Monday, March 7, 2011

Green Smoothies and Thoughts on Them

Monique, one of my best friends, has for a long time been telling me about Green Smoothies. She loves them, raves about them, praises them. A few months ago I was at her house to watch the LDS General Conference, and we were putting together a haphazard lunch between sessions, and she made us each a green smoothie [see pictures here]. I was surprised how unlike a salad it tasted.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was in the store looking for breakfast foods. I feel like breakfast, more than any other meal, has been taken over by the mass production and sugar culture, (Who has time in the morning to cook any more?) and so I find it hard to find satisfying breakfast foods. I'd been making a lot of omelettes, which were great, but I was getting tired of having eggs for breakfast every day. I love pancakes, but those take me too long to make, so are more of a weekend thing. French toast is actually pretty quick, too, but I feel like I can't make it delicious with out also making it super sugary, thus not the ideal choice for everyday breakfasts.  As I mused on theses things, I found that I'd wandered to the frozen fruits and I remembered Monique's green smoothies. So, I called her up, asked her for the recipe, and started making some smoothies for breakfast.

I'll be honest...sometimes they do taste like salad if you're not careful. But, most of the time they are delicious.

Random memory: Many, many years ago, I was talking with a friend who was describing his in-laws to me. He told me about how his father-in-law made "shakes out of lettuce and spinach and stuff." [I like how I use quotes there, as though I could actually remember verbatim what he said all those years ago...] For a long time I thought that Mr. In-Law must have been a strange dude... Spinach Shakes? Gross.

It was only a few days ago, as I was preparing the pictures for this post, that I remembered what my friend had told me and realized that the in-law must have been making what we now, perhaps he then, called green smoothies. Of course, maybe it was "green smoothies" in the story I was told, I don't know, I wouldn't have known what that meant without the description anyways. I know that I am more food savvy now, but I also think that the popularity of the smoothies are on the rise. In fact, they're all the rage now, almost trendy. When I brought up green smoothies with my friends at work everyone knew what they were and one girl said that she also has been making them for over a month, and also likes them. She said she had heard about them for a while, but didn't want to try them, just cause they seemed too popular. They have the same stigma as yoga: once for hippies, but now for trendy health nuts.

Well, trendy or crazy as they are, I like them, so I am going to keep at it. The recipe below.

Green smoothies have a lot of room for variation, which is one of the reasons I like them. Thus, the description below is probably better called a Guideline then a Recipe

  • 1 C Water (or a fruit juice! I've recently been doing 1/2 C natural Lemonade and 1/2 C water)
  • 2 generous handfulls of spinach, kale, dark green lettuce, etc.
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Banana (The banana is a must. Nothing hides the salad flavor better than a banana!)
  • 1 C frozen fruit (I've been using mixed berries of late)
Other ingredients:
  • Really any fruit will taste good in this. I've sometimes been adding a pear butter that we made last summer, and that gives a nice mellow flavor. Apples would be good.
  • Honey or agave. Sometimes I add a bit of honey to sweeten it. Though, with the fruit juice this has never been necessary. 
  • Dairy. My friend at work said that she sometimes put milk, yogurt, or even cottage cheese in hers. I had recently made some chocolate ice cream and still had the unfrozen base left, so I put some chocolate cream in, and that was good too.
I don't have a very good blender yet, so I've been using a food processor, and I found that the following process works best for me:
  1. Put the water/juice in first.
  2. Add the carrot. Let this blend for a bit so that the carrot gets as liquidated as possible.
  3. Add the greens slowly, in about three batches, and blend until they are liquefied as well.
  4. Add the banana and any other fresh fruit.
  5. Add the frozen fruit.
  6. Blend it all until it is at smoothie consistency.
The following picture is from before I developed the perfect step by step process, so that's why they're all in the blender together. If I had a Blendtec blender I would just put it all in. But alas...they are expensive.

So, there you have it, green smoothies. Once I thought they would be gross, now I enjoy them frequently. They are not as fast as cereal or toast, but they are about as quick as eggs or French toast, quicker still then pancakes or waffles. They are filling, and will keep my satisfied until lunch on most days.

Ever since I was a kid I thought that it'd be great to have smoothies for breakfast everyday, but never did. Now I get to live my childhood dream. Also, I am getting a lot more greens in my diet. So my kid self and my responsible self both get what they want. Besides, it is the only time I have ever been trendy. Win-win-win.

I thought it was essential to make one that was actually green. This one is made without the berries, but extra pear and banana.


  1. This is seriously one of the best green smoothie posts I have ever read. I'm so glad you love them!! And I'm going to link to you, too. :)

  2. Being honest, I've never been convinced by vegetable in smoothies until now. I can't wait to try this in the morning - hoping for a Popeye effect! Cheers for posting - xx

  3. I'm going to try it... Especially one my lettuce crop comes in. Wondering if it will work wiht arugala or cabbage?

  4. Arugala, certainly, though I don't know how that would taste. I think it will work with cabbage if you have a good blender. I had a bit of cabbage in one recently, and it didn't blend as well, making for a kind of crunchy smoothie.

  5. Spinach was on sale so I was able to try it today. It was great! Usually the banana flavor is too much for me, but in green shakes it's perfect! I used orange/mango juice, greek and strawberry yogurt, half a fresh and half a frozen banana and spinach and ice. And lucky enough, the kids thought it was gross so all for me!