Green Smoothies 101: How To Make a Green Smoothie (and how to make it taste GREAT!)

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Are you a green smoothie-er? Have you tried them but didn’t like them? There are some tricks to make green smoothies (a) smooth! (b) taste good (c) extra nutritious, and we are going to cover all those today.

I started making green smoothies about 6 or 7 years ago, as I was writing eat, drink & be vegan. I remember it well. I went to a local raw foods class with my sister, and we sample a green smoothie that night. At first I was hesitant. “Drinking” greens seemed so odd! But, once I tasted it, I realized I could do this! They taste pretty good – and I’ve made them taste even better over the years as I’ve understood how to combine components.

Why bother with green smoothies? Why not just eat salads or saute greens?

1- Convenient. When hustling through the day – maybe commuting, eating lunch out of the house, running with the kids or to meetings – a green smoothie is a guaranteed quick and easy way to get the plant-powered goodness of green leafies in your diet! While I make them in the mornings, they can be made any time of day – for a light lunch, afternoon snack, or evening treat. Yes, they can be a treat. Promise.

2- Nutritious. In short, you can get plenty of fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and abundant minerals and vitamins in a hydrating green smoothie, with ingredients that are also alkalizing for the body. Many of us may not eat a lot of raw kale or collards – or dandelion greens or parsley. Or, maybe not in the amounts that we put in a green smoothie. Before drinking green smoothies, I ate leafy greens, but not much kale or collards. Plus, every day I add a good amount of fresh parsley in my green smoothie. You now know that parsley is an nutrient-packed green, right? Add some to your smoothie, and it’s bright and energizing! Trust me, I add it every day and hubby has no clue he’s drinking parsley. Or dandelion greens. One day I’ll tell him.

3- Kiddos. My girls aren’t green smoothie drinkers, but I think that’s because I make them in the morning, and they have heartier breakfasts before school like oatmeal or waffles with almond butter. Our eldest likes them, and when she is training for hockey, she drinks them knowing they are giving her extra nutritional perks and helping boost her immunity. Our younger girls have a “greens” connection with them, and so while they will eat lettuce and asparagus, and green beans and zukes, they do have that mental block about drinking the greens. But, I hear from parents all the time that make green smoothies for their kiddos. So, give them a try, your wee ones just may become lean-keen-green-drinking-machines!

4- Digestible. For some people, having a liquid meal can be easier on their digestion. Just try not to drink your smoothie too fast. Take sips and allow it to meet the saliva in your mouth and swallow – rather than chug. I don’t think many of us actually chug smoothies, but when they taste very good we can drink them a little quickly!

5 – Allergen and Dietary Specific-Friendly. For those of you that are gluten-free or soy-free, plant-strong, oil-free, or nut-free, green smoothies are a beautiful way to incorporate many healthful ingredients with flexibility to YOUR dietary needs and preferences.

So, let’s get our green on! Here are some tips to get you drinking your greens:

Choose your greens. First, get to know your greens. If you are intimidated by dark leafy greens, that post will help you immensely. My favorite leafies to use are kale and collard greens, with a hit of parsley! They are robust, store well in the fridge for a few days, and are very nutritious with more absorbable calcium and iron than greens such as spinach and Swiss chard. But, spinach and Swiss chard still offer many nutritional benefits, so don’t rule them out. And, if the swiss chard is gloriously fresh from the market at your store and on special, while the collards look homely – the choice is simple. Also, milder tasting greens like spinach and chard – or even romaine – are great “starter” greens for making smoothies. If you are new to the green smoothie business, start with something like spinach or romaine, and work your way into stronger-flavored greens such as kale. Try blending spinach with kale; once you get the knack of fruit-to-greens proportions, this will also help you determine how much sweet fruit (e.g., banana, mango, and pineapple) to combine with the greens for the best flavor. Recently I’ve been using dandelion greens in my smoothies. I never thought I would. I grew up seeing them as weeds that my parents would curse for covering our lawn. So, they didn’t appeal to me. But, I tried them recently in my smoothies and now they are in regular rotation! They don’t store as well as kale/collards, so if you buy them, use them within a day or two. You can also experiment with other greens (ex: beet greens) and lettuces (ex: escarole, red leaf lettuce), though I wouldn’t recommend spicy greens such as arugula or mustard greens in a smoothie— they are just too strong and peppery. Save those for your sautés and salads!

Wash and stem greens. Some greens can hold more grit, so fully submerge the greens in a sinkful of water, then rinse and shake off the excess water. Be sure to dry your extra greens before refrigerating. Use a salad spinner or shake to dry well. Once they are mostly dry, I store in the fridge by loosely wrapping in a dish towel, and placing inside a large resealable plastic bag (leave unzipped). I find the greens keep well for a couple of days, don’t get soggy and rot, and stay nicely crisp. With such greens as collards, chard, and kale, you’ll want to separate the leaves from the thick stems. Holding the leaf in one hand, run your fingers of your other hand down the length of the stalk to strip the stalk (separating the leafy portion from the tough stem). The more tender parts of the stem (at the tops) will usually tear away with the leaves, and this is okay—they are tender enough.

Fruits – Which to Use, Proportions, and Frozen

  • Frozen bananas and mangoes: Adding these sweet fruits will (1) balance the bitterness and grassiness of the greens an (2) create a creamy consistency. Bananas are an obvious choice because most of us have them on hand. Greenish bananas, stay on the counter—you’re not welcome to this smoothie party! Let your bananas overripen, and then peel, slice, and store them (in large resealable bags or in other airtight containers) in your freezer. If you aren’t overly fond of bananas, try frozen mangoes or peaches! My friend Melissa West had to modify her diet and eliminate bananas. We talked about how to make smoothies without them, and frozen mangoes were my first suggestion. Check out Melissa’s video where she talks about bananas and migraines, and also gives great tips for a breakfast protein smoothie. Mangoes are very sweet, and also lend a subtly creamy texture. I keep bananas in my freezer, and regularly buy bags of frozen mangoes. Either or both combine well with other fruits—and those not frozen—for a delicious smoothie. Frozen pineapple also works very well, but it is VERY sweet, so use less, or add in combination with more veggies. If using bananas or mangoes that are fresh and not frozen, you may want to add ice cubes in place of water for your blending, to chill your drink, as using all room-temperature fruits will give you a warmish smoothie (not the greatest).
  • Seasonal Fruits: Also include seasonal fruits for your smoothies. In the winter, along with my frozen bananas/mangoes, I add either apples, oranges, pink grapefruit, or pears. In the spring and summer, you can use melons, peaches and nectarines, grapes and berries (red and purple berries will change the color of your smoothie, more on that soon). All these fruits will help counter any harsher notes in the greens.
  • Lemons/Limes: Citrus are very alkalizing for the body, and lately I’ve enjoyed adding some sourness to my smoothies with the addition of one small lemon. Simply peel and add (including any seeds). You may particularly enjoy lemons/limes if, in general, you don’t like a lot of sweet foods.
  • Berry Interesting: Fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are, of course, delicious in a green smoothie—and very nutritious. Even when not in season, most of have a frozen stash. The only thing you need to know about using red or purple berries is that the color of the smoothie changes. No longer will it be a vibrant inviting green color; rather, a more swampy brownish color. But if you can ignore the color aesthetic, by all means, include some berries! On the other hand, if you want to mask the green color (for children OR adults!), then blue or purple berries such as blueberries, blackberries, or açai pulp work magic.
  • Avocado: Green suprise! Technically avocado is a fruit, though not often thought of as a fruit because it isn’t juicy or particularly sweet. While it won’t lend much sweetness to your smoothie, it will add a luscious creaminess to your smoothie (as well as nutritional benefits), so try adding half an avocado to your mixture and see how you like it.

Other Veggies

Even though my focus is on getting the leafy greens into your smoothies, let’s not forget that there are other veggies worthy of joining the smoothie club. And green smoothie veterans might appreciate lessening the fruit proportions to favor more vegetables. I posted this chart on facebook recently, showing how cucumber is in the melon family.

fruitandvegetablefamilies

I often add cucumber to our smoothies, it adds a light melon flavor without added sweetness. Also try adding carrot with mangoes/oranges/peaches! Start with smallish measures (perhaps 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup), as some vegetables impart strong and bitter flavor tones. Cucumber is rather mild, with a melonlike flavor, so you might try adding more. I have even added a small amount of beet to a berry-green smoothie. Yes I did.

Add-ins

Smoothies are the perfect place to get in nutritious bits and bobs that you might otherwise find tricky to include in your diet. Try:

  • Hemp, flax, or chia seeds
  • Nuts (or nut butters, such as like almond)
  • Goji berries, cocoa nibs
  • Blackstrap Molasses (will turn your smoothie dark, but good hit of iron, plus calcium)
  • Spirulina (confession: I have a hard time with spirulina, but I know others quite like it (and can eat it off a spoon – really?!). It is an extremely nutritious food source, so go for it if you can!)
  • Ginger – fresh ginger is a great immunity booster!
  • Nutrient-Dense Powders. I hesitate to call them ‘protein powders‘, because it conveys the message that we need to add protein to our smoothies. Still, many of these powders are very nutrient-rich, not just in protein but also fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. My favorite is the Vega Energizing Smoothie powders. vega Note: I tried the Vega powders years back and the flavors just didn’t work for me. But, these shake ‘n go smoothie infusions taste TERRIFIC! I especially love the Tropical Twist and the Vanilla Almondilla. If you like making creamy smoothies, the chocolate is amazing too. I typically add 1- 1 1/2 scoops to our smoothie batch, which makes 2 smoothies. Melissa also talks about the Sun Warrior protein powders. I haven’t tried those yet (have you?). Side note: Melissa also has some juicing videos if you are keen to learn more about juicing.

Blending

You have all the elements, now you need to make your green drink deliciously smooth. Trust me when I tell you that you need to blend the heck out of your smoothie! A high-powered blender like a Blendtec makes this an easy job. But, before I had my rambo blender, I used a standard blender and also an immersion blender. They just required a little more time – and also the frozen fruit needed to be cut in smaller pieces prior to freezing. With a Blendtec, you can pretty much throw whole frozen bananas and big ol’ chunks of frozen mango in there – in can take it. Point is, you want to make it smooth, not still grainy or chunky or with bits of leaves floating about. Quick story: When I went away to Summerfest last year, my parents-in-law were visiting. Bless her, hubby’s mother tried to make him a green smoothie when I was out of town. It was still in the fridge when I returned. It wasn’t smooth, and at that point, not too pretty. ;)

So, you truly need to blend it until beautifully smooth! It can be thick, as you can always thin with water, but definitely smooth. Ergo smooth-ie. Blend until the greens are so pulverized that they are no longer visible, other than infusing your smoothie with a beautiful green color. If using a high-powered blender such as a Blendtec, simply run the whole juice cycle, and if needed, pulse again afterward if any chunks of frozen fruit remain. Kale leaves can take longer to fully blend than spinach or chard (especially depending on your blender). I find that frozen fruits, such as banana and mango, also help the blender cut through the greens. Add 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of water to get everything moving. You can add more later to thin, if desired; the amount of water needed varies depending on the proportion of thick fruits, such as bananas, and the amount of very juicy fruit, such as melon or orange. Start with less, then add more if you need to. Better to have a thick smoothie that can be thinned rather than a watery smoothie.

Taste Test!

After blending, dip in a spoon to taste before serving up. If you need more fruit to balance the sweetness – or water to thin, add it now. You can also opt for coconut water to replace part or all of the water, or even non-dairy milk (though I don’t care for milk in green smoothies, but it can make them creamier). Once you’ve made a dozen or so green smoothies, you probably won’t need to taste-test, as you’ll have a sense of proportions needed.

I have a couple of greens smoothie recipes in my cookbooks, including this “Apple-A-Day Smoothie” (recipe here).

greensmoothie101

But, once you start making smoothies you’ll realize that you don’t need to measure ingredients. At first it’s helpful to understand proportions, but soon you’ll be a green smoothie pro and blend with creative abandon! Until you’re there, here are a few more examples of smoothie combinations. But, know that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many combinations, you just need to experiment to find your favorites. I’m including kale and collards here as the base green, just because they are the ones I use most and they offer the most absorbable calcium and iron. Certainly chard or spinach can be substituted for kale and collards. I’ve also started with 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of greens, but by all means increase the ratio of greens to 2 cups or more as you become accustomed to the flavor. These suggestions should yield two pretty large smoothies, but measurements are quite approximate, so modify as you need.

Orange Juicius: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, one apple (core removed, skins intact), one orange (peeled), 1 to 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Tropical Twist: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves, about 1 cup of frozen banana chunks, 1⁄2 to 1 cup of frozen mango chunks, 1⁄2 cup of fresh pineapple (cubed), 1⁄2 cup of cucumber chunks (optional), 1 to 2 tablespoons of Vega Tropical Tango, 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Immunity Zinger: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves, 1 to 1 1⁄4 cups of frozen bananas chunks, one large or two small apples (core removed, skins intact), 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of frozen mango chunks, about 1⁄2 tablespoon of peeled ginger, 1⁄2 peeled lemon, plus enough water to get it all moving.

Berry Blaster: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries, one apple, 1 to 2 tablespoons of Vega Vanilla Almondilla, 2 tablespoons of goji berries, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Purple People Feeder: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1⁄2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries or blackberries, 1⁄2 cup of purple or red grapes or one red apple or pear, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Smooth Talker: 1 to 11⁄2 cups of kale leaves, 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1⁄2 cup of honeydew melon (cubed), 1⁄2 cup of cucumber, one orange or 1⁄2 cup of fresh pineapple (cubed), 1⁄2 avocado, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Orange Blaster: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves; 1 cup of peach, nectarine, or mango chunks; two oranges (peeled); 1⁄3 cup of chopped carrot; 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of frozen banana; 1⁄2 cup of vanilla nondairy yogurt (optional); plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

If you have Let Them Eat Vegan, you can find some of this smoothie information starting on page 26. I’ve edited/added/updated some things for this post, but if you have LTEV, you can quickly flip to reference when ready to blend!

So, do you green smoothie? What are your favorite combinations? Share some of your own tips and favorite ideas!

80 Responses to Green Smoothies 101: How To Make a Green Smoothie (and how to make it taste GREAT!)

  1. Ericka says:

    My smoothies aren’t coming out smooth I use the nutribullet am I putting to much stuff in it?? Or nit letting it blend long enough??

  2. Is it OK to freeze my smoothies. I would like to make them for the week and take them to work.

  3. Tonia says:

    I’ve been trying to find a quick and nutritious breakfast as I usually don’t eat anything, but by lunch I am starving…Made my first Spinach, canned pineapple and banana smoothie using coconut milk and a dash of cinnamon. I’m not loving it so much???? It has a bitter taste with a pineapple aftertaste. I used a handful of greens, 3/4 cup of coconut milk, 3/4 c crushed pineapples and 1 small banana. I was so hoping to find something I wouldn’t have to choke down… Suggestions anyone????

  4. lynn says:

    hi, thank you for all the helpful tips, hubby and i are just starting and this is great, i will be making my shopping list and get going on these drinks. thanks again.

  5. Pat says:

    I am allergic to citrus, all kinds, as well as strawberries,cantalope ,watermellon, and tree nuts. Is there anything I can substitute for them, especially the citrus?

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Pat, you can use other fruits in green smoothies. My faves are frozen mango, pineapple, and overripe (sometimes frozen) banana. They are my go-to fruits, along with lemon (which I realize you can’t have). So, try some of those!

  6. Kirsten says:

    This was really helpful thank you!! I have a question, is baby kale as good as regular kale? I just bought some and find it’s great in my smoothies. I’ve never tried regular kale in my smoothies though. I add chopped pecans for a burst of protein and a slightly different taste. My blender is pretty basic, the cheapest one I could find, but a little extra time and I still have yummy nutritious green smoothies every morning :)

    • Dreena says:

      Great, thanks Kirsten. Yes, you can use baby kale. Sometimes those packages of baby kale are fresher than the bunches – if so, go for it!

  7. Dana says:

    I love making and drinking green smoothies, I wonder is there worry of two much greens? I usually make a large blender full and drink two 20 oz containers in a day made with two cups of Spinach and 2 Cups of Kale and sweeten with differnt fruits, what every is on hand and usually a banana. I read some stuff online, that Kale can cause kidney stones and mess with your thyroid and Spinach has Sodium Nitrate in it. I love my green smoothies so much and feel great, but I don’t want to cause a kidney stone or other issue? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Dana

  8. Dayna says:

    My 4-year-old isn’t opposed to the taste or color of green smoothies (we call it monster juice), but he dislikes the “chunks” (as he calls them) that he gets in his straw when the greens are not completely liquified. So I throw greens and a bit of water in my food processor and let it run…like forever. (It’s a good thing my processor is fairly quiet!) After 10-20 mins of processing, the chunks are gone. I make pretty big batches of green liquid and keep it in the fridge so it’s handy in the morning.

    • k lambeth says:

      I do not like smoothies with chunks in it either. I had what I thought was one of best blenders for making smoothies; the ninja. The smoothies made with the Ninja always had chunks in it so I rarely ever made smoothies until I bought a nuti-bullet about a month ago. For the price it does an excellent job and is fast, easy to clean and does a satisfactory job of breaking down vegatables, fruits and seeds to a liquid state with rarely a chunk in it. I bought mine for 60 dollars at a local fleamarket and it was new.
      k lambeth recently posted..14 Recipe Ideas for New Year’s Eve!My Profile

      • Kimberly says:

        I currently own a Ninja. I made one smoothie with spinach and it was ok but the one I just made with kale has little green chunks in it :( Texture will ruin something for me. So no matter how long I blend, the Ninja just can’t do it??? Guess I will try to find one like yours if you say it works good cause I will definitely not keep making green smoothies if I know there will be chunks. Thnks for your post!

  9. Debra Siglin says:

    Hi my daughter has a Blendtec and I love going to her home to use it. I would love one of my own. To make my sauces and green smoothies. We are vegan and boy does it make recipes easy to make.thanks. Debra Siglin

  10. Mj says:

    If you run it on the soup setting it does the trick better then the whole juice or smoothie setting

  11. Kerry says:

    Hi my name is Kerry, I am from jamaica in the Caribbean island,I am 27yrs old 5ft 2inches 180lbs. My problem is this I want to loose weight I was wondering if I can have a green smoothie low calories for my breakfast eat a healthy lunch and have another smoothie for dinner is that a good thing am doing yes are no? The next question is where am from it is very difficult for me to get spinach,kale,collard, so I was wondering if I could used regular lettuce callaloo for the green? Will it affect my health yes are no?

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Kerry, I’m not a nutritionist, and so not able to advise you on weight loss. There are plant-based dietitians and nutritionists you can consult with about weight loss if you need. As for the greens, you can certainly use other greens in smoothies though, like lettuces or even frozen spinach.

  12. Matt says:

    Great site :-)
    I have a Kenwood Smoothie2Go blender. It’s great. You actually use the blender as the cup to drink out of. You get 2 and flip open lids. So sometimes I drink them on the tube on the way to work:-)

    In a huge salad fan so my smoothies are usually based around them.

    Here’s my favourite:

    1/4 English cucumber
    1 organic tomato
    1 large handful of spinach
    2 large romaine lettuce leaves
    1 organic beet root with greens
    2 kale leaves
    Cucumber juice as a base

  13. Amy says:

    Do theses smoothies have to be used right after they are blended or can they used for workday mid afternoon slump ?

  14. Amy says:

    Do these green smoothies need to be used right away or can they go to work with me for that afternoon slump ?

    • Dreena says:

      Amy, if you want to take them to work, be sure to keep them chilled until you have it later in the day. I’d make them extra thick, then add some ice so that will melt down while in the fridge and thin it out for later. Enjoy!

  15. Amy says:

    Do these green smoothies have to be used right after making or can they go to work with me for that afternoon slump ?

  16. Alexis says:

    Lovely post! I’m very new to green smoothies and this post has helped a lot. This may be a silly question but does it matter what fruits I add to my smoothies, taste wise? I sometimes don’t have all of the ingredients you put in your recipes and I just wanted to know if there were any combinations I should avoid?

    • Dreena says:

      thanks Alexis! You can really use whatever fruits you like best. Keep in mind that frozen bananas make the smoothies creamy (as do frozen mangoes), and blue/red fruits will turn the smoothie a brownish color (ex: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) – but they still taste great!!! Other than that, just have fun! :D

  17. Cucumber says:

    Vega powders are amazing. Tons of amazing information in here.

    Thanks,
    C
    Cucumber recently posted..Green Spinach Smoothie with Apple, Lime and OrangeMy Profile

  18. Karla says:

    I know this question is silly. But I have been trying to lose weight and I thought that doing a green smoothie for dinner would be a great idea. Would you recommend the smoothie as a meal replacement? Or just as a afternoon snack? I am very excited to try all of these new recipes. Thanks for the amazing post.

    • Dreena says:

      Karla, I have one for breakfast, but usually need another snack before lunch. If you want to make it more of a full meal, I’d be sure to add some nut butter or hemp seeds, and also some protein powder like the Vega Energizing Smoothie. I’m not a nutritionist, so not in a place to advise about weight loss in general. These are my tips for making it more filling as a breakfast or small lunch. Hope that helps (and not silly)! :)

  19. Laura says:

    Never tried Green Smoothies before but am trying to make some lifestyle changes ;)….I am not vegan, but trying to get more greens in my life!

    I will be trying this afternoon and let you know how it goes!!!

  20. Jane says:

    what blender is best to purchase for green smoothies: I’m considering these two because of price limitations. I’m single.
    Nutribullet? or Hamilton Beach Single Smoothie Blender? (and what
    is the exact “model number” of the single blender?
    Great to find you online and will continue.
    Jane

    • Dreena says:

      Jane, I highly recommend the Blendtec. I’ve had one for years and love it, use it 2-3x/day. I have the twister jar too which is perfect for salad dressings and sauces and smaller batches of things like puddings, smoothies, etc. The Blendtec link is on my page, you should see it on the rhs of the post here. Hope that helps! (and welcome to my blog) :)

    • Sara says:

      Jane, I’ve owned the little Hamilton Beach for two or three years now and I like it very much. I only make fruit smoothies, so I’m not sure how it would work on greens, but it does a great job on hard-frozen fruit, so I think it would be fine. The only drawback is that it has a tendency to develop an air-lock bubble at the bottom of the container, so if it hangs up you just need to stop it and poke a knife blade into the bottom to break the bubble. Then it works again. I usually have to do this two or three times, but it only takes a moment, and it does make lovely thoroughly smooth smoothies.

  21. Zoe says:

    Hello,
    I’ve discovered that my smoothies taste great when I put a few shelled walnuts into the greens. The walnuts have such a strong flavour that they overpower any grassy taste. I dont have to sweeten the drink or put in as many fruits to improve flavour. Also found that the Nutribullet is great for making smoothies. Costs about $100 but there’s no stopping to scrap the sides and it came with different size cups to drink there or to take on the go.

  22. Heather says:

    I love green smoothies and I’ve been drinking them for years. I love your website and I purchased Let Them Eat Vegan! – thank you – it is fantastic!
    One day at work I bought a spinach salad for lunch and it just wasn’t doing it for me (dressing on the side) so I popped it in my Vitamix (yes I have my old one in my office) – it had strawberries and nuts in it, I added some mixed frozen fruit from my stash and a banana and it was delicious! This made me chuckle because otherwise I would have chucked the salad but I made lemonade out of lemons!

    • Dreena says:

      What a grat story, Heather! Pretty resourceful of you to have those extra things handy at work. I swear, having a high-speed blender can pretty much save the day! Thanks and cheers, -D.

  23. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the link and the mention Dreena. Most of all thank you for being there for me in my darkest hour and helping me through the first days of figuring out how to substitute foods when I was feeling my away around in the dark in my early days of learning to deal with migraine disease. You were and continue to be an angel in my life. I love and appreciate you so much. You make such a difference in the lives of so many. With much love and gratitude, Melissa

  24. Lauren says:

    Hi Dreena, thanks for the info/recipes. I am new to green smoothies and mostly use chard and kale. Today I saw purple kale in the shops and was wondering if it is just like green kale with same nutrition and taste? I thought it might be nice when I’m using blueberries as the colour mixed with green kale is a bit off putting!! Thanks!

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Lauren, I don’t know of any specific nutritional differences between the purple/green kales. I suspect it might be higher in some of the antioxidants found in purple/blue fruits and veg, but really now sure. It’s such a nutrient-dense vegetable that you should feel free to choose the variety you love best based on taste/texture, and just run with it! Enjoy!

  25. oooh thank you! I have been struggling to get through the day, my chronic fatigue has been kicking my butt lately with all the weather changes it has intensified even more. I have digestive issues on top of that as well. My daughters have recently suggested a detox and greens. I happen to have all these ingredients, looking forward to this smoothie recipes in the morning. :)
    healthy smoothie recipes recently posted..Nutritious Raspberry Smoothie RecipeMy Profile

  26. Skeet says:

    I would like to add hemp seeds or hemp powder to my smoothies for an extra protein boost. I’ve used chia powder before and don’t taste the chia which I like so I’m wondering if you can taste hemp in a smoothie? Thanks for the wonderful information!

    • Dreena says:

      Yes, I use hemp seeds in mine daily. Start with 1 tbsp, see how you like it. Really, I find they make the smoothie a little creamy more than anything. My fave combo is greens with some cuke, frozen mango, orange/lemon, vega tropical tango scoop and then the hemp seeds. Works a charm! :)

  27. I recently got some beet greens from the garden so I’ve been adding those to smoothies! I usually just do spinach, but I’m trying my best to change it up. I like the spinach, chard and kale blend from Trader Joe’s–so convenient! If only the bags were a little bigger :) I’lld definitely be trying chard and kale more often for the calicum boost!
    Alexis @ Hummusapien recently posted..Paleo Almond Butter and Jelly Swirl BarsMy Profile

  28. Jane says:

    Tried whole peeled lemon for first time in green smoothie just now – definitely improved it, it took away the earthy taste that the greens sometimes impart and actually meant i needed less maple syrup! the zingy quality of the lemon shone through nicely! Thinking now that sorrel would work well? Thanks Dreena!

  29. Laura says:

    This is such great info! Thanks Dreena! I have a smoothie everyday for breakfast.. but definitely wanted some new ideas to mix it up!! I am not a huge fan of sun warrior, especially the plain kind but haven’t tried the vanilla. Lately I’m hooked on a Blueberry/ Chocolate smoothie with greens and all sorts of other stuff (a lot that you already mentioned). I’m also a huge fan of Dandy Blend for when I feel like a coffee I will add Dandy Blend and make a dessert like smoothie (no greens..lol). Have you tried Dandy Blend/ do you like it?

  30. Liz says:

    Did you know that you can freeze kale for smoothies? I wash it, dry it, chop it up, and freeze in a zip lock. Pull out just what I need for today’s smoothie. Works great!
    Liz recently posted..Do You Know Your Conversation Karma?My Profile

    • Dreena says:

      Great tip, Liz! I can’t tell you how many times I have accidentally popped my kale into the freezer instead of back into the fridge, lol… I should have remembered that as a tip. ;) Thanks for adding it. :)

  31. Cathy says:

    Great post, very helpful. Don’t know where I came across this but I have started using my citrus in smoothies with the peel in tact and really like it. I don’t find it to be bitter. For me very flavorful. I like using all the fruit, not just the inside.

  32. Laurie says:

    Fantastic post, Dreena! Thank you for all of the time it must have taken to put together for us! I also wanted you to know that last night I made your Sweet Balls from your Plant Powered 15 and my family LOVED them. My husband usually eats all my plant based recipe trials with satisfaction but not always enthusiasm and delight (like I do!) . . . but he RAVED about the sweet balls so they are definitely a winner! We dipped them in sweet chili sauce and they are delicious! Such an easy yummy recipe!

  33. Laurie says:

    Fantastic post, Dreena! Thank you for all of the time it must have taken to put together for us! I also wanted to know that last night I made your Sweet Balls from your Plant Powered 15 and my family LOVED them. My husband usually eats all my plant powered recipe trials with satisfaction but not always enthusiasm and delight (like I do!) . . . but he RAVED about the sweet balls so they are definitely a winner! We dipped them in sweet chili sauce and they are yummy!

  34. Chelsie says:

    Great guide Dreena! And yes, I support the consensus that the SunWarrior products are delicious. I haven’t tried the Vega smoothie blend but I use the VegaOne often and then SunWarrior.

    Also – for kids. The way I introduced my boyfriend’s kids to green smoothies is make a smoothie with blueberry and some sort of chocolate (raw cacao, chocolate protein or even just a tsp or 2 of cocoa powder) and then the smoothie is so dark in color they couldn’t even tell there were greens in there. After a few weeks of woofing them down I told them about the greens and they thought I was joking! Now I’ve taught them out to make them themselves -and even the 6 year old does an awesome job and never skimps on the greens. It’s great!

  35. Debbie says:

    Great post! I have been making green smoothies for a few years! Yesterday I actually dumped a half made salad that had arugala in it, and I actually liked it! It had a little bit of oats, kale, peppers, cuke, banana, black strap molasses. Yea I will pretty much put anything in my smoothies! I like the SunWarrior hemp protein powders. I do like the Vega’s you mentioned, but find them a little sweet so more like a dessert.
    Thanks again for your post on all things green smoothie!
    Debbie recently posted..Monday Musings… can you say Kale powered salad?My Profile

  36. Ivy says:

    I use water; a banana; frozen mango pieces; kale, spinach or another green; a tablespoon of hemp seed; perhaps some avocado on rare occasions; and vegan dha. Sometimes it’s delicious, sometimes not. Sometimes I can get it really thick, sometimes my Vita-Mix gives me trouble and I have to thin it out with more water in order for it to mix well. Thank you for this resource.

    By the way, whenever I use berries, I hate the color. I much prefer the green color. :)

    • Dreena says:

      Funny, Ivy, me too. As much as I might enjoy the flavor with berries, I routinely go back to my standard green mixes, b/c the color is so vibrant it just feels good to drink it! Plus, I love the mango flavor prob more! Thanks for chiming in!

  37. Wow, you’ve STACKED this post with so, so, so much information. Love it! I’m a green smoothier through and through. I’ve been drinking them about as long as you and have loved every one of them.
    Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit recently posted..Summer Mayo-free Potato SaladMy Profile

  38. Marsha says:

    Wow, $500 or so for a BlendTec. I really want to add a green smoothie to my day, but I can’t afford a machine like this. Are there methods that will work using a Magic Bullet? I would get a good blender if that would work ($100 or so I could do).

    • Dreena says:

      Marsha, yes, I made them for years with a standard blender and even an immersion blender. You can still do it – just requires little more ‘help’ from you than the blender! Blendtec is type of appliance that you have for life, and it will def make them that much smoother (quicker) than a standard blender… but you can still make them with a regular machine. :)

    • Pat says:

      I have the nutribullet, which has a more powerful motor than the regular magic bullit. It makes great smoothies and handles chunks of frozen fruit and ice just fine. costs about 100.00 or less if you buy at bed bath and beyond with a 20 percent coupon.

    • Jolie says:

      Nutribullet is excellent!

  39. wanda says:

    i have a ninja food processor blender… will that be strong enough to blend kale/apples, etc? i have used it for frozen fruit with no problem.. nuts and spinach.
    I had thought i’d need a juicer to be able to use collards and kale, and apples.

    • Dreena says:

      Worth a try, Wanda! It’s a blender attached to a food processor? If it has good motor power, might work just fine!

    • Mags says:

      Wanda, I’ve used a Ninja to make green smoothies–mostly with spinach, but it works quite well. I have to stop and scrape down the sides, but you really only have to blend it on high for a minute or so, scrape, blend again.

  40. Lakshmi says:

    Thank you, thank you, I have to trying to get my courage up to try green smoothies once again. The few times I have done them all I did was gag and gag some more. So thank you so much, I am going to freeze some mangoes tonight and try in the morning.

    • Lakshmi says:

      whoops my computer did it again, well at least courage is spelled right in this one.

    • Dreena says:

      Really glad to hear that Lakshmi! They can be really awful, or really good! I encourage you to give it another few tries, see how it goes. :D (I’d love to hear if they work better for you too!)

      • Lakshmi says:

        they worked allot better, no gagging. Now it see if the vega makes them even better. Had to order on line since I live in the middle of nowhere. Now if one is going to freeze kale for smoothies should you cook the kale first or just freeze it raw?

        • Dreena says:

          That’s a GREAT step forward! I think you’ll enjoy the extra flavor boost from the vega. If you are freezing the kale, freeze it straight up, raw. :)

          • Lakshmi says:

            Thank you that is good to know, last week planted lots of kale in the garden, now as long as the rabbits are not getting it, I will be set for the winter.

  41. Lakshmi says:

    Thank you, thank you, I have to trying to get my courge up to try green smoothies once again. The few times I have done them all I did was gag and gag some more. So thank you so much, I am going to freeze some mangoes tonight and try in the morning.

  42. Lisa says:

    I’ve been drinking green smoothies for 18 months. I tried several combinations, and this is my favorite:
    2 c water; 2 handfuls Kale; 2 handfuls other green (spinach, collards, arugula, chard, etc); 1 Tbsp each hemp, flax, and chia seeds; Blend until liquified. Then add: 1/2 ripe banana; 1/2 apple; 1/2 raw beet; 1 c frozen blueberries; 1/2 c frozen dark sweet cherries; 1/2 c either pineapple, peaches, or mango. Blend for 1-2 minutes.

    I do not add “protein” powders or supplements because they are fractionated fake foods, and unnecessary. I use a Vita Mix.

    I started drinking green smoothies as an experiment because everyone said “You will feel amazing!” I haven’t noticed any change in how I feel. I have had tons of energy and felt amazing since becoming vegan 30 years ago. However, my skin became softer and smoother, and my cholesterol panel, which is always good, became even better! My LDL (“bad cholesterol”) dropped from 97 to 77. I am 57 years old.

  43. Angi says:

    I wanted to love Sun Warrior but no dice. I find it too gritty, no matter what i mix it with and even with changing proportions. The new vega one is awesome, as are the smoothie mixes.

    • Dreena says:

      Great to know that, Angi. I learned about another product just yesterday from Christy Morgan (The Blissful Chef)… the PlantFusion “Phood”. I haven’t tried the new Vega ones yet, so that’s a great tip – thanks!

  44. WHOAH! This is an amazing resource. I’ve been doing a green smoothie every day for breakfast for years now and have never looked back.

    My youngest (20 months) is the kind of kid you can’t talk to until she has her morning smoothie. There were literally tears and a major tantrum this morning because her smoothie was not ready when she got out of bed. Not sure if I should be scared or proud?

    Anyways – thanks for this amazing resource, you rock Dreena!

    • Dreena says:

      Now that’s the kind of thing I love to hear as a plant-powered cook and educator – that your wee girl isn’t sorted until she has her green fix. Atta’ girl! LOL, be very proud Jacqueline, and maybe just a bit nervous. ;)

      (p.s. love WHOAH responses)

      • Stephanie Jackson says:

        Hi, thanks for allowing a response. I’m just starting to really get in to the juicing. I would love for your to recommend a green smoothie that great for overall health if possible. I hate what I am doing but I want to continue….I use kale, spinach, garlic, beets, flax, cucumbers, carrots sometimes and then something sweet…..pineapple, apple. So anything will be most helpful. Really trying to help my boyfriend who is borderline diabetic. Can you send me a recipe please. Thanks so much God bless!

        • Dreena says:

          Hi Stephanie, I’d cut out the garlic for sure – too strong/savory. Also, I’d remove the beets and carrots and try going with a straight green/fruit smoothie to start, play with proportions and then it’s easier to switch things up. Pineapple a great add-in, also frozen mango/banana and also citrus (I love peeling a lemon and adding it whole to puree). I do add cukes to mine as well, they are very mild like a non-sweet melon – so keep using some! I have a recipe here on my blog for a green smoothie, plus a full section on green smoothies in my book “Let Them Eat Vegan” – info here: http://plantpoweredkitchen.com/books/ Good luck!

  45. Ricki says:

    Oh, my goodness, Dreena, SUCH amazing info–and RECIPES!! I love, love, LOVE green smoothies and can’t wait to try all of your versions here. I tend to use kale as my go-to green, but sometimes spinach, romaine, or chard. . . wasn’t crazy on collards as I found them fibrous. Do you have a trick you use? Or maybe I just didn’t blend enough?

    • Dreena says:

      Oh, thanks Ricki!! I love using collards, I don’t use the stem, but find they blend really well. I always puree with some frozen fruits tho, I do find that helps pulverize all the seeds and fibrous bits. You have a rambo blender, right? thx my friend!

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