Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Recipe


I'm going to argue that you need a green smoothie recipe as part of your morning arsenal. We covered green juice a while back, but this is a different beast. And to that I'll add - it's actually a preparation that is a challenge to get just right. There are a number of variables, and if you miss the mark on any of them - well, no one likes a swampy blender beverage. When I'm in green smoothie mode, here's what I think about: at a base level I want it to be filling, energizing, and nutritious. I like my smoothie to be packed with greens, vibrant (electric!) in color, and smooth, rich, and luxe in texture. Flavor is incredibly important, and because kale (and many other greens) can trend towards bitter, balancing the ratio of greens to other ingredients is important. I thought I'd highlight the green smoothie recipe from Tara O'Brady's beautiful new Seven Spoons cookbook - she did an inspired page on the topic. Her approach and ratios are spot on, resulting in an invigorating, bottom's up, morning kickstarter made from kale, almond butter, almond milk, banana, and pineapple.

Green Smoothie RecipeGreen Smoothie Recipe

Tara calls this her default smoothie because, "even though it's inarguably kelly green, the color isn't it's defining characteristic." She rightly tells us this is a more full-figured sip, with banana as its base. "It is substantial enough to consider a meal, without cumbersome heaviness." She offers up a number of easy variations, and the following is a brilliant go-to.

Green Smoothie RecipeGreen Smoothie Recipe

I'm a little sheepish that I went the green smoothie route related to highlighting Tara's book. It's the sort of thing that is easy to pass over in the midst of other attention-grabbing recipes, but because it's so good, and because it's a recipe I keep revisiting, I wanted to share. Related, I'm so happy to see Tara's book out in the wild now, I've been cooking from an advance copy for a stretch, and loved it from go. It's no surprise to anyone who has followed her through her site over the years that this is an inviting, personal debut cookbook, written with heart, attention, and point of view. See here, and here, and if you already have the book, I was lucky to be able to leave a little note of enthusiasm inside the front cover along with a number of others. Congrats Tara! xo -h

- More Kale Recipes -
- More Drink Recipes -

Green Smoothie

A couple notes - Tara suggests coconut milk as an alternative to the almond milk here. Also, if pineapple isn't in your repertoire, substitute a small apple (cored, cut) and a small orange (peeled, segmented). You can also boost it with spirulina, or wheatgrass, etc., but I've been enjoying it just like this.

2 cups / 135 g stemmed, torn kale, packed (about 1/2 bunch)
1 banana, peeled
1 cup pineapple, cubed
1 heaping tablespoon almond (or nut) butter
1/2 cup almond milk, plus more as needed

Combine all the ingredients in an upright blender and process until liquified. If the smoothie is too thick, carefully incorporate more almond milk as needed, slowly through the feed hole on the lid with the motor running. Pour into glasses and enjoy.

Serves 2-3.

Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O'Brady.

Prep time: 5 min

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Comments


I start most days with a smoothie, and a green one is usually just what is needed to really get me energized! Tara's work is always mouth-watering, and to see your photos of her creation is a special treat all in itself.

May 8, 2015
 

"Swampy blender beverage" is exactly how I would describe my last attempt at a green smoothy! Ugh.... This recipe has encouraged me to try again though!

May 8, 2015
 

Jeanene

Hi Heidi, This looks great, especially for packing in some greens to start your day. I was wondering what kind of kale you used, as some kales can be pretty potent?

HS: Hi Jeanene - I tend to use a lof of lacinato / dino kale - so that's typically what I use.

May 8, 2015
 

This looks like the perfect morning smoothie!

May 8, 2015
 

One can never have too many smoothie recipes.

May 8, 2015
 

I haven't seen this book yet, but this is basically my 'go to' smoothie recipe for a long time. One trick I've found, if you're like me and lack a Vitamix blender, is to blend in stages. Typically I add my almond milk and blend it with a scoop of vanilla protein powder first. Then I'll add my almond butter and 1/2 a frozen banana and blend those well, then my apple (I rarely have pineapple, though I love it) and THEN my greens (kale or spinach). Sometimes I'll add a few leaves of fresh mint if I have it, also. I usually finish by adding a cupful of ice cubes as I like my smoothie icy cold, and finish by blending on high for a further 30 seconds to get things really smooth. I used to just dump everything in and let the machine run, but I found I always ended up with odd lumps and clumps. This method takes the same amount of time, but just seems to come out that much better.

Can't wait to get my hands on Tara's book!

May 8, 2015
 

LOL - love the "swampy" description, which admittedly, mine can sometimes be accused of. I'll be sure to share this with my friends and family who appreciate a more refined smoothie!

May 8, 2015
 

Catherine

I've been green drinking now for the last 30 days, part of a detox. I've learned a lot about greens and drinks....and yes, Kale can make a sludgy and somewhat bitter drink. I make sure I use enough liquid (almond or cashew milk, thin it out with a little bit of water if still too thick), and use a tablespoon of a nut butter to counteract the bitterness. I find experimenting with greens is fun. I like 2 cups of pea shoots, or even a couple of cups of salad greens if I don't have anything else around. I use a protein powder and added fiber(flaxseed), and try to stay away from fruits to keep the high sugar/carbs out. But whatever I use, I feel good all morning, not inclined to snack, and generally a sense of well being.

May 8, 2015
 

sherry s

Recipe looks wonderful (as always). Will make with my early Mothers Day Vitamix gift to myself.
I know they are $$ but the difference so far is remarkable.

May 8, 2015
 

Melissa

I'm gonna argue that the fruit needs to be frozen. It's the only way to get a great consistency. Ice cubes blended in as some might suggest just makes it watery!

May 8, 2015
 

jocelyne

variations on a theme - I use plain kefir as the liquid, I also add some ground flax . Spinach or chard, or beet greens, can replace the kale,. If you add a fruit, any fruit, you will not have a ''swampy'' drink. .

May 8, 2015
 

Kate

I'm curious on your thoughts for "leftover" smoothie. I always run into the problem of making too much smoothie for one person but have not come up with a great way to save the leftovers--I find keeping green smoothies in the fridge overnight results in a change in flavor and texture that is not for the best. Any tips?

May 8, 2015
 

You said it perfectly when you explained that preparation is the challenge to get smoothies just right. They can be unassumingly complicated as we get eager to throw too many things in at once. So I appreciate the thoughtful simplicity of Tara's recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us Heidi!

May 8, 2015
 

Thrilled you've alerted us all to this little neon gem. Just as you said--I'd have missed it amongst Tara's other show-stoppers.

May 8, 2015
 

Faun Skyles

frozen blueberries and coconut milk go well with kale along with a little banana - if you can find baby lacinato kale, it is so much better and not bitter.

May 8, 2015
 

charlotte

not to be a sh*t disturber, but I could've sworn you mentioned in an earlier blog post once that pineapple isn't in your repertoire because it's not local to SF? i bring it up only because when I read your comment it had me feeling guilty about enjoying it and feeding it to my kids all of these years.

HS: Hi Charlotte - Was it this Pineapple Coconut Water? In general, I just don't think about buying them often, but there are times when I see or smell one, and it's incredible. Other times I definitely have a craving for that flavor (and maybe nutrients), and they're also such a nice natural sweetener - especially for things like smoothies. When I do buy them I do consider the source though. I've read some pretty terrible stories - intensive ag-chemical application, farm worker conditions, etc.

May 8, 2015
 

This smoothie sounds so good! I personally think that the tropical fruits - such as banana, pineapple, and mango, make the best smoothies. They make the smoothie extra creamy and delicious. And the tropical fruits go naturally with the suggested coconut milk too.

May 8, 2015
 

Sarah

Heidi, beautiful post and photography (as always). Could you tell me where you found your lovely glasses? I really enjoy their silhouette and perfectly petite size.

May 8, 2015
 

What a colour :D And pineapple and banana is such a magnificent combination as well, thanks for the heads up >( I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead :) x

May 8, 2015
 

I need this in my life. It reminds me of a breakfast green smoothie I lived on while in Mexico. So incredibly refreshing and delicious. I would actually refill my coffee cup and take it to go wherever I went. Lovely green color too!

May 8, 2015
 

Erin

Just made this THANK YOU it was perfect. You're so right about the ratio! I've made so many "swamp things" as you said, and ended up trashing some. My pineapple was fresh but not particularly flavorful, I added a squeeze of fresh lemon (vit C to absorb the iron from kale) and maple syrup (to make it go down easier). I also chilled it in the fridge and found it more enjoyable cold. As always, thanks for the inspiration!

May 8, 2015
 

Lynda

Any suggestions for a sub for the banana? I've developed an intolerance, and I've struggled a bit finding a suitable replacement for the body they add to smoothies like this one....

May 8, 2015
 

Leticia

Kate, left over smoothie--- I make in large quantities. Greens from the garden, picking washing big job. Add fruits for my husband's and plain for myself decant into small glass jars, date, label and freeze. I find this way cuts down on a lot of labour

May 8, 2015
 

Any thoughts on what I can sub for the banana? I have had trouble finding something that works with green smoothies to make them drinkable (I sometimes use avocados but think it'll be too much green for this). I'm unfortunately allergic to bananas.

May 8, 2015
 

This looks soooo crazy good!! Love this for breakfast!

May 8, 2015
 

Thinks post makes me want to get my hands on Tara's book even more than I already did! Balancing a green smoothie is certainly a challenge and it sounds like Tara has managed it perfectly. Lovely post!

May 9, 2015
 

Gorgeous. Green smoothies are one of my favorite breakfasts. I hope that you will post your own green smoothie, recipe, too!

May 9, 2015
 

Yum. Josh brought home some kale from his school garden. Now I know what I'll do with it!

May 9, 2015
 

Tracy

I thought I'd be able to tolerate kale in smoothies once I acquired a Blendtec, but alas, the bushels of lacinato kale I grow every summer must be cooked for me to love them. As much as I adore cooked kale, more than a token leaf in a smoothie ruins it for me.

My everyday summer breakfast is a smoothie of spinach (lots), mango and banana (both frozen), almond milk, flaxseed, chia and a bit of protein powder. (In the cold Minnesota winter, I switch to oatmeal.)

May 10, 2015
 

Monica

A few suggestions...I find using frozen banana will improve the creaminess. My biggest challenge with making smoothies is having all of the ingredients on hand. I find It's very easy to make nut milk with whatever nuts I have on hand -- I keep cashew pieces in my freezer and they're wonderful. When using kale, the bitterness can be reduced with a squeeze of lemon or lime after you've nearly finished blending the smoothie. Mint adds a nice freshness, too and I always add honey at the end.

May 10, 2015
 

Emily

Hello Heidi,

I live in Missouri, and while we have been getting plenty of rain, I'm concerned about the California water crisis. I have a rather controversial question, and I'd appreciate hearing your perspective on it.

I recently learned that it takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond. How much, then, does it take to produce the gallon of almond milk I've been buying weekly for years?

I have stopped buying almond products for now, because I don't want to contribute to the water crisis. Yet I know there are other important factors to consider- the lives and livelihood of almond farmers and their employees, the unknown water consumption of dairy, coconut, and other plant-based milks I might buy instead, among others.

Beyond that, so much of our nation's food supply comes from California. Living in another state, my potential impact on the drought seems to come mostly from my purchasing decisions. I want to make thoughtful, compassionate decisions. I'm curious to know- what are your thoughts on the issue?

May 11, 2015
 

For anyone looking to avoid banana (Lynda, Robin), I think mango would be the best drop in replacement for this recipe. I can't stand the taste of bananas and I made this list of ingredients that can substitute in smoothies to get the creaminess that bananas offer.

Also, for countering the strong taste of kale and other bitter greens, my favorite go-to is lime and ginger.

May 11, 2015
 

michelle

My smoothie preference is to add no milks whatsoever. Just ice and water mixed with is great and feels more hydrating to me especially in the morning. Also, I saved a little money for a long time and finally got a ninja blender which has made all the difference in making smoothies more delicious as they turn out blended to icy perfection. Tip: Try buying frozen kale. Works great!

May 12, 2015
 

Lynda

Thanks @Adam! Great suggestion. Mango does have good fiber/body and complementary flavors with the other ingredients here.

May 12, 2015
 

Rebecca

This is pretty much my default smoothie except I add a hunk of fresh ginger and a dash of turmeric - I love that pungent aftertaste!

May 13, 2015
 

glee

This yummy post and comments make me feel doubly blessed to live in Hawaii where I am actually able to grow my own kale and mint in my backyard, buy local bananas and pineapples and pick the freshest juiciest mangoes off my very own tree. With aloha, glee.

May 22, 2015
 

Anthony

Love this shake. Incredibly nutritious. For those who enjoy pineapples, add another 1/2 to 1 full cup and the sweetness explodes.

February 26, 2016
 

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