Anyway! I've started drinking green smoothies, and I'm officially on the wagon. Seriously, they're amazing. I drink them for breakfast and they give me tons of energy. I'm also not a huge fan of cooked greens, with the notable exceptions of braised kale and garlicky collards, so this is an awesome way for me to get super-healthy greens.
Some general green smoothie tips for beginners like me:
- They're not always green. Sometimes they're red or purple or brown. This is a-ok.
- The general proportion is 1 cup greens, 2 cups fruit, and enough water to make it a drinkable consistency, per serving. Generally, this makes about a 12- to 16-oz smoothie.
- Rotate the greens you use. You can actually get mild poisoning from eating too many of the same specific alkaloids and other substances in each type of leafy green, so switch it up every couple of days.
- If you buy a bunch of veggies and they have leafy tops that you'd normally throw away, look them up - if they're not toxic, toss 'em in a smoothie.
- Unless you're going for a specific therapeutic smoothie (like a liver detox or something), don't be limited by recipes. Just toss things in a blender and go with it. I try to think about the way that fruits will complement the greens. These are some of my general experiences with different fruits & veggies:
- Spinach is pretty bland, chard has a real earthy taste, kale has a distinct tartness, parsley has a strong and bright flavor, lettuces taste exactly like you'd expect. Beet greens, carrot tops and turnip greens have a stronger flavor, so I like to use stronger flavored fruits with them.
- Apples and dates provide sweetness without overpowering flavor.
- Pitted fruits like cherries, peaches, and mangoes are your flavor powerhouses.
- Berries are wonderfully delicious, but don't go overboard on them or you'll get a mouthful of seeds at the end.
- Add cucumbers, celery, canteloupe, and grapes if you need more liquid.
- Avocados and bananas create a rich, creamy texture like a milkshake.
- You can keep smoothies in the fridge for a day or two, and you can freeze and thaw them. The textures and flavors do change when they sit. If you can, toss them in a blender again right before drinking.
I'll post when I stumble upon a really fantastic combination, like I did with this Green Chocolate Smoothie. This is not a traditional green smoothie, and is really a special treat for me more than a daily drink.
Green Chocolate Smoothie (makes 2 servings)
- 2 cups spinach (de-stemmed and packed)
- 2 apples (cored, but don't peel 'em)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 banana
- 2-4 pitted dates (to taste)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (to taste; use raw cacao instead if you have it)
- 1 cup water
- Blend the water and fruits together.
- Toss in the spinach and puree until smooth.
- Then blend in the cocoa powder.
Enjoy! This tastes like a creamy chocolate milkshake. Adjust the dates and cocoa powder as needed to get appropriate sweetness and deliciousness.