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.
Step 1 – Add A Liquid
A liquid is necessary for mixing fruits and greens in your blender. It’s impossible for most low-end blenders to make a green smoothie without some added water. Not adding enough liquid might make the smoothie too thick.
The amount of liquid you will need to add will vary depending on your blenders make and model. I have found that high-powered blenders like the Vita-Mix need slightly more water than lower-end models. This is because a high-powered blender does a better job at pureeing the fruit and greens and it needs more water to thoroughly mix them. A low end blender doesn’t blend as thoroughly and may produce a slightly chunky smoothie where separation occurs.
I used to only add about four ounces to my old blender, but my new Vitamix needs eight ounces since it blends much more thoroughly.
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).
Step 2 – Pick Your “Base” Fruit
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”).
Avocado and coconut meat can also help thicken your smoothie while adding more calories and healthy fat for a meal-replacement shake. I typically only use no more than ¼ of an avocado in any smoothie recipe I make.
Step 3 – Mixing Flavors
Flavor fruits are optional. They do enhance the flavor of your green smoothies as well as boost the overall nutrition. I like to use berries, citrus fruits, pineapple or other strongly flavored fruits. I like to find fruits that will complement the base fruits I use.
When making a green smoothie using more than one fruit, like a banana and strawberry, then use slightly more banana than you would strawberry. For example, two bananas to one cup strawberry would provide a nice flavor combo while preserving the smoothie texture.
It’s easy to come up with interesting and tasty green smoothie ideas by looking at the fruit juice aisle or the yogurt section in the supermarket. Millions of dollars in product research has done the legwork for you, so look at yogurt labels, fruit juice, and fruit-flavored snack packages for inspiration.
I’ve even gotten smoothie ideas while looking at scented candles. A wonderfully fragranced peach-ginger or a citrus-cilantro candle stirs up curiosity and ideas for new smoothies to try.
My favorite flavor combos are:
Banana (base fruit) with strawberry
Mango (base fruit) with pineapple
Pear (base fruit) with orange
Apple (base fruit) with blueberry
You can get creative with your smoothies by flavoring them with 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.
Step 4 – Pulse! Pulse! Pulse!
If you own a Vitamix blender, then skip this step. Your tamper tool will power through a pitcher full of ingredients like nothing.
However, all other blenders will perform better if you 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.
Step 5 – Add Your Leafy Greens!
If you’re not blending green smoothies, then you are missing out on a potent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Don’t worry, you will not taste them! Greens are essential because they play a vital role in overall nutrition and should make up a significant portion of your diet in order to achieve optimum health.
Before you wrinkle your nose at the notion of drinking spinach, let me tell you that when blended in a green smoothie, the fruit masks the flavor of any veggies you put in. I’m serious! Give it a try! It’s a perfect way to get your greens without tasting them. You can even sneak them into your kid’s diet too!
I started off with fresh baby spinach and now use primarily dandelion greens, romaine lettuce (I stuff the entire head in my blender!), kale, chard, parsley and any other organic leafy green I can find. (Read more about suggested smoothie greens.)
Fresh baby spinach has a mild flavor, so start with that and gradually increase your dose to a large handful or two in each smoothie. Your body will thank you for it!
The recommended percentage of greens to use in a green smoothie is 40% greens to 60% fruit. You can start at a lower percentage and work your way up as you get used to it and even boost your greens beyond to 50, 60 or 70%.
Blending greens in a regular blender can be hard. We have a Vitamix blender and we LOVE! It easily blends greens into a creamy smoothie without leaving chunks and it does it in half the time of a regular blender. Read more about why I love my Vitamix.
Step 6 – Now Blend It Up!
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. Otherwise, blend on high for anywhere from 30-60 seconds or until all ingredients are whirling away, your smoothie turns bright (or dark) green, and it’s smooth as silk!
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 and leave out tough bits of core from pineapple and other fruits.
Try not to 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 reduce oxidation and nutrient loss.
Optional Smoothie Additives
Your green smoothie is nutritious enough on its own. But if you really want to go all out for a healthy kick, you can use your daily green smoothie to deliver extra protein, vitamins and superfoods to your diet.
Boost protein with a high-quality protein powder (I recommend a brown rice, hemp or sprouted protein supplement) or spirulina (a type of edible, protein-rich algae).
It’s unnecessary to use a powdered greens or wheat grass supplement if you drink a green smoothie on a daily basis.
While you can add a powdered or liquid vitamin to your green smoothie, I do not recommend this since doing so may lead to a vitamin or mineral overdose. The only exceptions are vitamins B12 and D, neither of which are found in the fruits and vegetables you use in green smoothies.
Green smoothies are the perfect vehicle for delivering superfood supplements to your body. Try raw cacao and maca root powder for energy, Goji berries for protein, and sea vegetables like kelp or dulse for iodine.
Flax and chia seeds add a super boost of plant-based Omega-3s in your green smoothies.
I encourage you to give your taste buds a chance to adjust to the natural sweetness of fresh fruits. However, if you really feel the need for an additional sweetener I recommend adding extra banana or a couple dates to your smoothie. Otherwise, use as little agave syrup (“nectar”), honey or stevia as possible. Avoid table sugar, corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
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. Start with this favorite beginner recipe, then work your way through over 300 of my green smoothie recipes that I’ve posted on this website!
Green Smoothies For Weight Loss, Detox and Specific Health Goals
Do you want to learn how to make a green smoothie that contains 50% of your daily value of calcium or iron? How about a smoothie that can wake you up better than coffee. Or a smoothie that can spice up your love life?
Green smoothies do more than just taste great and provide general health benefits. You can make smoothies that target specific health goals you might have by using certain fruits and greens together. But you need to know what those ingredients are and why they work together.
My Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss program contains everything that I know about maximizing the health benefits of green smoothies. You’ll learn fruit and greens pairings, you’ll get hundreds of recipes as well as in-depth answers to over 115 questions on smoothies, health and nutrition.
Also included is my 4-week weight loss program, the Green Smoothie Master Chef Course, Detox In 4 Days and my latest book, Green Smoothie Remedies & Prevention that features over 200 green smoothie recipes addressing 45 health concerns based on research collected from over 140 published scientific studies.
Find out how I lost 40 pounds, lowered my cholesterol and dramatically increased my energy and fitness with the Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss program today!
Read more articles about green smoothies.
Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss Program and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.