local Asian grocers. The pearls can also be made from scratch if you prefer.

You can make a delicious taro smoothie without the tea in this more simplified taro smoothie recipe. This recipe has a sweeter, more concentrated taro flavor. It’s also a little easier to make. All you have to do is combine milk, taro powder, sweetened condensed milk, and ice in a blender!

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A glass of purple taro tea with a yellow straw

Easy Taro Bubble Tea Recipe

To make your own taro milk tea recipe, all you need are a few simple ingredients:

  • Jasmine tea or black tea
  • Hot water
  • Your choice of milk (whole milk, almond milk, soy milk, non-dairy creamer all work)
  • Taro, our main ingredient

You can use either taro powder or make a fresh paste.

You’ll also need chewy tapioca balls (boba), which can either be homemade or store-bought. I prefer store-bought options with simple package instructions; they are easy to find in Asian grocery stores. These are easier and faster than making chewy boba pearls from scratch, but use whichever you prefer.

You can sweeten your homemade boba with coconut sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or any kind of simple syrup.

Then all you need to do is assemble your creamy taro milk bubble tea – here’s how!

  1. Take a large glass and fill it with the sugar syrup/boba mixture. Add ice if desired.
  2. Next, add the tea/taro mixture.
  3. Finally, finish the drink off with your choice of milk.

For a stronger tea taste, reduce the amount of milk and/or add an additional tea bag when steeping. 

Now you have a fresh taro milk tea to rival any of your favorite boba shops!

a purple taro smoothie drink with a plant sitting behind it

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