Green Smoothie 2.0


 

Dear Earth, 
I love you.

Thank you for these first few days of spring.  Thank you for supplying my body with water and nutrients each day.  Thank you for giving me fresh air to breathe without me having to think about it.  I’m lucky to have you.  Please stick around awhile?

I think about you often.  I think about how you take care of me and how I try my best to take care of you too.  I think about you when I take short showers, ride my bike, compost, reuse paper, shop at the farmer’s market, and pick up trash on the ground.  Hey, did you hear that I started my own worm bin this year?  Yeah, I thought you’d be proud. 

Thank you for all that you do.  I am grateful for you.
Sincerely,
Me


 

Is it weird that I love Earth Day?  One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 is to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.  A few months ago I gave myself a goal to have half my garden planted and thriving by April 22.  Of course that was before I knew too much about gardening and learned that there isn’t much that you can plant in Seattle before late April.  Luckily, I love greens and those were safe to start in mid-march.  My indoor herb gardens are also coming along quite nicely.  But, I can’t wait until my greens are ready to eat. 

Speaking of greens, let’s talk about green smoothies.  I’ve been drinking green smoothies since back in the day.  Heck, I had my first green smoothie even before I went vegetarian.  Green smoothies seem to be kicking up quite a stir lately as more people have grown to love their green goodness.
And what’s not to love?
  • They’re super quick and easy to make!
  • They’re a great breakfast, pre- or post-workout meal, and make a great anytime snack!
  • They help get more greens into your diet!
  • They use raw greens so you’re getting the full nutritional value of the greens as well as their digestive enzymes!
  • And they’re delicious!
Maybe you avoid all green things.  Maybe you strictly avoid green things in glasses.  Or maybe you’ve been burned by a really bad green smoothie before.  I won’t judge.  But maybe I can help mend the wound?

Once you’re ready to hop on the green smoothie wagon, you’ll want to start with the basic recipe.  These are my versions that I’ve adapted throughout the years, but there are hundreds of variations out there and you can even make it 100% raw by substituting fresh juice for the milk and leaving out any non-raw supplements.  I covered some basics in my first green smoothie tutorial which is a great starting recipe for beginners.

Basic Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
2 cups nondairy milk
1 frozen banana (remove the peel, cut into 1-inch slices, and freeze in a plastic bag overnight)
1 cup of frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries, etc)
1 scoop rice protein powder (soy or hemp work well)
Greens: spinach has the mildest flavor and for a beginner, I would recommend starting with 1/2 cup.  As you become used to the taste, you can increase to 1 – 2 cups or try other greens like kale, chard, or collards.

Directions:
Blend milk and greens for 15 seconds – 1 minute (depending on your blender) on high. Then add your fruits and blend for 15 – 30 seconds. Add the protein powder and blend another 15 – 30 seconds.

Once you master the basic recipe, it’s time for an upgrade.  The great thing about smoothies is that it’s pretty hard to mess them up.  If you put in too many greens, just increase your liquid ratio.  If your smoothie isn’t sweet enough, just add a little more fruit.  Experimentation is your friend.

I like to add extra supplements to my smoothies and I have a variety of things that I use. You can pick and choose depending on your taste buds and nutritional needs. 

(A quick note about blenders: I get a lot of questions from readers about what type of blender I use. I use a Vitamix 5200 and absolutely love it! I bought it in 2007 and have used it almost every day since. It was an investment, but I think it was worth it to have a high-powered blender that will last many years.)

Green Smoothie 2.0
Makes 2 Servings

Basic Ingredients:
2 cups chopped kale or greens of your choice (you can remove the thick stems if desired)
2.5 cups nondairy milk
1 cup water
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup frozen bananas (remove the peel, cut into 1-inch slices, and freeze in a plastic bag overnight)
1 cup unsweetened frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, your pick!)
1 scoop rice protein powder (soy or hemp work well)

Add 1 or all of the following:
1 Tablespoon wheatgrass powder (contains chlorophyll for healthy blood function)
1 teaspoon spirulina powder (contains chlorophyll for healthy blood function)
1/2 teaspoon maca powder (contains nutrients which help the body’s endocrine system)

Add 1 of the following:
1 teaspoon flax seeds (high in fiber, Omega-3’s, and B vitamins)
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds (high in trace minerals, Omega-3’s and Omega 6 fatty acids)
1 Tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup of water for at least 10 minutes (Chia seeds are full of fiber and Omega-3’s.  Soaking them makes it easier to blend them into the smoothie.)

Pick at least 1 of the following for your fat source:  (Fat is needed to absorb the nutrients in the greens.  It also helps you feel full!)
1 Tablespoon nut butter
1/2 avocado, pitted and skinned
1 Tablespoon borage/flax oil (This borage/flax oil blend is a good source of Omega-3’s and Omega 6 fatty acids.)
1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Directions:
Blend milk and greens for 15 seconds – 1 minute (depending on your blender) on high. Then add your fruit, dates, any supplements, and any other smoothie additions and blend for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Serve immediately. (It can also keep for a few hours in a fridge or by adding ice cubes. However, the longer it sits the more “green” it starts to taste.)

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I have been trying to get my kids to drink green smoothies for a few years now. Just made these, the basic recipie, with my four year old. She is drinking it! I think my problem has always been that I try to pack a little too much greens in (I get greedy!) thinking that since I don’t taste it they won’t taste it. But they always do. I stuck to your recc. to try 1/2 a cup. It worked. And, hey, a little is better than none, right?! Thanks for the post.

  2. Anonymous says

    well blended spinach has no taste in smoothies! bump it up the beginner’s smoothie to at least 2 cups of spinach. go crazy!

  3. gluttonandstudent says

    I’ve used spinach in my smoothie, but never kale. I’m going to have to try this – I think I could handle the slightly greener taste :)

  4. mary says

    What a better way to celebrate earth day.I’am a big fan when it comes to smoothie’s.Now that the warm summer day’s are are almost upon us.There quick and so healthy.Especially when your on the run.I always drop in a sweet apple to take away the bitterness.Thank’s for the recipe.Think GREEN!

  5. says

    Came across your blog through Tastespotting. I had to comment on the absolute beautiful color of your green smoothie! I discovered green juice and green smoothies this summer and love them! My co-workers are skeptical and can’t seem to get over the color and my husband is not on board yet. Still working on them, but it’s their loss in the end!

  6. says

    I LOVE your green smoothie recipe! I have made it for myself and my daughter almost every day since we stumbled upon it..in fact, I just posted your link to the blog I just started…itsthelittlethings-alaneatx.blogspot.com
    I hope others will visit your blog and be inspired as I was! The color, the taste..everything is wonderful. Now we are experimenting with spinach as well as kale…and different fruits. It’s so much FUN! Thanks!

  7. Colleen says

    This tutorial is awesome. I have been looking for ways to incorporate more kale into my diet and this is the tastiest yet. I also live in Seattle. Any health food spots you would recommend I would LOVE to try.

    • says

      So glad this is helpful! Chaco Canyon is a great place to try in Seattle. They have an awesome mix of organic vegan & raw foods and they serve some great smoothies! I used to work there years ago so they will always be dear to my heart. :)

  8. says

    WOW! That was amazing! I’ve been juicing for a few weeks (inspired by Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) and they don’t taste nearly as good, but I drink them anyway. You are right about this not tasting “green.” I forced my kids to drink a small glass of it this morning. They will be drinking it with me every morning! Yay! It tastes to delicious to be good for you. Thank you!

    • says

      That’s fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing! It’s always a good sign when the kids are on board! :) Take care and best of luck to you on your new health journey!

  9. Jenn says

    I’m originally from Seattle and I love your blog! I also made your green smoothies (intro version) for my kids this past weekend before their soccer games. They are both really good about trying new foods so thought it was SO COOL that you put “lettuce” in smoothies. Thank you for the great ideas!

  10. Anonymous says

    i have a green smoothie every morning and it has completely changed my complexion. Even my eyes look brighter and clearer. I have read that raw chard, spinach and beet greens can prevent calcium absorption and that those greens are best steamed or sauteed a little bit. I always use kale in my smoothies. yummm!

  11. says

    Hello! I juiced for a while, and now I switched to green smoothies because a) takes less ingredients b) the clean up is easier! I was just wondering if you had a rationale for juicing vs. smoothies. Thanks! Great website, I love it.

    • says

      Hi Kelsey,
      Great question! I think juicing and smoothies both have great benefits. Juicing is great because it’s very easy on the digestive system and fresh vegetable juice is packed with nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body. Smoothies are wonderful because they retain all the fiber from the greens and fruits and are also a very digestible form of nutrients. I love both fresh juice and green smoothies and I think they both offer great benefits so whichever one you prefer is up to you! Hope this helps!

  12. says

    I like your recipes. As a certified natural chef who has studied nutrition, I would caution using raw greens like spinach and kale in smoothies. Raw greens are much easier to digest when lightly cooked. You can also ensure you are absorbing the fat soluble vitamins and minerals by adding a splash of oil or butter to your steamed greens.

    You can still add “greens” to your smoothie. I like to use fresh or frozen wheat grass, parsley, or dandelion greens which are much easier to digest and contain lots of antioxidants.

  13. Emilia says

    As a healthy and frugal college student I really like smoothies but protein powders are really expensive. Therefore I started adding 1/2-1 C homemade white bean puree to my morning drinks and it has worked really well so far. I noticed that fresh made (not canned) beans are rather flavorless and take on the taste of what ever it is mixed with. I haven’t found it to clash with the other foods or my digestion yet. Has anyone else tried that before?

    • says

      Hey Emilia,
      Thanks for your suggestion! The funny thing is that I have recently started doing this too! On a personal note, I’m trying to move away from protein powders because I’ve found that many are very processed. This is an old post and recipe of mine so it might make sense to make some updates. :)

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