Green Smoothies – A Sweet Substitute for Salad
If you’ve never tried making green smoothies before, summer is a great time to start. The necessary ingredients are readily available and super cheap, and you’re probably craving a cool and refreshing sweet drink anyway! The hardest part of making good green smoothies is investing in a high-quality blender. Once that step is out of the way, making truly delicious and incredibly nutritious smoothies is easy enough that a child could do it (and perhaps yours will).
This simple take on a basic green smoothie includes lime juice and zest for zingy flavor, and cucumbers for additional freshness and micronutrients. Blueberries and bananas add sweetness and cashew milk makes for a creamy base. It’s a light, low-calorie smoothie that’s kid-friendly and the perfect snack to tide you over in between meals. It also makes a great addition to a breakfast of toast or granola.
However, the best thing about this smoothie is that each serving contains a huge handful of spinach! If you struggle to get the recommended amount of leafy greens into the diets of you and your loved one (and who doesn’t, if we’re honest), green smoothies are a lifesaver. Make them a part of your routine this summer and reap the benefits of improved health.
Build Your Own Foolproof Green Smoothie with This Simple Formula
If you’re intimidated by the idea of ‘making up’ your own green smoothie recipes, don’t be. With a little trial and error, you’ll be well on your way to blending up delicious new concoctions designed with you and your family’s taste preferences in mind. Here’s a handy go-to formula for building your own smoothies – keep in mind that the Cucumber Lime Green Smoothie follows this formula and offers a great starting point if you’re nervous about creating your own.
Green Smoothie Formula (Serves 1 as a meal or 2 as a snack)
- Choose a liquid base (1 ½ cups). My favorite base for green smoothies is unsweetened cashew milk. It’s creamy, rich, and low-calorie. However, other nut milks also work well. You can use juice, water, or coconut water too, but be aware that the resulting smoothie will be less creamy and cohesive.
- Choose your greens (2 ½ ounces or 2 gigantic handfuls). Start out with baby spinach, which is easy to find and mildly flavored. It often comes in 5 ounce tubs – perfect for two smoothie batches. As you begin to gain confidence, ‘cut’ the spinach with smaller portions of darker, bitterer greens like kale, arugula, and/or chard. Also, always blend the liquid and the greens FIRST before adding additional ingredients. This will ensure that your green smoothie isn’t full of unappetizing leafy bits. Don’t be afraid to really blend the liquid/green mixture for a long time until completely liquefied. It makes a big difference.
- Choose a citrus (juice and zest of one fruit). Oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons – they’re all great choices! Citrus adds a wonderfully refreshing flavor to green smoothies and covers any ‘green’ flavor that you may wish to mask. If you’d like to tone down the citrus element, keep the juice but skip the zest.
- Choose frozen fruit (2 cups). Just about any fruit will work here, as long as it’s frozen. My go-to combo is one cup of a high-carb, ‘creamy’ fruit (like mango, pineapple, or banana) and one cup of a less calorie-dense, ‘watery’ fruit (like blueberries, raspberries, or apples). It’s hard to go wrong – just choose your favorites and you’ll be sure to enjoy your results.
- Choose an additional add-in (optional – varies). In this recipe, I added cucumber. You can try other vegetables – like carrots and beets – if your blender can handle the texture, or you can choose something a bit more filling like protein powder, peanut butter, chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds, or coconut. You can even add ¼ cup raw oatmeal to turn the smoothie into more of a meal. Dates are delicious too to add sweetness and richness.
Cucumber Lime Green Smoothie (Serves 1 as a meal or 2 as a snack)
1 ½ cups unsweetened cashew milk
Juice and zest of one lime
2 ½ ounces baby spinach
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-2 cocktail cucumbers, ends trimmed
- Combine cashew milk, lime juice and zest, and spinach in a high speed blender and blend until liquefied, approximately one minute.
- Turn off the blender and add the banana, blueberries, and cucumber. Blend again until creamy and thickened, about a minute more. Enjoy immediately!
- Substitute half of a full-size cucumber if cocktail cucumbers aren’t available.
- If you are drinking this smoothie as a meal, consider adding a scoop of protein powder for added staying power.
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