We know it. We should eat our greens, every day if possible. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, and most of us don't eat enough of them. Are you one of these people? Well, try drinking your greens instead of eating them!
I've gone waaaay too far, right? 'Out there?!' In fact, that's just what my husband said several months ago: "What?! Dreena, you've gone too far this time. There's no way I'm drinking kale in my smoothie. Forget it. Drop it. I go along with lots of things, but this time just forget it."
Yup. That was the reaction. Later in the week, I snuck a few leaves into his morning smoothie. Not this exact recipe, but a regular smoothie I make for him with rice/soy milk, frozen bananas (lots of them), and some brown rice protein powder. He drank it, and said nothing. Then, through the summer on hot days I made this Drink Your Greens Smoothie from ED&BV. He liked it - a lot - and then a few weeks ago while drinking his morning smoothie (with kale) again he said "by the way, did you add that kale smoothie thing to your new book, 'cause these smoothies are really good". um, yeah. oh, and btw hubby: hoo-ahh!
So, here's the thing about drinking your greens. Whether you use this refreshing all-fruit/veg-based recipe, or add kale to your own fave smoothie, there are a couple of MUSTS to follow:
1. Add enough frozen banana and/or other sweeter fruits to balance the bitterness of the greens. If the smoothie is thick enough and sweet enough - trust me, you won't taste the kale. Make sure your frozen banana is very ripe, otherwise it's just not very sweet. I buy lots o' bananas, let them go overripe, then peel, slice, and into a ziploc bag in the freezer they go. I know some of you out there don't like bananas. I have no words. Ok, well I do, I mean... I'm not super excited to eat a banana on its own... but bananas in smoothies? Schlurrrp, love 'em!
2. Blend that kale to smithereens! Really, this is key. You must blend/pulverize for a couple of minutes until the kale is not just in little bits - but until it is just flecking your smoothie with green color. I find the frozen banana helps my immersion blender cut through the kale. Blend, blend, blend. And just when you think you've blended enough, blend some more! Yes, it will sound like you are doing kitchen renovations. No matter - just blend. If there are little bits of leaves still in there that you can chew... you need to blend it further. It's for the sake of a great smoothie, man!
3. Take a little taste. If you need more frozen banana or need to thin it, do so. Once you've made enough of these (again, whether with this recipe or just adding to your own smoothies), you'll be able to skip this step. You'll just have a sense that your smoothie is wicked good.
Do you need a high-powered blender like a Vitamix for this smoothie? No. I don't have one (though I'd like one)! But, I use my immersion blender, and start it off on slow speed just to cut through the nanners, and then I pump it up on high speed and whiz like crazy.
Now that summer has passed and it's chillier, I opt for adding kale to our rice/soy-milk based smoothies instead of this fruit-based smoothie. But, I'm telling you, I do this every day. It's one of the easiest ways to get the greens in our diet - try it with your kids. Unfortunately, my kids still aren't into smoothies in general. I know. What's with my munchkins?! But, if your kids like smoothies - try this!!
Finally, why do I keep talking about kale - and not spinach or swiss chard? I'm not dissing spinach or swiss chard, or other greens... it's just that kale is more nutritious in that the iron and calcium are better absorbed by our bodies (see p. 100 & 109 - Becoming Vegan). Ok, and because I have a soft spot for kale... it's a misunderstood vegetable. Often left to wilt next to spinach and swiss chard. So sad. Support your kale, people.
I buy a bunch of kale about twice a week - sometimes more if I'm also sauteing it or using it in other recipes. Give it a wash and shake/spin the excess water off. Pop it in a ziploc bag with a paper towel to catch the excess moisture. Then, it's ready to use fresh and clean every day.
Now, go eat, DRINK, and be vegan!