Any Green Winter Green Smoothie

Winter green smoothie

I have a confession to make. I’m sharing my winter green smoothie recipe with you for utterly selfish reasons.

You see, I’m forgetful.

Every season, as the available fruit changes, I have to adjust my green smoothie making to suit.

And the trouble is, I can’t remember what I did last week, let alone 12 months ago.

So having discovered this amazing delicious, incredibly versatile winter green smoothie recipe, I’m sharing this with you now so I don’t have to try and remember it next year.

Winter green smoothie

I’ve spent the last few months perfecting this magic blend, and discovered that it works amazingly well with every leafy green I’ve thrown at it.

And that’s kind of a first for me.

Previously, I’ve had to remember different recipes for different greens.

You know, pears for roquette, oranges for spinach, paw-paw for chard, etc, and frankly sometimes I can’t be bothered. Or I forget.

And then I make a less-than-wonderful green smoothie.

So when I discovered that this particular formula worked with every green I used – and I’ve tried it with spinach, chard/silverbeet, arugula/roquette, kale, bok choy, chicory, collards and chinese broccoli – I knew I had to find a way to remember it.

Because pears are going out of season now. And although I’m over the moon that mangoes are back in season, so I can make my all time favourite mango and kale green smoothie, I just know I won’t remember this recipe in a few months time.

And I hate reinventing the wheel.

Apples for a winter green smoothie

So what’s the magic formula?

Well, before I share that with you, I need to lay out some things out first.

1. I put WAAAY too much into my blender jug

If you’ve ready my “green ploppie” post, you’ll know that I like to be efficient.

So I jam as much as humanly possible into my blender jug.

Winter green smoothie ready to blend

I don’t necessarily recommend this, because it means you’re way over the “max fill” line and you’re working your blender quite hard.

So the recipe below is actually half what I’d normally make.

But doing the full version works for me.

And if my blender ever dies because of it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

2. There is no “right” amount of greens

When I first started making green smoothies, I read “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko.

And if I’d made my green smoothies the way her recipes are made, even the “beginner” ones, I would have given up on green smoothies for sure.

I just couldn’t tolerate that much leafy greens in my green smoothies. They tasted too “green” and they were downright horrid. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

So I had to let go of the idea that there was a “right” amount of greens to put in, and instead just do what worked for me.

Over the last two years, my body has adjusted so that I can add heaps more greens than I used to, but it’s still nowhere near as much as some recipes suggest.

So please, please, please don’t make the same mistake that I did.

The right amount of greens is as much as you can still enjoy, and not a skerrick more.

Any more is too much. Trust me on this.

A spoonful of winter green smoothie

Think about it, if you add too much, you won’t enjoy it, or even drink it, and you’re much less likely to make another.

I’ve seen people give up on the idea of green smoothies entirely because their first one tasted awful to them.

Which is better? A little bit of greens or none at all?

So what if you only add one leaf? It’s more than you would have had otherwise.

Start small and work up to more, eventually. Your body will let you know, because your smoothies will start to taste too sweet, and then you can try adding a bit more greens.

And greens are packed with so much nutrition, that I believe they’re a powerful addition to any healthy diet.

So I want everyone to succeed with drinking green smoothies.

Winter green smoothie

OK, got all that? Good.

So here’s my awesomely versatile “use any green” winter green smoothie recipe.

Any Green Winter Green Smoothie
Source: 
Diets: Raw, vegan, paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, egg-free, oil-free
Prep time: 
'Cook' time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 serves (1.3L)
 
Ingredients
  • ½-2 cups (20-80g) any leafy green (spinach, chard/silverbeet, kale, arugula/roquette, bok choy, chicory, collards)
  • ¼ cup (35g) hemp seeds/hearts (or ¼ med avocado)
  • 1 med (180g) pear
  • 2 small or 1 large (220g) apple
  • 3-4 bananas
  • 300ml water (more for a thinner smoothie)
Method
  1. Remove any tough stalks from the leafy greens and put them into your blender jug.
  2. Add the hemp seeds.
  3. Remove the stalks from the pears and apples, chop them roughly and place in the blender.
  4. Add the water and blend briefly.
  5. Peel and add the bananas and blend until smooth and creamy.
  6. Add more water if required.
  7. Drink immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.
Preparation
Before: -
During: 15 mins
After: -
Need: Blender
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 325ml Calories: 200

Tips

  • Only add as much greens as you can, and still enjoy the taste. I’ll keep saying this until you get it. When I started with green smoothies, I could tolerate around 50g (or just over a cup) of greens spread across 6 smoothies (8g/smoothie). Now I can add 150g (almost 4 cups) to make 7.5 smoothies (20g/smoothie), but I had to stick with adding around 14g of greens per smoothie for almost two years before I could tolerate any more. Do what works for you.
  • This recipe works for every green I’ve tried, which is amazing. The only one I haven’t tried it with is parsley, so I might have to try that next season when pears come back. Just adjust the amount of greens to suit your tastebuds.
  • I used to add avocado to my smoothies because it gave them a wonderful creamy texture, and helped them to stay blended. But these days I’ve changed to using hemp seeds, partly because I’m a bit obsessed with hemp at the moment (because it’s such an AWESOME food), and also because I’ve started sharing my green smoothies with my dog, and avocados aren’t good for dogs. The hemp seeds add the perfect balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, plus lots of protein (including all essential amino acids) and give the smoothies a lovely creamy texture and taste. Avocado works really well too.
  • If you leave the hemp/avocado out of your winter green smoothie, you lose all of those wonderful healthy fats, but it does become essentially fat-free, and the calories drop by about one quarter.
  • I tend use green pears, usually Packham Pears or WBC, but any green or red pear should work just fine.
  • I tend to use sweet red apples, like Royal Gala, Fuji or Sundowner, but any apple should work well.
  • If you have a high-speed blender, you don’t need to remove the seeds or core from your pears and apples, because they will be blended up completely. Some people have concerns about the small amounts of cyanide in the seeds, but others say they’re cancer-fighting, and I’m just too lazy to bother cutting them out.
  • Make sure your bananas are quite ripe before using them. The flavour does change tremendously with just-ripe bananas compared with brown-spotty ripe bananas, because of the increase in simple sugars, and some suggest that riper bananas are generally better for us. I just like the taste better with ripe bananas.
  • This recipe does make quite a thick green smoothie, so if you like your smoothies a bit runny, just add more water. If you’re a fan of the McDonald’s thick shake, like I used to be, then you’ll love this winter green smoothie recipe. If you like being efficient like me, make it thick, and then add water after you’ve decanted it into your smoothie jars or bottles.
  • If you need to blend your smoothie for longer to make it really smooth, it may get too warm.  Just swap some of the water for ice, or refrigerate (or freeze) your fruit before using it, and this will help to keep your smoothie cool as it blends. It also means that you can drink it cold straight away, or have it warm, whatever your preference is.
  • Always store any leftover green smoothie in the fridge. Usually my green smoothie batches last 2-3 days, depending on how fast we drink them, but I have had smoothies that were 4 days old and fine. However, I always try to drink them within a day or two for maximum nutrition. As we drink 4-5 a day between the two of us, we’ll usually finish a batch in less than 48 hours.

Have an awesome, green-smoothie-drinking day!

~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly

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What others are saying...

  1. Bonnie says

    Trying using raw pumpkin or butternut or buttercup squash instead of the bananas for a real winter smoothie. Far more nutritious than bananas, too.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I find raw pumpkin too starchy for my tastes, but it sounds like it would be delicious.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Jill,

      Quite often I don’t put any ice cubes in and I very rarely use frozen fruit (mostly because I’m too lazy to freeze it in the first place). Usually my smoothie won’t get overly warm because enough of my ingredients have been in the fridge beforehand (usually the bananas, hemp seeds and greens), so the smoothie stays cold enough while I blend.

      If I do add anything, because it’s getting a bit warm, I’ll do about half water and half ice. But if you have frozen fruit, I would definitely use it. And I usually put my smoothies straight into the fridge to drink the next morning, so it doesn’t matter if they’re a little warm after blending. But if you want to drink it straight away, I would definitely make it as cold as you can – they taste better that way!

  2. Tricia says

    I just stumbled onto this post while searching for smoothie recipes that last a few days. Currently I just grab a Special K shake in the morning because I like to oversleep and try to be as low-maintenance in the morning as possible. But I need more fruits and veggies in my diet!

    So thank you for posting this because it is the first recipe I have seen that makes me feel okay to not add HEAPS of greens to a smoothie. Your tips were also really helpful. I am looking forward to trying this!

    Have you ever added any type of protein to your smoothies? I imagine if I get an unflavored powder that it shouldn’t mess anything up but just curious if you have tried it.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Tricia,

      I’m so pleased that my suggestions have helped. Green smoothies have made such a difference to me that I really want others to succeed with them too, so it’s great to hear that you’re feeling inspired. It’s SO important to do what works for you, rather than feeling like you have to do what someone else says is right.

      Up until recently I haven’t been adding protein to my shakes – they’ve always just been greens, fruit, water and a bit of fat (avocado or hemp seeds) – but in the last few weeks I’ve started using hemp protein. It’s not flavourless – in fact it has quite a strong nutty taste – but both Paul and I have started new exercise programs and we want to make sure that we’re giving our bodies the protein they need to build muscles, and hemp is an AWESOME source of plant protein, because it contains all of the essential amino acids. So it’s early days, but it seems to be working well, and you can always adjust the amount of protein, whatever type you decide to use, to make it taste good. And it does make it extra creamy too!

      HTH

      • Tricia says

        Perfect! I’ll see what I can find next week when I go shopping. Right now my Special K shakes have a decent source of protein so I don’t want to lose that in my mornings.

        Thank you!!

  3. faith says

    it’s such an encouragement to me about taking the subjective “right” amount of greens. “Which is better? A little bit of greens or none at all?” – this really resonates in my heart as I am a beginner and I eh….don’t really like raw greens, thanks!

    • Nikki says

      Hi Faith,

      Thank you. I’m so glad this helps you out, because I want you, and every other beginner just like you, to find your way to eat more greens, even if it just starts with a single leaf! ♥

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