Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Refreshing Greens

I start almost every morning with a green smoothie. Typically in the winter months, I opt for a heartier, non-dairy milk based smoothie... but, this smoothie has been part of the daily routine for many months now. And I'm still not tired of it!

I posted earlier about a green smoothie recipe that is in ed&bv. This one is slightly different, though has many of the same ingredients. The first of which is kale! As I mentioned before, other greens like spinach and chard are very healthy, but the iron and calcium are not nearly as well absorbed. With kale, our bodies can suck up that calcium and iron!! My favorite kale to use is black kale, sometimes called dinosaur kale (since the leaves have a rather reptilian resemblance!), but you can use any variety of kale you like.

Remove the leaves from the stalks. I do this by holding the stalk in one hand, and running my fingers along each side of the stalk to strip it. Add the leafy greens to the bottom of your blender (I use this KitchenAid), and discard the stalks. The other ingredients I regularly use are fresh pineapple, frozen mango, and frozen banana. I buy 1-2 fresh pineapples a week and when ripe, remove peel and cut in chunks and store refrigerated in an airtight container for daily smoothies. The pineapple brightens the flavor and gives a tropical tang, and the mango and banana lend sweetness to the mix - and also a creamy texture. I've been using frozen mangoes, since it makes for quick smoothie prep, and the frozen fruit helps the texture. As for the frozen bananas, I always have ziploc baggies of sliced overripe bananas in the freezer - buy a swack of nanners and get your freezer stocked up!

All you need to do is load in those fruits on top of the kale, and then add a small amount of water to get the blending going - start with a little and then add more if needed. You'll quickly determine how much you'll need each time. Sometimes I add fresh orange juice (one or two oranges) into the blender - particularly if I don't have much pineapple left. Also, typically I add about 1/2 tsp of spirulina powder (for 2 decent size smoothies). Sometimes I add extra spirulina, though not much more since the taste can be overpowering, personally. But, if you enjoy the taste - add more - it's very good for you!

Give the lot a good whiz, until it is smoooooth. You can also use a handblender, as you see in my previous post, though it requires a little more assistance from you! So, if you have a good blender, put it to work! And, then, enjoy your refreshing greens (your body will thank you)!

37 comments:

shelby said...

Green Smoothies are amazing! I love how vibrant yours is.

Laci said...

I've never had a green smoothie, but I'll be sure to give one a try, maybe for breakfast tomorrow morning? I do enjoy fruit based smoothies and nutivia's chocolate hemp shake (highly recormended!), but I never thought of green, leafy veggies in a smoothie- I should be getting more dark leafy greens but, ya know how people slip up a bit... I've recently have grown a love for kale ("chips") but I guess I'll have to throw in a few leaves to my next smoothie! :0 :)
P.S. I don't have a vitamix and I thought this was necessary but I'll give it a try in my weak little food processer...

Anonymous said...

Adding kale to a smoothie is such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing. I'll be trying it tomorrow morning.

Sarah said...

a swack, hmm? ;)

i hate to add pineapple to my smoothie cause it's so good i feel like i have to appreciate it separately.

Tamara71 said...

If you don't have pineapple and mango on hand, plain banana and kale (with soymilk) is good too.

Krysk said...

I love kale, but never would have thought to put it in a smoothie! They sound delicious...

Catherine said...

hi Dreena, I am interested in trying spirulina powder as I've read before about its great benefits, but I've also read a lot about some brands not being reputable and so you don't really know what you are getting in there. Could you recommend a particular brand of spirulina powder? Thank you!

Karene said...

Throw in a bit of ginger as well... it really warms you up and makes your tummy feel good!

veggievixen said...

yum, smoothies. this looks pretty awesome, although to be honest i'd be scared to try it at first. i've seen smoothies like this. there's a place called everlasting life cafe in dc, and they have awesome vegan smoothies like this one...i tried the almond-coconut milk one and it rocked my world!! great post.

Vegan Mothering said...

I go through phases where all I want for breakfast is a green smoothie, but then I'll go throught phases where want something that I can chew....I still haven't quite been able to give up my breakfast foods completely..Thoughts on that?

DJ Karma said...

I love using kale in smoothies! Great way to get your nutrients- forget about supplements!!

Eating Consciously said...

I would love to get into the habit of making green smoothies in the morning. Until then, I guess I'll keep consuming my dark leafy greens in thier whole state ;)

Dreena said...

hey guys! Thanks for your notes. :)

Laci, just a heads up that a food processor will be unlikely to give you a very smooth consistency, it will be difficult to break up the kale as a blender can. Might not bother you to have chunkier bits of kale in there, but wanted to let you know!

Yeah Sarah, swack probably isn't technically a word, but it exists in the Dreena vocabulary!! ;)

Catherine, I'd check with someone in the natural supplement area of your health food store. There are so many brands available now, and yes, you should be able to find one without any fillers or added ingredients. I have the EarthRise brand on hand currently, and it's a good one, but it's not the only brand I'd try/use necessarily - there are others available that would also be good options - just check which ones are in your store, check the ingredients and chat with someone on staff. Good luck!

Karene, I'm a ginger lover indeed - I have ginger in my tea every morning too!!

Vegan Mothering, I think you follow what your body is asking for. Some mornings, I prefer just having fruit instead of a smoothie, if there's really great fruit on hand like a beautiful mango or great berries or something. Also, I munch on something a little later after my smoothie, so I think you really have to go with what things you like to eat and what gives you oomph in the morning!!

Lauren said...

I love green smoothies! I usually make them daily! Mmm, yours looks so beautiful!

Vegan On Stage said...

yumm!!! that looks great!!!

haha i put too much spirulina in a smoothie once and yuckkkk... it is totally overpowering

Anonymous said...

This was delicious. We have smoothies every morning and I've made some similar ones but I had never put mango in. Strawberry in place of the mango is good too.

My 4 year old son loved it. We call the green smoothies monster smoothies and he loves scaring his sisters with his green mustache. Of his 4 sisters only the littest drank some- 2 glasses worth. The others wouldn't try it.

Andrea said...

I think that's the most gorgeous looking green smoothie I've ever seen.

Laci said...

Dreena-
I made my first Green Smoothie yesterday and enjoyed from breakfast this morning! I used your recipe from ED&BV but we were out of banana so I used pear, rozen mango for the melon... aside from the little bits of kale (just a tad chewy and bitter) it was fabulous! I had my mom taste it with her eyes closed, she would have never guessed those vitamin-rich leafy greens! It was surprisingly sweet, the fruit just outwieghed the kale... I'll definatly be making these in the future, hopefully when I get (if I do) a new blender or a vitamix! ;)

3veggies said...

That is soooo good. I think I had told you my girls love this as well but we call it a green monster. There was a chunk of kale one day and the youngest asked "what is that" and I said "a toenail from the monster" she looked at it and then said "oh ok" and kept drinking. Another drink I like when I want to be bad is chocolate silk, frozen strawberries and banana. It is sooooo good. Like a milkshake yum

Stephanie said...

I love green smoothies. I have only been using baby spinich in mine so I need to try the kale. I like to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my smoothies when I feel the need to change the flavors up a bit. It makes a fabulous flavor addition.

Anonymous said...

I do the same, except I add flax seeds and blueberries. I lose something in the color -- which comes out sometimes like more of a brown smoothie -- but I feel the increased nutritional value is worth it.

Anonymous said...

Dreena have you tried it with powdered matcha. Green tea is very good for your health and I find it is a good way to sneak more of it into my diet. :)

Suzi said...

Mmmm, looks good! And what a great way to use up extra kale. I'll have to try this...I love green smoothies but I usually just throw in some Greens+, however the kale sounds awesome.

Judy's Nutrition said...

Perfect smoothie! Pineapple is also a digestive aid, supplying important enzymes for digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Mango is great after a workout, as it contains many electrolyte minerals. Yummy!

PB and Jess said...

Mmm...the smoothie looks tasty! My blender has been resting for quite awhile, despite my best intentions. I've never had greens in a smoothie...

The Voracious Vegan said...

Green smoothies are the best! Fabulous photos!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

I have a mango that's just waiting for this recipe! I also have lots of kale ;) This will get me feeling...springy!

zerbert said...

Looks yummy! I always use spinach in my smoothies, as they don't have kale here in Malaysia. On a side note, I've been reading your blog for a long time, have tried several recipes from your recipe site, and have kept your books on my Amazon wish list. I don't often ship books from the US to Malaysia, but I finally couldn't help myself and decided to order one of your books. I couldn't decide which one after looking at the names of the recipes, so I've ordered all three! It'll take a few weeks to get here, and I'm so excited!

jd said...

I love this post!

I've been thinking about doing the green smoothie thing for a while now, but have been kinda scared due to a not-so-tasty incident a while ago...

This gives me faith that I, too, can be a good green smoothie maker :)

Thanks for the inspiration; I can't wait to try this recipe!

Sarah said...

Hey - just wondering if you ever think about the food miles on a pineapple? Not judgeing - as I just enjoyed some homemade pina colada's but 1-2 a week seems like a lot!

Anonymous said...

My smoothies have pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, arrot, beet, red cabbage, apple, spinach, kale, sprouts and blueberries some pom juice and water. Very good Kale and bluberries are frozen.

Anonymous said...

I am a Planet Smoothie addict..but, why not make them in your own home!!! Great Idea. I'm not sure I know what kale is, but I will definetly check it out. Thanks

Jill said...

I tried adding cooked kale to a smoothie, but couldn't get it "smooth" like yours looks (I got chunks, like a previous commenter.) Did I not blend long enough? Or maybe added to much water? (and btw, I am using a blender, not a food processor.)

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