Green Smoothies for Taste, Ease, and Convenience

by Jennifer Cornbleet

Green SmoothieFor the second half of the 20th century, a smoothie meant a sweet beverage made from fruit, fruit juice, ice, and sometimes sugar and milk. Health conscious people might use soy milk, yogurt, or honey, or add protein powder or other supplements. But in the new millennium, smoothies have undergone a revolution. The “green smoothie”, popularized by author Victoria Boutenko in her book Green for Life, is a much simpler and healthier drink. These smoothies are made by blending fresh fruits, leafy greens, and water. Not too bitter and not too sweet, green smoothies are fresh, creamy, and delicious. Kids love them, and “green-haters” crave them. Quick to make and consume, these tasty smoothies are the definition of ease and convenience.

If green smoothies were the only thing you ever did with raw foods, you’d be making a substantial contribution to your health. Greens are nutritional powerhouses, containing vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, protein, and even small amounts of Omega 3’s. Greens are most important food you can eat, but most people don’t eat enough.

For many, the challenge is making greens palatable and digestible. Greens have tough cellulose fibers and need to be chewed very thoroughly. Chewing huge salads can be time-consuming and unpleasant for the beginner, and not always easy to digest. Here’s where the blender comes in. It “chews” the greens for you, breaking down the cell walls, and releasing the nutrients. So in a green smoothie, you’re getting all the goodness of greens without anything superfluous—no sugar or dairy products (as is often the case in regular smoothies) and no salt or oil (as is often the case in salads).

To make a green smoothie, start with a good blender. A high-speed blender such as a Vita-Mix is ideal because it blends the greens completely smooth, including tough stems, and allows you to make up to eight cups of smoothie. But a basic blender will work fine. You just need to remove tough stems, add a little more water, and work in batches if making a larger amount.

Try Apple Banana Green Smoothie (recipe below) for an inexpensive drink made from readily available ingredients. Non-Sweet Green Smoothie (recipe below) is perfect when you want a savory alternative.

You can also improvise your own green smoothie based on what you have in the refrigerator. Since the ingredients are simple—fruit, greens, and water—you probably have them on hand. Here’s the basic formula for one 2-cup serving: 2/3 cup water, 2 cups fruit, and 1 cup greens.

Start with 2/3 cup water in the bottom of your blender, to allow for easy blending. If you are using very watery fruits, such as pineapple, mango, or grapes, you may not need as much water. Then add 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit. (You can use the non-sweet “vegetable” fruits instead if you like—cucumbers, zucchini, and/or tomatoes.) Next add 1 cup of greens. Remove tough stems if necessary, and chop coarsely. The greens can be light, such as celery or romaine lettuce; medium, such as spinach or chard; or dark, such as kale, collard greens, or dandelion greens. You can even include fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, or basil. If your palate isn’t used to greens, start with less, and be sure to include some of the light ones. Finally, blend, adding additional water if needed.

If you want more fiber and Omega-3’s in your smoothie, simply add 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds. If you want more protein, add 1-2 tablespoons raw vegan protein powder. You can also replace the water with a nutmilk, such as Almond Milk, Hemp Milk, or Coconut Milk. Green smoothies make a great meal replacement, usually for breakfast, but even for a light lunch or dinner. You might wish to make 4 cups, doubling the recipe. That way you can have a large smoothie throughout the morning. Store the rest in the refrigerator and have it as an appetizer with lunch or dinner, or as a mid-afternoon snack (most green smoothies keep up to 24 hours).

Apple Banana Green Smoothie
Yield: 3 cups, 1-2 servings

Since apples and bananas are readily available, this smoothie is easy and affordable to make year round.

1 cup water
2 apples, chopped (2 cups)
1 ripe banana
1 cup chopped spinach or Swiss chard
1 cup chopped kale or collard greens

Equipment:

cutting board
chef’s knife, 8-inch
measuring cups
blender
rubber spatula

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator, Apple Banana Smoothie will keep for 24 hours.

Non-Sweet Green Smoothie
Yield: 2 cups, 1 serving

Not too sweet, this smoothie is filled with a variety of nutrient-rich greens. It’s one of my favorites for breakfast or a snack.

2/3 cup water
1/4 cucumber, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 stalk celery, chopped (1/4 cup)
1/2 apple, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped Romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 lemon, peeled

Equipment:

cutting board
chef’s knife, 8-inch
measuring cups
blender
rubber spatula

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator, Non-Sweet Green Smoothie will keep for 24 hours.

Jennifer Cornbleet is an internationally recognized raw food chef and the author of the best-selling book Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. She offers lectures, classes, hands-on workshops, and consultations nationwide. She is a faculty instructor at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, CA. Want to learn more about Jennifer and her raw food recipes? Visit http://www.learnrawfood.com.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Compost happens! by hilloah « RawFoodChef  |  March 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    […] day, and whether you like lemon in your juice or not, you may be able to get a great deal on a Green Giant – we’re having all kinds of specials on green stuff that […]

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