Green smoothies are quick and easy to make and only require a blender, a sharp knife and cutting board. Making a delicious smoothie with a thick, creamy texture is an art.
Fortunately, it’s an art anybody can learn! Once you know the basics, you can make your own creations and never get tired of the same recipes day after day.
What Is A Green Smoothie?
A green smoothie is a smoothie using fresh fruits and dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, collard and even dandelion (to name a few). These smoothies are naturally dairy-free, using creamy fruits like banana, mango or papaya to give them a smoothie texture.
Green smoothies are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber and protein. A typical recipe contains at least 3-5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. The best part is that they taste like fruit and you’ll never know there’s anything leafy and veggie in there!
Are you ready to jump in and make your first green smoothie? Then keep reading!
How To Make A Perfect Green Smoothie
The first step in making a green smoothie is to add a liquid.
This helps blend the fruits and greens you’ll add next, while also preventing the smoothie from becoming too thick.
The amount of liquid you will need to add will vary depending on your blenders make and model, but 6-8 ounces is generally just right.
My Favorite Green Smoothie Liquids: Filtered water, coconut water (from a young, Thai coconut), fresh-squeezed fruit juices (avoid store-bought), nut milks (easily make your own almond, cashew, hazelnut, pistachio, Brazil nut and coconut milks in your blender).
Base fruits give your green smoothie that familiar creamy smoothie texture.
Otherwise, it will be too runny or you’ll end up with pulpy fruit juice (like if you blended oranges and grapes together).
Avoid water-rich fruits like watermelon, grapes and oranges (you can use them in a smoothie, but not as your “base fruit”).
Use complementary flavor fruits to enhance your green smoothie experience.
Sure, the banana in your smoothie is enough to hide the taste of the spinach, but toss in some strawberries or peaches and you add a whole new delicious dimension to your green smoothie.
When using two or more different fruits in a green smoothie, use more base fruit than you do flavor fruits. For example, two bananas to one cup of strawberries would provide a nice flavor combination while preserving the creamy smoothie texture.
My favorite green smoothie flavor blends are:
– Banana (base fruit) with strawberry
– Mango (base fruit) with pineapple
– Pear (base fruit) with orange
– Apple (base fruit) with blueberry
Also try vanilla bean, clove, cinnamon, or even cayenne pepper (great with chocolaty smoothies made with raw cacao). Flavored protein powders will also change the overall smoothie flavor so keep this in mind when mixing fruit.
If you own a Vitamix blender, then skip this step. Otherwise, hit the “Pulse” button now.
Hold down the “Pulse” button until the ingredients are lightly mixed into a “sludge”. Doing this before adding the greens will make it easier for you and your blender.
Dark leafy greens give your smoothies their superpowers!
Don’t worry, you will not taste them at all. When blended in a green smoothie, the fruit masks the flavor of any bitter greens you use. It’s a great way to sneak them into your diet, and your kids diet too.
Start with fresh baby spinach, then work your way up to the nutritional rock stars like dandelion greens, kale, chard, collards, parsley, and even romaine lettuce. (Read more about suggested smoothie greens.)
The “Magic” Ratio: I find that green smoothies taste the best when you use 60% sweet fruit to 40% greens, by volume.
You’re just 30-60 seconds away from dazzling your taste buds and recharging your body!
Blend on high for anywhere from 20-60 seconds or until all ingredients are whirling away, your smoothie turns bright (or dark) green, and it’s smooth as silk!
- Depending on your blender, you might need to hit the “Pulse” button a few times to mix the greens before hitting any pre-set “Smoothie” buttons.
- Unless you have a high-end Vitamix or Blendtec blender, you might need to chop up your greens rather than adding whole leaves or large bunches. If you have large chunks of fruit that won’t blend, try cutting smaller pieces.
- Don’t over-blend your green smoothie. It might take a few times to get the hang of it, but once you do, aim for blending your smoothie enough to drink through a straw, but don’t leave your blender whirling the ingredients for more than a minute at most to prevent oxidation and nutrient loss.
Get more out of your smoothie!
Your green smoothie is nutritious enough on its own. But if you really want to kick things up a notch or two, then try these powerful superfood smoothie boosters:
– Double the protein with a quality protein powder.
– Try raw cacao (chocolate) for extra deliciousness and antioxidants.
– Goji berries provide even more protein and beta-carotene.
– Use maca root for energy and stamina (and maybe a little something extra in the bedroom).
– Sea vegetables (dulse or kelp) add iodine.
– Get your omega-3s using chia or flax seeds.
Now Go Make Some Delicious Green Smoothies!
Now that you’ve gotten a primer on the art of making the perfect green smoothie, it’s time to try them out for yourself.
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Got Questions? Head over to my Green Smoothie FAQ for answers.
Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.