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Green is the color that’s definitely in this season… especially when it comes to the smoothies you’re making! Unfortunately, many people who would otherwise adore a really yummy green-based smoothie shy away from adding crunchy veggies like kale, collard greens, mustard greens and parsley to their smoothie creations because they aren’t sure how to properly add them. Truly, it takes a bit of trial and error to make the perfect green smoothie, but it won’t take you forever to get the hang of it. Our quickie guide below will help you understand how to start your journey to green smoothie nirvana!
Step One: Choose Your Fruits
Surprised? We’re not even going to start with the greens — we’re going straight for the sweet stuff! Fruits will help make your green smoothie taste a little less… well… like a blended house salad. The most easily on-hand fruits at most regular and organic groceries are bananas, oranges, strawberries, grapes, blueberries and pitted cherries. Opt for already-frozen varieties or make sure to freeze a few. They’ll make the smoothie colder, which always seems to please even picky taste buds. Yep, we’re talking about the little minions who turn their noses up at the idea of eating anything that’s green!
Step Two: Choose Your Liquid Base
Since we’re not talking about juicing here, but about making a traditional blended smoothie, you’ll need a liquid base. Most green smoothie enthusiasts prefer using coconut milk, coconut water or almond milk. Stay away from juices, but feel free to use soy or cow-based milk if you want. It’s your smoothie, after all! You could even add a dollop or two of yogurt, although the yogurt isn’t going to add enough liquid on its own. Another liquid addition is a few ice cubes; again, this makes the smoothie very chilly and more palatable.
Step Three: Choose Your Greens
We’re finally to the greenery! You can choose almost any kind of greens that you like, although you might want to stay away from those with incredibly strong flavors, like kale, for your first smoothie. Spinach can be a nicer gateway to the path to green smoothie making. Basically, if you enjoy the taste of a green in raw or cooked form, you’ll probably like it as a part of your smoothie.
Step Four: Blend the Greens and the Liquid in a Blender
Now comes the big production: Blending your greens and liquid! In general, you want about two cups of liquid to around two cups of greens. Pulse the blender as needed so all the leaves are crushed up properly. Don’t hesitate to really mash it up! Remember that it’s okay if it looks pretty watery; you’ll be adding the fruit next!
Step Five: Blend Your Fruit with Your Green Smoothie Base
Now comes the fun part! Add all those fruits — about two to three cups, depending on your preferred sweetness — and turn your smoothie into the most outrageously delicious treat on the planet! You might be surprised at the color it turns; berries have a habit of making it look purple. Hey, it doesn’t have to look green to be green!
Step Six: Add Other Items, If Desired
Taste your green smoothie at this point. Does it need a little more sweetening? Raw honey or stevia can do the trick; just try not to overload it with sweetness, and never use artificial sweeteners like aspartame. If you want a booster, you can always add a dollop of almond or other nut butter (a tablespoon will do), chia seeds or cinnamon.
Step Seven: Keep Trying Your Own Recipes!
Now that you have the hang of a basic green smoothie, it’s time to try your own recipes. Be adventurous and opt for fruits like mango, kiwi and pomegranate when they’re on sale. You can even add a bit of avocado for a smoother texture. In the end, it’s all about making a green smoothie that you — and your loved ones — will actually drink and enjoy!
Oh, and here’s a big bonus: Once you start to adopt a green smoothie lifestyle, you’ll find that you’ll begin to crave them. This is a huge benefit because your body will finally be desiring the right kinds of nutrients, rather than the fast food, highly-processed variety.
Photo: Joanna Slodownik