Tropical Green Smoothie

Sometimes strange looking things taste amazing.

If you close your eyes, it tastes like a beautiful, tropical, sunny beach vacation.

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF)

You’re thinking, No it doesn’t. It tastes like bitter, blended up green stuff. But I assure you, it does not. Celery, kale, mizuna greens, chard, dandelion greens, and cucumbers have very strong and dominating flavors, which is why I don’t use them in smoothies. Spinach, however, is a different story.

I find spinach to be the leafy green equivalent of iceberg lettuce; totally mild and harmless. Plus, when it’s coupled with a handful of frozen mango, pineapple, banana, almond milk, vanilla, and a bit of sweetener, you can’t even taste it. I promise. Even though this is healthy, it doesn’t taste it. It tastes like a green Pina Colada.

The color is much more jarring than the flavor. Sometimes plants are unexpectedly bold and vibrant in all their chlorophyll-filled glory.

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF)

My husband asks for green smoothies and says that they give him clean, pure energy like nothing else. I agree; except for juicing. But I despise at-home juicer cleanup and blended smoothies in my Vita-Mix is what I make because cleanup takes 3 seconds.

My 6-year old bounces off the walls after these. Some parents claim their children get hyper after too much sugar. Well mine can eat caramel corn chocolate chip cookies and candy and not really do much. But give her one of these green numbers, and she’s talking a mile a minute, running around the house, laughing, and giggling. I’m glad to see plants have that effect on her. They really are so powerful.

There’s no wrong way to make a green smoothie. Substitute any fruit you like. I use frozen because it’s cheaper and that way I don’t have to add ice, which waters it down, but use fresh if that’s what you like. Strawberries, blueberries, mixed berry blends, peaches, and nectarines are favorites.


A tip for bananas is that I peel over-ripe ones, break them into chunks, and keep them in a big Ziplock in my freezer, making it easy to toss a few chunks into smoothies. When blended, they add plant-based creaminess that’s unparalleled to anything else. Bananas are naturally sweet, inexpensive, and readily available. But if you don’t like bananas or are allergic, simply omit.

If you don’t like spinach, try romaine lettuce. Both are very mild and neutral when blended. I buy frozen spinach for the same reason I buy frozen fruit; it’s cheaper, and I can buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer for a rainy day.

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF)

For the milk, try cow’s, goat, soy, rice, almond, coconut, Coconut Milk Kefir, or Homemade Horchata. Or add a dollop of yogurt, Greek yogurt, or frozen yogurt.

If you want to boost the staying power of the smoothie, add fat. Coconut oil, coconut butter, peanut butter, almond/cashew/sunflower seed/homemade Cookie Butter or protein powder.

Add coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, or your favorite smoothie add-ins’ to either the blender canister before blending or garnish smoothie with them after blending.

I add homemade vanilla extract to almost everything I make, including smoothies. Extracts like coconut extract, orange extract, or lemon extract are fun to play around with in smoothies.

I sweeten my smoothies just a bit but it’s optional. Use agave, honey, maple syrup, granulated sugar, stevia or your favorite sweetener. Sweet Medjool dates are nature’s candy and also work well.

After you have everything in your blender canister, blend until smooth and creamy.  Since I have to wash my blender anyway, I make double the amount I need. I fill freezer-safe platstic cups with the extra portions, freeze them, and when I’m ready for a smoothie for a snack or quick breafast, nuke the cup for a minute. It saves time not having to remake and then rewash my blender. Having them ready and grab-able prevents me from reaching for cookies, which are equally grab-able.

This keeps me full for awhile and between the almond milk, mango, pineapple, and banana, it’s tropical, sweet, and creamy.

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF)

After one of these, I feel invigorated, refreshed and recharged, and my head is clear and my energy is pure. Coffee wakes me up and gives me energy, but it’s a bolt of semi-jittery energy versus clean, sustained energy.

I love that this tastes like a virgin pina colada. It just happens to be green.

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF)

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF) - Tastes like a Pina Colada. Sweet, creamy, healthy & gives me more energy than coffee! Easy 2-minute recipe at

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, GF) - Tastes like a Pina Colada! Sweet, creamy, healthy and gives me more energy than coffee!!

Print Print Recipe

Tropical Green Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

I promise this smoothie doesn't taste healthy or green. It tastes like a virgin pina colada that just happens to be bright green and good for you. If you've never tried a green smoothie, you're in for a treat with this one. It's sweet, creamy, easy, and will leave you feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to tackle your day. Like all smoothies, the recipe is customizable based on whatever ingredients you have and enjoy with optional suggestions provided. Halve, double, or triple the recipe as desired. Extra portions freeze wonderfully.

Yield: one large smoothie, about 12 ounces

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes


1 to 2 cups frozen spinach
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 medium ripe banana, peeled (previously frozen in chunks is ideal)
1 cup strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or a favorite berry, optional
1 cup milk (cow's, almond, soy, coconut, kefir, horchata)
1 teaspoon+ vanilla extract
sweetener, to taste (sugar, agave, stevia, honey, maple syrup, Medjool dates)


  1. All ingredients and amounts are to taste. Use seasonal fruits or vary the quantities of fruits, to taste. I use frozen fruit and prefer it to fresh because it keeps the smoothie cold, without adding ice which waters it down. Frozen is cheaper and I can buy in bulk and keep in the freezer and use when needed.
  2. Place all ingredients in the canister of a Vita-Mix or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. Pour extra portions into freezer-safe cups and freeze for up to 1 month, thawing before serving (or microwaving for about 30 seconds)
  3. Optionally, consider adding a scoop of protein powder, dollop of yogurt for extra protein; add fat for staying power such as coconut oil, coconut butter, peanut butter, almond/cashew/sunflower seed/Cookie Butter. Blend with juice to increase the amount of Vitamin C. Add coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, or your favorite smoothie add-ins to either the blender canister before blending or garnish smoothie with them after blending.
  4. Recipe is vegan (use vegan milk, avoid honey), gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free as written. Take care any ingredients used and added optionally are suitable for your dietary needs.

Related Recipes:

Pineapple Mango Vitamin C Booster Smoothie (vegan, GF)

Pineapple Banana & Coconut Cream Smoothie (vegan, GF)

Vanilla Avocado Banana Smoothie In a Bowl (vegan, GF)

Chai-Spiced Triple Citrus Tea (vegan, GF) – Can be served warm or chilled

Strawberries and Cream Smoothie (vegan, GF)

Mango Banana Vanilla Soft-Serve (vegan, GF)

Homemade Horchata (Vegan, GF, Soy-Free)

Taste of the Tropics Smoothie (vegan, GF)

Vanilla Avocado Banana “Ice Cream” (vegan, GF)

Orange PushUp Smoothie – This was the Most Viewed Recipe my entire site in 2012. Apparently everyone loves Creamsicles and Orange PushUps as much as I do

On other matters, right now I’m in the midst of a 3-Day Signature Juice Cleanse from Urban Remedy. I plan to post in more detail about it, but I’ve just completed Day 1. All in all, I feel very good. I even went for a run.

There are six sixteen-ounce bottles of juice to drink each day. I have more than I can even get down, and surprisingly, am not hungry. My husband is doing it with me and he’s not hungry either. He’s been talking about wanting to do a juice cleanse for ages and we decided to try Urban Remedy’s together.

Urban Remedy Juice Cleanse

I decided to do it because I eat sweets, desserts, treats, and sugar 365 days a year. I decided that for 3 days, I could live without it and not melt. It’s an opportunity to give my body, mind, and spirit a little break and chance to allow it to re-center, realign, and restore. It’s like pressing the reset button.

The hardest part of my day was photographing the most gorgeous sweet, luscious, quickbread for a post that’ll go out next week. But I didn’t even have one bite. I had this juice.

Urban Remedy Juice Cleanse

Have you tried or do you like green smoothies? Green juice? Juice cleanses?

I’d love to hear about your favorite recipes and experiences.


156 Responses to “Tropical Green Smoothie”

  1. kelley {mountain mama cooks} — March 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm (#

    Gorgeous color! My smoothies usually turn out greenish and by that I really mean brown. My kids are so grossed out by the color they don’t want to drink it! I need to try this and change their minds!!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm (#

      I think sometimes fresh spinach is more prone to doing than than frozen? I don’t know why that happens…some sort of oxidation reaction, like how an avocado or banana turn brown after being exposed to air…who knows. But yes, this one is nice and vibrant and my 6 y.o. and hubs ask for it!

  2. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — March 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm (#

    Ah, green smoothies. :) You said it right, there is no wrong way to make one! I agree, spinach is the way to go, as are frozen bananas and other frozen fruit. It’s been getting much warmer out lately, which makes for warmer workouts, which makes smoothies extra refreshing! I’ve been rolling with a spinach/banana+peach+strawberry combo all week.

  3. Laura Dembowski — March 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm (#

    I am going to have to try one of these. I could really use that kind of energy boost. Sugar doesn’t do anything for me either, so maybe this will. I’ve been dragging a little with the endless winter weather here. By the way, the color of that is amazing!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm (#

      You and I are sugar-immune. I mean that honestly, too. I think some people’s bodies process it exceptionally well and they aren’t as effected :) I for example though cannot process salt. At all.

    • Laura Dembowski — March 24, 2013 at 7:04 am (#

      I can’t process salt either. I have actually at least temporarily stopped eating out because every time I do I feel terrible for a day or two after because the food is so salt laden, even when I ask for no salt. It’s kind of a bummer :(

  4. dervla @ the curator — March 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm (#

    Wow, that is the most incredible green I’ve ever seen!!! Love smoothies, and like you I hate the cleanup. But I’d risk it for this kind of energy boost :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm (#

      And it’s not even doctored up :) It’s all plants, all real!

      Smoothie (vitamix) cleanup isn’t bad…it’s the Juicer cleanup that is atrocious. I love juices but that cleanup is just insane! Thanks for stopping by, Dervla!

  5. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — March 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm (#

    That is a seriously green smoothie!!! I love it though! I use spinach all the time in smoothies, but I must not use enough to get that awesome color! I need to try the mango and pineapple next time!!!

  6. Valiaskincare — March 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm (#

    I love juicing! Thank you for the great recipe!

  7. Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse — March 30, 2013 at 6:20 am (#

    Popping over from Nikki’s link party. This looks absolutely amazing! I love the vibrant green colour =) Thanks for all the substitution ideas, especially to make it nut-free/dairy-free. Lovely photos too!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm (#

      Thanks for stopping by from Nikki’s. Love her :) And glad you like this post and the ideas!

  8. Lisa — April 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm (#

    I’ve been making green smoothies for a little while now, and am wondering about your use of frozen spinach. I have only ever used fresh.

    Are you using a block of spinach, and breaking that up in the blender?

    Have you also tried freezing your own spinach fro the garden?

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm (#

      I just buy a bag of frozen spinach and rip off a softball-sized chunk and put it in the Vita with everything else. Super, super easy. I live in an urban condo, no garden. It’s soooooo much cheaper for me to use frozen and more convenient!

    • Kat — June 25, 2014 at 5:37 am (#

      I have also been wondering about this you just made me super excited and will try frozen. I always bought fresh but it would go bad quickly and I already use frozen fruit which I love so will try frozen spinach :).

    • Averie Sunshine — June 25, 2014 at 10:34 am (#

      I actually prefer it frozen because that way the smoothie is already nice and cold!

  9. Michelle — May 5, 2013 at 8:11 am (#

    Averie, when you say a cup or two of frozen spinach, are you talking about packing the spinach into the measuring cup? I made this with a scoop of vanilla (and white) protein powder and it was unbelievably good, but it also wasn’t anywhere near the green color of yours. It tasted far better than the last green smoothie I made, but I also want to be sure i’m getting enough veggies in there!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm (#

      I basically take a frozen bag of spinach which is rock hard and usually compacted, and chisel off two large hunks of spinach with a knife, and they’re size of baseballs or slightly bigger, and put those into the Vita. I don’t measure but instead just go for big baseballs. My spinach is always very frozen and hard as a rock and it’s like dealing with ice practically so I just eyeball it. Based on what you wrote, I would say at double what you used and go from there!

  10. Thamar — August 25, 2013 at 9:04 am (#

    I tried the spinach smoothie for the first time, today, and it tasted like more!

  11. Groene Smoothie recepten — November 18, 2013 at 3:16 am (#
  12. Kristyn — January 2, 2014 at 5:26 am (#

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to try this. :)

  13. Ashton — January 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm (#

    Wow Averie! That color is STUNNING! Gorgeous shots, and I LOVE green smoothies! Can’t wait to try your version!

  14. Amy — January 25, 2014 at 7:37 am (#

    Hi there, I literally just made the tropical green smoothie, I don’t understand where you got the bright green color from because mine is more of like a mint green color. Anyways, it still tastes delicious, cant even taste the spinach which is nice because I hate spinach!

  15. Danielle — February 12, 2014 at 7:13 am (#

    I made this green smoothie this morning and it was SO good!! You’re totally right, you can hardly even taste the spinach!

    Although mine is green, it isn’t as vibrant as yours! How do you do that? It’s gorgeous! Also, when you add strawberries does it still stay green?

    • Averie Sunshine — February 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm (#

      Sometimes strawberries can make it a little muddy looking, it just depends. I use frozen green spinach from Trader Joe’s and just add it frozen. And that’s the color it comes out of my blender!

  16. Vedika @ Hot Chocolate Hits — July 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm (#

    While I absolutely ADORE all your desserts, I like it even more when you post healthy recipes- because they taste equally as delicious and you feel so good sipping or eating the product!

  17. MarinaBlu — July 25, 2014 at 9:44 am (#

    I am very new to the Ninja System. I got the whole big set for my birthday and I thought I would be going crazy with it by now. I have only made 3 smoothies so far. I am a person who doesn’t always go by recipes exactly. I don’t have an ice maker so I was thinking I could use frozen fruit instead of ice and either water or almond milk. Big failure. For one thing, I used blueberries and I forgot how they can stain EVERYTHING! I need help with the ratio of liquid to fresh fruit and liquid to frozen fruit. I don’t know – I am just hoping you can help me.

  18. JJ — August 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm (#

    I appreciate the recipe — hand trouble means that I need the convenience of frozen fruits/veg — so thanks very much. I’m a little surprised, tho, that you suggested substituting romaine, which is far less nourishing than spinach.

    For those who can’t quite get used to spinach, may I suggest instead that they use far less spinach / far more fruit the 1st time they make a tropical green, and then gradually alter the ratio (= up the spinach).

    Thanks again.

  19. JJ — August 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm (#

    Enthusiastic follow-up now that I’ve made one batch.

    Even my boring “fridge is empty” combo was good (just bananas, spinach, a little almond milk, a little maple syrup, a little vanilla). I froze half, and I think it was even better the second day — I think the flavors developed a bit even tho it was frozen for much of the time.

    This week I’ll go tropical, which I bet will be out of this world — and THANKS A MILLION! I love that I’m having spinach for breakfast …

    • Averie Sunshine — August 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm (#

      Glad you’re loving spinach for breakfast and the smoothie! :)

  20. Alissa — April 5, 2015 at 7:46 am (#

    How did your smoothie come out so beautiful and green? Mine is grey with specs of green in it and I followed the recipe with the exception of using fresh fruits and spinach that I pre-froze in a bag.

    • Averie Sunshine — April 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm (#

      You know sometimes my smoothies come out like you’re talking about…gray and murky. The taste is fine, the color just isn’t that pretty.

      I find that when I add certain fruits (especially berries of any kind) + greens, I get that shade you’re talking about. Berries will tend to do that. With pineapple and bananas and spinach, I always get vibrant green.

  21. Michelle — June 27, 2015 at 10:48 am (#

    Hi there!

    This smoothie looks great and I can’t wait to try it! Which frozen berries did you use in your photos here to get the green color?

    Thanks! :)

  22. Ziera — July 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm (#

    Would it still taste awesome if i replace the spinach with butterhead lettuce instead? im trying to finish off all the lettuce in my fridge and im tired of having it as salad..  

    • Averie Sunshine — July 25, 2015 at 8:28 pm (#

      Go for it. Butter lettuce is really mellow and mild so you’ll hardly even notice it I bet! Enjoy!

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