Friday, October 12, 2007

Drink Your Greens Smoothie

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!


aimee said...

You are too funny, Dreena! Ok, Ok I get it! I'm going to try it-As soon as my copy arrives. Maybe before!
Thanks for fighting the good fight!

urban vegan said...

I like eating my greens so much that I don;t need to drink them. But, I did just buy Trader Joe's Green Drink, which I love.

Dreena, your cookbook just arrived in the mail last week and I can;t wait to try some of the recipes! The cover is gorgeous--so simple, understated and lovely.

Teresa said...

OH KALE- How I love thee. I once told someone that kale is my favorite vegetable and she said- that means a lot coming from a vegan. I'm not sure what to make of that.

I made some green smoothies this summer- and yes they are a winner.

The book is AWESOME and I am just loving it all- I just blogged about my first recipe from it!

Anonymous said...

My favorite we call it "Pond Scum" at our house.

Kristen's Raw said...

I love adding mango to my green smoothies, too...they're creamy and sweet like bananas.

Oh, and I love adding fresh herbs! Tons of nutrition packaged in little leaves :)

Kristen's Raw

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

haha, I love your husband's reaction - but kudos to you for sneaking the greens into his smoothie anyways! I can't even taste the greens that I put into my smoothies - I just taste the banana and berries that I incorporate.

I eat leafy greens every single day; but recently I have been incorporating more kale, instead of spinach and/or chard, because not only is kale "more nutritious" (as you stated, about the iron and calcium absorption), but it also does not contain high oxalate levels, as spinach and chard do. I love adding greens to my smoothies - I find that by adding blueberries to the mix, the smoothie is prettier to look at ;0)

Anonymous said...

I drink a green smoothie every day. I read where you need to alternate your greens so you don't develop a toxicity. I don't know, but I started doing that. I use spinach and kale a lot in my smoothie. My favorite one is frozen banana, frozen pineapple, frozen peaches and 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seeds, 2 cups greens (frozen). I wash my greens, cut them up, make sure they are totally dried and then I put them in a ziploc bag. Make sure they are totally dried. They are like potato chip consistency when they freeze and help make your smoothie thicker!

Judy said...

This is a really fantastic recipe and I might be inclined to try it....if I didn't have the memory of last Christmas and the Norwalk virus and the kale I had for dinner that can probably figure out on your own why I am not longer a kale fan. To be honest, even saying 'kale' makes me a little queasy.

A.M. said...

I have been drinking green smoothies with spinach, but I was not brave enough to put kale in my smoothie (and, in my defense, I think the kale here in the Netherlands is a little bit different from kale in America and Canada; maybe a bit rougher/chewier or something).

But... I am going to give it a try now!

bazu said...

Just last month, I finally tried green smoothies made with actual leaves (spinach). Before that, the only way I'd eat greens in a smoothie was with spirulina powder. Well, I'm ready to take the next step and use kale- or as you said, support kale! I have some sitting in the fridge right now.

Michelle said...

hey dreena, are Spring Roll Wrappers and Rice Paper Wrappers the same thing, or something completely different? i've been looking and looking for spring roll wrappers, and can't find anything in town called that.. but i did come across rice paper wrappers....

baby wants some spring rolls ;)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

That chocolate pumpkin pie recipe ALONE has convinced me to buy your cookbook ED&BV!

melimade said...

So excited, I got your book as a birthday gift last night! Woo-Hoo!! Going to try a green smoothie this week. Along with at least a half-dozen other recipes from the book. My husband is excited too, he looked thorugh the book saying, "this one, and this one..." and so on. Thanks for the good stuff!

Dreena said...

hiya guys... good stuff to hear you're jumping on the kale bandwagon!

urban vegan, thanks for that feedback - I hope you love the recipes just as much. :) I too love eating greens - saute them and add to my sandwiches... yum!

Yay! Teresa!! Glad you are already getting use of the book... I see you got yourself 'super charged' to keep on cookin'?! :)

Hi Kristen, yes, mango is scrumptious! Very creamy... and I forgot to mention that this smoothie includes mango, or melon as an option. I've never tried herbs though... will have to give that a whirl - or whiz - sometime!

Jackie, nice tip on freezing the kale. I've often thought about doing so, but I tend to go through my bunch of kale before freezing it - so now I'm going to remind myself to pack a little away in the freezer - great to always have on hand too!! thanks. :)

noooooo, Judy, don't do that to me!!! :)

Michelle, yes indeed they are the same - buy the rice paper rolls. Then, soften in warm water and roll for spring rolls! That baby is particular, huh?... but, the prego mama must oblige I fully understand. I hope your craving is well satisfied!!

hiya little vegan... well, that is sweet indeed! thanks for that, and for stopping by to comment... oh, and if you loved the pie, there's lots more where that came from in the book. Your sweet (and savory) teeth will not be disappointed. :)

Laura's3boys said...

Hi, I've never posted here before, but wanted to tell you I just got your new book, and can't wait to try some new recipes. I've really enjoyed your first two books. Thanks also for keeping up this blog. It's really nice to see pictures, and hear more explanations, etc. about various recipes, and have a place to ask questions. Really great and helpful!
Also, on the green smoothie. My kids love these. My CSA newsletter had a recipe for one when the kale first started coming, and called it Shrek smoothie. That was all my boys needed to slurp it down.

Tere said...

Hi Dreena!
I wanted you to know I'm still using and enjoying your books. This morning I made a kale-banana-strawberry smoothie and it was really good. Thanks for the suggestion.

I have a question though, regarding kale: every time I try and eat kale on its own, like sauteed, I find it SO chewy! It's like chewing on rope, and eventually I just get tired and swallow it whole. Am I buying the wrong kind of kale, or just not cooking it enough?

Anonymous said...

hi dreena, i love your blog. Quick qestion: is the kale in the green smoothies raw or cooked?

Anonymous said...

Wow, a Smoothie inspired by Kermit the Frog. Looking good!

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

i am definitely going to try this. i just discovered spinach smoothies and they are (surprisingly) dang tasty. my kids love them too (though they like spinach anyway so that wasn't a big surprise). looking forward to more experimentation with kale (and yes you are right, i never know what to do with kale so i often overlook it). ;)

Crunchy Domestic Goddess

Dreena said...

laura's3boys, thanks for commenting for the 1st time!! I appreciate that, I'm glad you find my blog informational... and that name for the smoothie is the BEST! Coulda'-shoulda' thought of that myself!! Funny how kids just need some kind of playful hook, huh?!

Tere, yes, kale *is* chewy. But, if you blend it to heck in these smoothies, seriously, there is nothing to chew. If you saute it lightly, it's still chewy, but if you cook it longer it will break down more and be much less chewy. I normally prefer it lightly sauteed rather than cooked longer, for me it tastes better and is still a vibrant green! Also, you can chop it finely, or process it in a food processor to mince it, and then saute or add it to stews, etc. That way there's less chewing, chewing. hope that helps...

anonymous, sorry I'm just getting to your question. The kale is raw.

Kate, it ain't easy being green, after all... but, in this case it's easy drinking green!

Hiya Amy!! Great, good luck with it... and I hope your kiddos like it too. :)

Anonymous said...

You have me convinced - I want an immersion blender now! But I'm trying to figure out just which one to get - there are so many to choose from with a large price range. What's a good minimum wattage to have? I notice that the cheaper ones are 200 watts, and the more expensive ones are 500 and 550 watts. And is there a difference between an "immersion" blender, and just a "hand blender" (they both look the same in the pictures). What are the minimum qualities that you recommend having with an immersion blender? I want to make the right decision! thanks.

Anonymous said...

I do love bananas but morally, I am against the ways they are harvested,and how they exploit other countries.Any alternatives to bananas? perhaps something seasonal and local?

Abby said...

Hi there, I'm sure you're busy, but i'm wondering if you know what kind of soy milk maker is the best. I'd like one that can do soy, rice, oat, nuts, etc and am just at a loss when it comes to choosing one.

. . . and I wanted to tell you how much I love your cookbooks! I can't wait for your new one I just ordered to arrive!

Anonymous said...

hi all.. i just made a kale, raspberry blueberry smoothie ...using steamed kale, water and a pinch of sugar. its a bot odd but healthy tasting. thanks for the inspiration. deb

Erin said...

I've been roasting beets for my smoothies - highly recommend it. Delicious and sweet!