I know a lot of people who are afraid to try green smoothies. My friend Mike, for example, won’t eat anything green at all – except jalapeño peppers. Yet even those who are afraid that green smoothies will taste like . . . well, green stuff, can fall in love with my tropical green smoothie.
Start with the Basics
Green smoothies are a piece of cake to make. Actually, they’re significantly easier than a piece of cake, and better for you, too. You can get as much as 12 servings of greens in one quart of green smoothie per day – more than your doctor recommends, more even than your mom recommends! You can get them all over with in one fell swoop and never have to dread eating your vegetables the rest of the day. And, if you follow my tropical green smoothie recipe, you won’t even taste those greens. I promise.
But first, here are the basic instructions for making a green smoothie. Once you learn them, you can get as creative as you want with whatever green stuff and fruit you might happen to have in the fridge. (Hint: try putting in a bunch of blueberries for a purple smoothie – disguise those greens!)
Start with two cups of cold water in your blender (love, love, love my Vitamix!). For a little extra sweetness and a nice punch of potassium and other healthy electrolites, you can use unsweetened coconut water instead of plain water. Add raw greens – spinach, kale, romaine lettuce (great for green smoothie virgins), beet greens, whatever, up to the four-cup mark. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec blender, you can put the whole leaves in. If you’re using another type of blender, you might want to cut the stems out of the larger greens, like the kale, or you’ll get a green chunky instead of a green smoothie.
I like to add a teaspoon of flax oil before turning on the blender; it helps prevent the greens from foaming up, plus some good fat in the mix helps you absorb all those nice green vitamins and antioxidants better. Turn the blender on (don’t forget the lid!), and let it run for a bit to do a good job of blending up the greens.
Now Make it Delicious!
Now here’s the good part for all you veggie-haters: add fruit. If you’re like me, you’ll want your green smoothie COLD. Using frozen fruit or adding some ice cubes in place of some of the water helps with that. You can add any kind of fruit you like or have on hand, but some are better at disguising the taste of the greens – especially for those new to green smoothies. My favorite fruits to add are pineapple and mango, so that’s what I put in my Tropical Green Smoothie. Here’s the complete recipe:
- 2 cups water or unsweetened coconut water
- Several handfuls of greens to bring the level up to 4 cups
- 1 teaspoon flax oil (macadamia oil is good, too, or olive oil if you’re making a more savory green smoothie)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened pineapple chunks
- 1 cup fresh or frozen mango (I assume no one is enough of a sugar-holic as to add sugar to mango, but just in case – unsweetened, please)
Add Essential Oils for Extra Benefits
For extra deliciousness and health benefits, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your green smoothies. Lemon essential oil is especially good at cutting any remaining bitterness if you’ve used some of the stronger-tasting greens, and it is reputed to help detox residue from petroleum products, such as pesticides, out of the body. Ginger essential oil is well-known for settling an upset stomach, and really goes well with the tropical flavors. For the adventurous, try a drop or two of cilantro essential oil – or even use fresh cilantro as one of your greens. Cilantro has a reputation for helping to remove heavy metal residues.
Important essential oil note: Make sure any essential oils you use are FDA approved for dietary use. How can you tell? Read the label. If it has Nutrition Facts, it’s safe to use in food. Many essential oils on the market are either synthetic or have been extracted using solvents; those are not safe to consume.