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!!

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.


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.
Only Eats

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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.

180 comments on “Tropical Green Smoothie”

  1. Oh, I’m jealous. I have been wanting to try a juice cleanse for a while now. And if I could also run while doing it…magic.
    On the other note, I drink green smoothie almost every day. After a workout I also add some brown rice protein to it. My husband thinks it’s total gross but I LOVE IT! I’m weird and I love it! LOL. Anyways. Keep us posted.:)
    My favourite recipe is my recipe I change it all the time but this is the idea.
    I would like to drink wheat grass shots every day but right now it’s not in the budget…

    • Oh wow, your green smoothie is hard core with the broccoli and celery! And while I was on your site, saw the mango/chia pudding (love chia pudding – and before my cleanse, that was my dessert for a few days, rather than my usual stuff). Your protein bars also looked good. I have these from ages ago you may like – you can doctor them up so many ways

      • Haha, yes, that’s why my husband thinks I’m weird. But seriously, I love veggies and I love my green smoothie. Like you know when you are doing any workout program the nutrition is strict. That kind of food.
        I love chia too as you can tell. Thank you for the kind words. I haven’t been blogging for long so a successful blogger’s approval like you means a lot to me.:)
        Yes, I like your protein bars. Go on my list. And juice cleanse too. I really should do that. I just need to buy it, like a prepped stuff you are doing. Have no time for my own unless I do it and blog about it.

      • Well the issue with juicing is that you need to buy SO MUCH produce in order to get enough liquid out…whereas with smoothies, you can use everything. Then the juicer cleanup isn’t fun which is why the prepared plan is good for us..and also b/c I am not qualified enough to put together my own cleanse without tons of research so for this one, we went the prepared route!

  2. I love having smoothies for breakfast but I don’t really have them that often since I leave for work quite early and don’t want to wake my flat mates with my vitamix. I was thinking that I could probably prepare the smoothie the night before and bring it work with me. What is your experience with making smoothies and storing them overnight? Do think it will still be as good taste-wise?
    By the way, I just love the beautiful neon green color of this smoothie!

  3. This smoothie looks amazing, so vibrant! The spinach, mango, pineapple combo makes me want it right now! With spring taking its time to come on the east coast I may have to wait a few weeks to make this although I love your make ahead instructions. I don’t know why I have never thought to freeze and reheat!?!

    Good Luck on the juice cleanse! I can’t wait to read about it soon.

  4. I just sent the link to this post to my husband because he drinks green smoothies every morning, and I love the way you broke everything down and explained what each component does. He’ll love this! I don’t drink one every day with him, mainly because I’m in a rush out the door for school most mornings :) but when I do, I agree they give energy like no other!

    I’m doing my first juice cleanse with some girlfriends the week after Easter. We’re doing the Suja juices!

    • I almost didn’t recognize your comment b/c your name was different on it! Glad your hubs may like this post and the components. I wrote a blurb in my cookbook about Smoothie How To’s and this is just the abbreviated version of that. You’d think it would be second nature but many people can’t seem to get the ratios, ingredients, etc down pat! Suja is local-to-me in San Diego and I almost went with them! Cannot wait to hear more about your experience!

  5. Tropical fruits, spinach, and a beautiful green color!! Seriously–that is such a bright green and I love it! Spinach and romaine are my favorite greens for smoothies (but romaine is pale and doesn’t give a big pop of color). I love them for hearty snacks or as a small meal so I always have bags of frozen bananas and other fruit on hand. My latest frozen concoction has been pear, a few banana chunks and butternut squash with pumpkin pie spice, some maple syrup, and loads of vanilla. The squash may seem a little weird, but it adds thickness and creaminess like a banana whether I make a smoothie or soft serve. Winter is hanging on for dear life here (we have a light dusting of snow this am), so I still find myself leaning toward fall-winter produce and warming spices!

    • Sweet potato is so thick and cream-like when blended (I think back to all the Vitamix soups I’ve made with it) and I can imagine it would be great in smoothies…like a Pumpkin Frappucino of sorts :) And Pears…yum. Nothing is more rewarding than a perfect pair!

  6. Oh wow! I actually think that looks delicious! I LOVE the bright green color and everything in this just sounds amazing! All I need is the beach (not going to happen cause I live in the mountains of CO) and the sun (not likely going to happen, at least today. It is snow. Hard)! I can not wait to try this!

  7. I love green smoothies! Would like to try juicing but don’t have a juicer. Maybe someday!

  8. That looks so nice and refreshing. I really don’t drink a lot of smoothies or protein shakes. I do have one I like (a powder I should say) that has spirulina in it so it’s green by nature ;-)

  9. This is very close to a version of green smoothie I’ve been whipping up lately – and I’ve been calling it a pina colada smoothie! Green smoothies are the best. thing. ever.

  10. While I have not tried a green smoothie (yet), I’m totally willing to try. I love spinach and agree that it’s mild in taste. I love how green your smoothie turned out! Add a few chocolate chips, and you’re set! :)

  11. I always add spinach to my smoothies. The green color freaked me out at first, but you really can’t taste it and you get so many nutritional benefits! I’m a sucker for strawberry banana smoothies or using PB2 to make a Peanut Butter smoothie, but this tropical version sounds amazing. Just what I need to escape these frigid temperatures despite it being spring!!!

  12. Green smoothies are the bomb. Frozen banana chunks in a green smoothie make the difference, IMO. I also happen to like kale in mine, if I take off the stem before I blend it. But, you are right, the tropical fruits make is so refreshing and sweet and the green goes undetected.

    I have done numerous juice fasts: 7 days, 10 days, 21 days. I also did 2 water fasts, one in November and one in March (I like to do 2 a year) to get my innards working like a well-oiled machine, which they do like nothing else when I complete one of those babies. I hear you about the juicer clean-up though. It’s almost like you have to do a “cleanse” to make it mentally worth it to clean up! I mean, juicing once a day is a challenge because that could stretch on for eternity, whereas a cleanse is short-lived and more mentally manageable? Just a thought…

    Your smoothie looks so vibrant and fruity. Love that Skylar bounces around after having one! :-)

    • “I have done numerous juice fasts: 7 days, 10 days, 21 days. I also did 2 water fasts” – I am in shock and amazement! I had no idea! I don’t think I could hang on for a week with the juice fasting. I am so impressed that you did this for 21 days! WOW!! Even 5 days is a long time to not put 1 morsel of food in your mouth and just do liquids. 3 days is good for us this time around :)

      And I know very little about water fasting. I have no idea how that even works but it sounds hardcore beyond all!

      Juicing once a day at home is so hard with cleanup, as you said. It’s like you have to do it in bulk, or it’s hardly worth the time to clean it all!

  13. Now this is a green smoothie I can get down with. Beautiful pics.. love the vibrant colors!

  14. For some reason, I just can’t get past the green. I can eat spinach and green veggies, I know how good the green smoothie is for me, I just can’t do it! Soooo in order to hide the tint, I have a couple of tricks!

    I add frozen cherries. The red easily hides the green and makes it taste delicious.

    I add some cocoa powder. That doesn’t really hide the green; it makes it rather green and dingy looking. So I also put in some peppermint extract! That gives it a reason to be green, so my brain, lips, belly, and hips are happy!

    • I am not bothered by the color so I don’t try to hide it but I have made plenty of strawberry/cherry smoothies too. The problem like you said is that if you add certain colors to the green, you end up with dingy brown which is worse to me!

  15. I’m going to make kay one of these tonight! I got out of the habit of doing it and they’re so darn delicious! Banana totally makes them!

  16. These smoothies are so beautiful! Great photos! Cheers!

  17. I am totally jealous of your glass straws by the way ;)

  18. Its so green, I love it! My coffee addiction has gotten bad so I have been wanting to find natural ways to get a energy boost. This recipe looks like it might be it. Plus if it taste like a virgin Pina Colada I’m all in.

  19. Now this is a good looking green smoothie for a change! I love that it is so bright, intensely green. Pale or super dark green drinks are just too unappetizing for me.

  20. Ugh, I’m in desperate need for a sugar/fat/carb cleanse. I have been SO bad lately, especially with my trip to New York. And honestly, for how creative I can be when it comes to desserts, I am SO not creative when it comes to smoothies for some reason. I always do the same thing: yogurt, banana, and a couple strawberries. Good, but boring. I love that you used spinach in this and am actually shocked it doesn’t taste spinach-y. And I REALLY love that it tastes like a pina colada. You know how I feel about coconut :) I’m so buying this for next week’s breakfast smoothies!

    • Yay! Well LMK how it goes. A bag of TJ’s frozen spinach is about 1.69 and I get a huge Vita cansister of smoothies out of half a bag, which I then freeze/nuke for later so I am only washing the Vita once every 5 days or so. On busy school mornings with a child it’s the last thing I have time for! And you cannot taste the spianch at all. If my 6 yr old and hubs ASK for them, trust me, it doesnt taste like a vegetable. And as dessert bloggers, the constant influx of sugar and treats is just…ridiculous. Had to press my own reset button :)

  21. All of your beautiful smoothies look dee-liciious! I would probably have to avoid this one, because knowing me, I would inevitably end up with a trail of bright green down my shirt, haha! I would have to leave out the spinach ;)

    Some Snapshots Blog

  22. This looks awesome! I seriously cannot get over how bright green this is! I love it :).

  23. Look at how vibrantly green that smoothie is, wow! I love smoothies but right now it is way too cold for a smoothie, 16 degrees today, brr!

  24. Oh my gosh! Is this color for real?! Looks nothing like the usual green smoothies I have been seeing on the web. I want to dive head first into this smoothie! Pinning!

    • And I really didn’t even doctor up the green. It was so green I had to actually tone it down. Some of the smoothies I think you see are because the food oxidizes (turns brown) after awhile..I dunno. Or maybe b/c I use frozen not fresh spinach so it’s greener? But they always look like this for me. Thanks for the pin!

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