If you’re trying to work more vegetables into your diet, green smoothies are one of the easiest ways to do it. Sweet and refreshing, they’re nutrition powerhouses, packed with vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals. What I like most about green smoothies, though, is the immediate energy boost. They never fail to get me going, even on those sleep-deprived mornings when I’m so tired I feel like I might not make it through my shower. (Much less the rest of the day!)
Like any routine, though, making green smoothies can become ho-hum. So I was thrilled when my friend Jason shared a recent New York Times blog post on Facebook, Drink Your Greens. The post’s author, Martha Shulman—who for years rolled her eyes at the very idea of green smoothies—recently decided to give them a whirl. And like most people who try them, she fell in love.
What made her post so helpful, though, was that she brought a “beginner’s mind” to the smoothie-making process. Without preconceived notions about what green smoothies “should” be, she came up with combinations that sound so scrumptious, I want to run to the store right now to buy the ingredients. For example, her pineapple basil smoothie, where basil IS the leafy green. Yum!
4 ways to shake up your green smoothies
1. Try blending your favorite fruity salad
The core ingredients in a green smoothie are fruits and vegetables, so what better way to mix things up than by popping your go-to fruity salad in your blender and seeing what happens? I’m going to try this technique with my Strawberry and Jicama Salad and maybe even my Jicama, Pineapple, and Fresh Mint Salad. I’m also a huge fan of spinach and strawberry salad, so I bet that would make an awesome smoothie, too.
To try: Strawberry-Spinach Green Smoothie by Sheleana at Young and Raw
2. Go beyond greens
While greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce are great, try experimenting with other vegetables, either in addition to or in place of greens. Cucumbers are one of my favorite add-ins, because they make any smoothie taste like it’s on the menu at an expensive spa. (For example, my Honeydew Mango Green Smoothie.) Carrots are another delicious choice.
To try: Orange-Carrot Smoothie by Tracy at Incredible Smoothies
3. Add herbs
Martha over at the New York Times was on to something when she added basil to her pineapple smoothie. Other winning herb-fruit combinations to liven up your green smoothies:
- Fresh mint and watermelon
- Parsley and lemon
- Lavender and blueberries
To try: Fragrant Lavender and Blueberry Smoothie for Relaxation by Katherine at Green Thickies
4. Get baked (sort of)
I love all things muffin, cake, and bread. That said, I have no shutoff switch when it comes to eating any of them, so I can’t keep them in the house! Luckily, I’ve discovered that I can enjoy the comforting flavors of my favorite baked goods in green smoothies. Not only do I end up healthier, but in the summer, I don’t even have to heat up the house. One of my favorites is my Blueberry Muffin Power Smoothie, packed with 10 grams of plant-powered protein. I’m also working on a carrot cake smoothie; half the fun is perfecting the recipe!
To try: Hydrating Banana Bread Smoothie by Heather at Gluten-Free Cat
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to break out the blender and get creative! That said, I’m sure there are other great ideas that I missed. So please leave a comment and share your favorite outside-the-box green smoothie ingredient or tip!