For the 29 days, I have been doing an experiment. I have cut out all processed sugars from my diet – only “sweets” are fruits, and the occasional drip of agave nectar in my teacup. I have done the sugar-less thing before, and it feels good to keep that addiction in check.
The sugar detox has provided a fun way to experiment with my tried and true smoothie recipes. I have shared several ingredients over on Twitter and I got some good feedback, so I thought I would share a few recipes over here for good measure!
First thing to remember: the key to green smoothies is the fresh ingredients! With the warmer weather just around the corner, a lot of fresh greens will be available soon. In the meantime, you can easily stock up at the market. I use all sorts of greens for my smoothies – my three favorite bases are kale, wheat grass, and spinach.
And the beauty of kale? there are so many varieties! I love them all. In my fridge now – and ready for their closeups are the green curly kale and the lacinato kale:
I try to keep my smoothies heavy on the “green”, so I usually do at least a 2:1 ratio of green vegetable to fruit. Of course, fruit is great for you too, but the point of a green smoothie is to pack a huge vitamin punch – and green leafy vegetables are the sure-fire way to do that.
Aside from the leafy vegetables, I also load up on other green veggies – like celery, cucumbers, assorted sprouts (lentil sprouts and sunflower seed sprouts have nice flavors) and some herbs – like spearmint or peppermint leaves.
For fruits, I like to add something creamy and a little thicker – my smoothies are usually my breakfast and mid-morning snack (two servings) so I want it to stick with me for awhile. Bananas or avocados both provide the base for the whole smoothie. For a touch of sweetness, I like to add one (maybe two) Medjool dates. The choice of fruit is based on your own tastes – I like tropical flavors, so I often add mango, lychee, or pineapple. I also like to add blueberries or strawberries. Fruits like apples and pears can add some nice “bulk” to smoothies with their fibers, but their flavor is easily masked with all the greens. When using apples and/or pears, I like to add a carrot, or a slice of ginger for some more taste.
When I want a protein boost, I add some nuts or nut butter – my favorites being walnuts or almond butter. A little goes a long way, and the nuts also help the smoothie stay with you longer and keep away the hungry growling stomach!
And finally – you need a liquid to bring it all together. There is always water (I often use ice cubes because many smoothies just taste better to me “chilled”), and my other options are almond milk and coconut water. You don’t need a lot of liquid, because the fruits and veggies do liquefy, but they have to have something to start with!
My “recipes” are really just based on trials that I have done and enjoyed. I encourage you to do the same! Please note: You do need a good blender to make green smoothies! If your blender doesn’t cut the greens up and turn the smoothie a light to medium green (sometimes even dark green) color – you may have a hard time with the texture. Greens can be a bit stringy, and if you don’t have a taste for that, your “gag reflex” may kick in. I use my Vita-Mix for all my smoothies, and it is one of my most prized possessions (seriously. I want to take it on vacation with me!)
I haven’t noted any yields because a lot depends on the size and juiciness of the fruits/veggies you are using. Green smoothies are easy to “eyeball”. I make a double batch and split into two servings: breakfast and morning snack. I usually use a 20 oz. cup and put leftover in a pint-sized Mason jar and take it with me to work (stored in refrigerator for later)
1 banana (frozen or fresh)
3 or 4 leaves of kale
1 small cucumber
1 stalk celery
1 Medjool date
1/2 c diced mango (frozen works too!)
1/2 c coconut water
1 small “nub” of ginger (no more than 1/4″ – little goes a long way!)
1/2 c ice cubes
- add all ingredients to blender and turn on high until all ingredients are well blended. May need to stop and stir in the middle and start again, depending on blender.
1 avocado (pitted and skin removed)
2 handfuls of loose-leaf spinach (including stems)
1 c wheat grass
1 Medjool date
2 springs mint (you can de-stem if the stem is “woody”)
1/2 – 3/4 c almond milk
1 c frozen strawberries
1 pear, halved and seeds removed
3/4 cup assorted sprouts (lentil, broccoli, sunflower, sesame)
3 leaves of kale
1/2 c almonds (soaked in water for about 30 minutes prior)
3/4 c almond milk
1 squirt of agave nectar
1/2 c frozen peaches
Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe to share? I am always up for trying something new! If you start to experiment with some, let me know what you are trying!