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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OK, got all that? Good.
So here’s my awesomely versatile “use any green” winter green smoothie recipe.
- 1/2-2 cups (20-80g) any leafy green (spinach, chard/silverbeet, kale, arugula/roquette, bok choy, chicory, collards)
- 1/4 cup (35g) hemp seeds/hearts (or 1/4 med avocado)
- 1 med (180g) pear
- 2 small or 1 large (220g) apple
- 3-4 bananas
- 300ml water (more for a thinner smoothie)
- Remove any tough stalks from the leafy greens and put them into your blender jug.
- Add the hemp seeds.
- Remove the stalks from the pears and apples, chop them roughly and place in the blender.
- Add the water and blend briefly.
- Peel and add the bananas and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add more water if required.
- Drink immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.
During: 15 mins
- 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.
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Have an awesome, green-smoothie-drinking day!
~ Nikki, Eating Vibrantly