Have you jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon? I admit I have. While I’d added handfuls of spinach to smoothies in the past, I never did it with any regularity—until recently when a friend gave me a sip of a beautiful leaf green concoction she’d just blended up. “Mmmmm,” I professed, VERY good. Why wasn’t I routinely mixing these up, especially for my girls who head out to school before dawn? Now I am.
My aforementioned friend had just paid a bundle for a similar drink from Manhattan’s Organic Avenue (OA) and was determined to create something like it at home. OA’s fourteen-ounce Green Monkey smoothie costs $10 a shot.
My interest was piqued so yesterday I finally stopped in a midtown outpost of the popular juice bar (not sure how I’d managed to stay away until then). The store’s clean white interior accented with bright orange graphics is aesthetically pleasing and the neatly displayed drinks are packaged in cute milk-bottle–shaped containers.
It was hard to resist the promise of health, energy and detoxification. As much as I would have loved to purchase a three-day cleanse, I managed to escape with only a Green Berry Protien Smoothie in hand, saving myself $200.
So the test came: how did it taste? Not bad. It didn’t elicit the same response as the homemade smoothie. It was fresh, I could taste mint and lemon, and although quite thin, the drink was not completely without texture, there was a slight powdery aftertaste. In defense of OA though, this particular smoothie contains spirulina powder and the homemade one did not.
Not realizing the extent of this vitamin-packed fiber-rich drink trend, I searched “green smoothie” on Amazon and over three dozen books came up, including The Green Smoothie Bible, Green Smoothie Magic, and my favorite, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies. There are plenty of recipes out there for those ready to dive head first into a forty-day green smoothie program. For me, I’ll settle for a couple times a week. The refreshing, zesty flavors brighten my taste buds in the morning and for mere cents, I can blend up delicious smoothies for a family of four. Needless to say, it’s helping further my February pledge: Eat More Veggies!
Refreshing Green Smoothie
Note: This recipe really just serves as a starting point. You can add or substitute most anything here: collards or kale for the spinach, raspberries or blueberries for the apple (the drink will become a murkier green), omit honey, add 1 tablespoon almond butter or a scoop of spirulina powder, add handful of mint, and so on. Have fun experimenting!
1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk
2 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 frozen banana
½ cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 ice cubes
1 teaspoon honey
juice from ½ lemon
1. Put the milk and spinach in a blender and process on high until thoroughly blended.
2. Add the banana, cucumber, apple, and ice cubes and continue to process until smooth.
3. Add the honey and lemon juice to taste.