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) averiecooks.com

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) averiecooks.com

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.

strawberries

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) averiecooks.com

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) averiecooks.com

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) averiecooks.com

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

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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

Ingredients:

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 milk (cow's, almond, soy, coconut, kefir, horchata)
1 teaspoon+ vanilla extract
sweetener, to taste (sugar, agave, stevia, honey, maple syrup, Medjool dates)

Directions:

  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.

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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 averiecooks.com

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 averiecooks.com

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

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