Green smoothies are everywhere, from your local Starbucks store to your favorite smoothie shop, and with good reason. Green smoothies are a super addition to your daily routine and an easy way to sneak in ton of veggies and nutrients, without having to eat a bowl of salad.
But while they are super healthy, they can also be super intimidating.
Green is not the usual color of something you might drink. The idea of drinking a leafy green veggies, like kale, can be a little off-putting to many people. Without the right recipe, that drink might be healthy, but it might not be very pleasing to your tastebuds. In the wrong combination, greens can make your smoothie taste bitter, leave a funky texture or even make it taste a bit sour.
With the right combination, these same greens can taste sweet, fresh and be blended into your smoothie with no added pulp or gritty texture.
Top Five Greens for Your Smoothies:
For an easy to add green, try spinach. It is tasteless in your smoothie and will blend into your drink with just about any blender. Plus, spinach is a fantastic source of plant-based iron, which is easier to absorb when it has been blended. Try adding this to a simple banana and almond milk smoothie, or any smoothie that you wish to make a little more "green".
Kale is another super source of iron, as well as vitamin K. Kale is a little heartier than spinach, with a stronger taste. This can come through in some smoothies, so kale is best blended with a few other ingredients that also have strong flavors. Lemon, ginger, apple, and banana, as well as other veggies, are the perfect pairs for kale.
Since it is a bit tougher, it can be a little more difficult to blend in any blender. High speed blenders, like Blendtec or Vitamix, will have no problem powering through your kale leaves. Mid-grade blenders, like Nutribullet and Ninja, do a fairly good job of blending, but you might get an un-blended piece or two. Standard blenders have a much harder time. You can chop your kale into tiny pieces before hand to make it blend easier, or blend it on it's own first. Then add the other ingredients once it is already broken down a bit.
If you are looking for a bit of green, non-powdered protein to add to your smoothies, frozen peas are the way to go. Peas contain 5g of protein per servings and are easy to blend into any smoothie. This means they will help make your smoothie into a satisfying meal or snack, while adding that boost of vitamins and nutrients.
While their flavor is mild, it can be strong at times. Peas work best when paired with sweeter items (in a green or non-green smoothie), such as fresh berries or mangoes.
Another plant-protein powerhouse is broccoli. Broccoli contains about 4g of protein per serving and is easy to blend in just about any blender. The flavor is mild and can go in just about any smoothie, from a fresh green one to a fruit your even chocolate one.
The stems blend the best. You can buy frozen, chopped broccoli, or save the stems next time you buy a head of broccoli. Simply chop the stems and store them in your freezer, adding a handful to your smoothie.
If you are looking to add a bit of juiciness, without adding additional sugar from fruits, cucumbers are the way to go. They make your smoothie extra fresh and juicy, while upping the liquid and hydration in your smoothie.
If you have a high speed blender, you can slice these and add them in. If you don't have a high speed blender, you may need to peel your cucumber first.
When you are ready to make your green smoothie, make sure you keep it simple by trying just one or two greens. Spinach is the best place to start, since it blends in almost any blender and is pretty tasteless in a smoothie. After you figure out a recipe that works for you, experiment with adding other greens and vegetables, balancing out the stronger flavors with sweeter and juicier fruits such as citrus, pineapple or mango.