Today I bring you the ever-so-popular green smoothie. Have you ever had one? If not, don’t be intimidated, they are actually very easy to make, and very tasty to drink. Green smoothies are a quick, easy, and a delicious way to get fruit, veggies, and vitamins into your daily routine. I remember a few years ago when I discovered them for myself, I was totally skeptical; now I love them…and make them frequently at home.
And guess what?! You can too!
Seeing that the last week of January (can you believe it?!) is already approaching, I’m still making strong efforts to stick to a *healthier* 2015. I don’t want to go crazy, but I definitely want to make small tweaks here and there to my day to day that will hopefully lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. Seeing that most of us lead VERY busy lifestyles, I think smoothies are a great way to go. Simple, fresh or frozen, healthy ingredients that can be blended up and even taken on the go. It’s almost too easy right?
What did you think of my Chocolate Avocado Smoothie ? It’s another great smoothie option too!
But let’s get back to today’s variety. The green smoothie is known for it’s green leafy ingredients, typically kale or spinach, some type of fruit to sweeten it up and a healthy liquid to mix it all together. Even though the ingredients for this particular green smoothie is located below, there are tons of ways to customize this smoothie and make it your own.
For this particular recipe, I keep it short, simple and sweet.
For the base: I used a large *ripe* frozen banana (peeled, sliced, and frozen). And a *ripe* Hass avocado, also peeled, chopped and frozen. The combination of a ripe banana and a ripe avocado is amazingly creamy, it’s a fantastic base for smoothies. I also emphasize the ripe factor because your banana and avocado will taste sweeter and be easier to prep for this smoothie.
Other additives: To keep this smoothie sweet and creamy, I chose to go with a 1/2 cup of low fat vanilla yogurt. This is one of the ingredients that you can customize as well. Use fat free, plain, Greek yogurt, or leave it out all together. I really like the flavor, creaminess, and substance it provides to smoothies.
Typically you also add fruit to green smoothies. This helps mask the “green taste” that so many people want to avoid. For smoothies I usually like to add strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc. Pineapple is also a popular choice. However for this smoothie I wanted to keep less fruity, but I still wanted it sweet. That’s how I came around to dates. Yes, ladies and gentleman…dates. The less popular, prune looking fruit that is intensely sweet but not fruity. Luckily I found a canister of pitted California dates in the produce section, score! Again, here’s where you can mix it up and make it your own. If dates freak you out, don’t use them. If you like the safety net of pineapple or strawberries, stick with those.
The liquid: I love, love, love, LOVE vanilla almond milk for smoothies. So that’s what I used. Since I already have the banana, avocado and dates (which are high in sugar) I opted for unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You can also use soy milk, coconut water, or just plain H20.
The Green: The greens are certainly the star of this show in this drink. Once more, use whatever you like, kale, spinach, baby spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, romaine…the options are endless. I prefer baby spinach. Easy to come by, affordable, and mild in taste. It also breaks up great in the blender and I promise you, you cannot, will not taste any kind of “green” or spinach in this smoothie.
One last little thought before I let you go, allow your ingredients to blend well. At least 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t go crazy and blend for 5 or 7 minutes, 2 or 3 minutes should be just fine. This allows everything to combine and break down smoothly. Especially since there are dates in this recipe, allowing a little longer blend time helps break down tougher fruit, and leafy greens so you don’t end up with bit and chunks in your smoothie. We’re aiming for a smoothy, creamy texture.
- 1 large, ripe banana (peeled,chopped,& frozen)
- 1 ripe Hass avocado (peeled, chopped,& frozen)
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
- 4-5 California pitted dates (any kind you can find will work, just make sure their pitted)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Prep before hand. Peel and chop banana and avocado and place into a zip lock bag. Allow to freeze (I usually do this step the night before).
- Place frozen banana and avocado into blender with 1 cup of almond milk, reserving the rest for later. Blend on medium for about a minute or until combined and smooth. Texture will be very thick. Add vanilla, dates, spinach, and the other cup of almond milk. Blend everything together on medium speed for about a minute and then on high speed for another minute. Stop blender and scrap down the sides of the container if needed, or add a little more almond milk if you like a thinner consistency. Blend on medium for about 30 more seconds.
- Pour into drinking glasses and serve immediately.
- This recipe makes two small servings or one large serving.
- Prep time listed above does not included freezing time for banana and avocado. Allow 30 minutes for these to freeze in a zip lock bag. I usually do the prep the night before.