I have talked here before about my love for smoothies but I haven't told you yet about my fondness for the green ones. Yep, green smoothies!
Don't rule this out so quickly, if you can go past the green color I promise that you will be surprised by how delicious a fruit smoothie with a bit of greens can be.
I have tried a few combination already and every time I am blown by how much I like this. Maybe it is an acquired taste, maybe not. In my case I already loved all fruits and veggies so it wasn't hard to find these smoothies delicious, but as it is recommended with all foods I would tell you to try at least once, and if you don't love it at first then try it one more time. Vary the fruits and/or the greens and I am sure you will find a combo that suits your taste.
What happened to me was that after trying it a couple times I started craving the green goodness more and more. Sometimes I would have a green smoothie on the afternoon and I could not wait until breakfast the next day to have another. I believe that all the nutrients give my body such a good feeling that it actually keep asking for more. (Seriously, it is really energizing to have a green drink - juice/smoothie - in the morning, or at least I feel this way)
I don't have a juicer (yet...), so I make green smoothies, but if you do have a juicer than you are up for a treat as I find that green juices are totally delicious, plus they are easy to drink and may provide you with a whole bunch of vitamins in one cup.
The difference between the smoothies and the juices is that the smoothies contain the fiber of the fruits/veggies, the vegetable and fruit pulp. The juices is just the liquid part of the produce, which is where all the vitamin and minerals are. Both are healthy and delicious and will provide you with very good for you nutrients, but smoothies are a bit more filling depending upon what you add to them. I actually feel good drinking the smoothies as I am also getting the fiber (which, uh.. it is much needed in my case... but anyways, lets go back to the post's original subject)
I wish there were juice bars here where I live as I really enjoyed having green juices at the Reading Central Market when we went to Philadelphia last year!
The juice below had carrot, pear, kale, and spinach. The pear gave it the best flavor, it was "pear"fect! :-)
Making a green smoothie is the easiest thing to do, just as with other smoothies all you do is add your fruit + veggies to the blender and whiz it away. You can add water and/or ice depending on how thick you want it. I like my veggie smoothies more on the not too thick side, so I usually add water to mine. But sometimes depending on what veggie or fruit you use you won't need too much water. Cucumbers for example is a good veggie for juicing or making smoothies as it adds a lot of water to the party.
When I make my smoothies I add the fruit on the bottom along with the liquid and then put the green leaves on top. Your blender will look like this:
On this particular smoothie I had 1 pear, 1 big chard leave and 2 handfuls of spinach.
But don't be alarmed, you won't get a full blender full of green goo, because after it blends it will reduce down to this:
Look at the bright green color!
Make sure to blend well. Depending on your blender it might take a couple of minutes to get everything smooth, just don't give up. (I can't emphasize here how much I LOVE my Vitamix, makes the smoothest smoothies ever! I plan to dedicate a post to talk about my vitamix soon)
My favorite combination for green fruit smoothie is: 1 cup mango chunks (I use frozen from Trader Joes), 1 inch piece of cucumber, and 2 handfuls of spinach, it is the best tasting one in my opinion. It is sweet, creamy and delicious, you can barely taste the greens on this one, the mangoes make this ultra special! The cucumber here is not necessary, I used it once and liked it, but if I don't have I don't fret and just omit it. It is wonderful just with mangoes and greens.
Back in the summer when berries were in season and amazingly delicious I used top my smoothie with raspberries, made it ultra good! From this pic you can see how thick I like the mango + spinach smoothies, but you can always make it more or less liquid-y to suit your preferences. This combo provides my favorite shade of green smoothie, it is bright and green, so pretty!
After having that delicious juice in Philadelphia I recreated it at home but into smoothie form, using 1 small pear, 1 small carrot, 1 big leaf of chard (didn't have kale that day) and a big handful of spinach. It was one of the best ever!! I also made this same one using apples and it was just as good! (I like pears more than apples though...)
I have also made this without the carrot and it is again really delicious, and a bit less thick and filling, which I like since sometimes carrots can be a little gritty and overpower the flavors if used too much.
The last one I made was this morning for breakfast. I wanted the pear + spinach again but didn't have any pears, so I used what I had on hand: 2 cups spinach, 8 cherries, 1 big slice of papaya. It turned out a bit darker than usual due to the cherries but the flavors were delicious, I gobbled up my smoothie along with breakfast in no time! It was gone so quickly that I almost didn't get the picture in time. The cup was full to the brim when I started drinking it, I had to stop and go get the camera in order to snap a pic before I downed it all.
I also added two drops of stevia to this one as I thought it needed a bit more sweetness (maybe due to the tartness of the cherries?). By the way, always taste it and adjust to your preferences. I like using either stevia or honey to sweeten my smoothies. If I want honey I add with everything else since I think it mixes better that way, but if using stevia I wait to taste and see how much of it I need. When I use mangoes usually I don't even need sweetness, same with the pears (actually, most of the time I won't sweeten my green smoothies or juices). Plus spinach has a little sweetness to it too, but taste is subjective so go with what your taste buds like better.
The combination for green smoothies are endless, you can vary the fruits, you can vary the veggies... your imagination is the limit!
My tip: start by adding a little bit of green at a time. When you first make a green smoothie use more fruit than greens. This way you won't be overwhelmed by the green flavor and your palate will slowly adapt and warm up to it. Add 1/2 cup of greens for the first few times, then slowly increase the amount and see how you like it. I started using 1 cup and now I usually add 2 cups of greens, and I feel like that is enough for me - I like to taste the fruit in it too! :-)
As far as green goes you can use spinach, romaine lettuce (makes a delicious and sweet smoothie, I love it!), chard, kale. Parsley adds an interest flavor to all veggie smoothies, but I haven't experimented paired with fruit much.
Veggies I like are carrots, beets (both of these I like in small amounts though as they can be a bit "earthy"), cucumbers. Some people like celery, I don't like celery at all so I never add to mine. Ginger also adds delicious flavor, if you like ginger then by all means try it, it gives it a bite to it that is good, especially when paired with lemon and a touch of honey.
For fruits my favorites are mangoes, pears, apples, papaya, all berries, avocado, cherries.
A lot of people like green smoothies made with bananas. Even though I like bananas by themselves I don't like adding them to my smoothies (green or not) because all I can taste then is... bananas, which is what most people like to taste, they mask the flavor of the greens with bananas. So if you are a fan of bananas then definitely try it, it is certainly the most popular fruit in smoothies (again, green or not!).
A few drops of lemon adds tons of flavors to smoothies and green juices too.
I am still experimenting and trying new flavors everyday, so I will keep posting more as I find new combos I like. And please definitely let me know if there are some pairing of fruits and veggies you like, so I can try it too!
One thing I wanted to mention, even though I believe it goes without saying, is to try and choose organic produce if you can. The fruits and veggies themselves will be more fresh and flavorful (and sweeter) and consequently your smoothie will taste like that too!
That's it, a bit of my favorite green smoothies shared with you all! And if you want ideas, take a look at Angela's Green Monster movement page, it is full of ideas too.