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Drink Your Vegetables: The Delicious Art of Green Smoothies

Updated on March 25, 2010

Although green smoothies do not look especially appetizing, they are a nutritious and great-tasting addition to any diet. A green smoothie is a smoothie that incorporates leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, and chard. I prefer to use spinach in my green smoothies and I cannot taste it at all. My husband claims that spinach lends a softness to a smoothie's consistency, which I actually prefer. Green smoothies can make a fabulous meal or snack, and are a painless way to incorporate greens into the diet, especially for those who dislike eating vegetables. Besides being absolutely delicious, a green smoothie is fast and simple to make and delivers fantastic health benefits. 

Benefits of Green Smoothies

  • Packed with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants
  • Low in unhealthy fat/simple carbs, high in protein
  • Energizing
  • Boost the immune system
  • Support weight loss
  • Filling and satisfying
  • Detoxify liver and kidneys
  • Decrease cravings for caffeine, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats
  • Improve mental clarity
  • Improve digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • Clear and brighten the skin and eyes

A Note on Gums

I use two types of gums as thickening agents in my smoothies. This allows me to increase the water content of the smoothie while also achieving my preferred thickness. In smoothies where a incorporate a larger amount of liquid, I also add 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum. The guar gum adds creaminess while the xanthan gum lends thickness. These gums can be found in the baking section of some natural food stores, but the most reliable and thrifty sources of these products are online shops.

When using these gums, be conservative. If you add too much guar or xanthan gum, your smoothie may not be salvageable. Proceed with caution, and keep in mind that less is more.

The Basic Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of no/low-fat yogurt OR 1 serving protein powder
  • splash of skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup fruit
  • a few large handfuls of spinach (or other leafy green)
  • 3 big handfuls of ice cubes

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the ice. Then add the ice cubes incrementally until the smoothie is thick and well-combined. Pour and enjoy!

Experiment with adding different fruits, vegetables, types of greens, and liquids to the basic green smoothie. The smoothie is a very forgiving creature, so don't be afraid to try something new! For more delicious concoctions, try one of the recipes below (all recipes serve 1 smoothie). Happy blending!

Recipe: Chocolate Strawberry Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup of water
  • splash of skim milk
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I like Jay Robb's whey protein)
  • 1 cup leafy greens
  • optional: 1 scoop of Amazing Grass' chocolate Green SuperFood
  • sweetener to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 4-5 large frozen strawberries
  • 3 big handfuls of ice

Blend together all of the ingredients except the strawberries and ice. Incorporate the strawberries, then add the ice incrementally. Process until smooth, the pour and serve.

Recipe: Rereshingly Green Cucumber Smoothie

  • 2 mini cucumbers OR 1 large cucumber
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup skim
  • 1 packet stevia OR 2 packets of sweetener of your choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • drizzle vanilla extract OR vanilla-flavored syrup
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • a couple handfuls of leafy greens
  • 2-3 big handfuls of ice

Blend all of the ingredients except the ice, then add the cubes incrementally until well-combined. Pour and serve.

Recipe: Recovery Green Smoothie

  • half a frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup frozen mango
  • 1 small handful of ice

This energizing green smoothie makes a great post-workout snack. Eating a small meal or snack with a hefty dose of protein within one hour of exercising helps the body to repair muscles more efficiently.

Recipe: Four-Fruit Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple and juice
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 packet of Splenda
  • 1 big pinch xantham gum

Blend and enjoy.  No ice needed for this smoothie due to the incorporation of frozen fruits. 

Recipe: Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup frozen peach slices (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 packet stevia/sweetener
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 handful ice

Blend everything up to the ice, then add the cubes. Process until thick and creamy, then serve. A dash of cinnamon would not be uncalled for!

Recipe: Savory Curry Smoothie

  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 1 T curried peanut butter (OR 1 T peanut butter + 1 tsp curry powder)
  • 1 handful ice cubes

Blend, pour, and enjoy this unique and delicious green smoothie.

Happy blending!
Happy blending!

All writing and photography copyright of Beth Morey, 2007-2010. Reproduction/reprinting is prohibited, although linking to this hub as an information source is permitted.

Talk Back!

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    • Grndzro Ygtbfkm profile image

      Grndzro Ygtbfkm 

      4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Dont use gum in a smoothie...

      Use chia seeds...or a tiny bit of Psylium powder.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      8 years ago from New Brunswick

      We enjoy smoothies and now can make green, thanks.

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Thanks, Money Glitch! Green smoothies are strangely addictive. :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      O.k. I'm going to have to bookmark this hub so that I can get my sister back with a different type of green smoothie. The first time she gave me one I refused to taste it, however, with a little coaxing I tried it and now I'm hooked on them.

      Thanks for sharing so many recipes and Congrats on being nominated to the HubNuggets Wannabe Contest for this week. :)

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      One green smoothie coming right up, ripple! :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Okay blend me some and I will try to drink it! LOL Thanks for this green smoothie hub. The Hubnuggets Team will probably need it after all the hard work of picking the Hubnugget hubs! Congratulations for your Hubnugget nomination: https://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/2010-A-HubNu...

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Thanks for the input, salt. That's really interesting! It's so amazing what a delicate yet efficient machine the human body is.

    • salt profile image

      salt 

      8 years ago from australia

      soothies are fantastic for health, you have to be careful though. Some people, especially with psychiatric diagnosis, can only eat the natural smoothies. The suppliments make them too strong and can distort medication. So if your trying to be well, or get well, smoothies are great, but sometimes you have to look at the additives and make sure they wont upset your body.

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Thanks for stopping by, Sablirab! Yes, Greek yogurt is amazing. It would make a great smoothie addition -- but for me, it's so good that I like to enjoy it straight up in its own right. Yum! The honey is particularly good.

    • profile image

      TheSablirab 

      8 years ago

      Betherann - what about Greek yougurt? I've heard it is very good for ya, but haven't taken the time to go online and see. My mom just recently bought some of the honey flavored yogurt, and loves it.

      Great Hub by the way! I will have to try the recipees when I buy a new blender. Buying a cheap one never works out in the end.

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Yum! That sounds great, Trish!

    • Trish62 profile image

      Trish62 

      8 years ago

      Great Article! I juice together spinach, carrots and a apple for a smoothie like drink. I can't have milk products,and so I came up with this.

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Susanne, I like your philosophy!

    • naturalhealthchat profile image

      Susanne Morrone, B.S., C.N.C., LMT 

      8 years ago from Greater Philadelphia area, PA, USA

      Hi, betherann! Was scanning the articles as a newcomer, and this hub caught my eye! Love those greens. Very nice work and delicious recipes. "A day without greens is like a day without sunshine!" :0) Susanne

    • betherann profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      Carrots sound like a great addition to a green smoothie, Pamela. I've used cucumbers in smoothies to great effect (see above), but have had less success with broccoli. That was a funky smoothie, let me tell you. Blech! :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      They might not be the most attractive smoothies but they are packed with healthy nutrients. I usually use fruit or carrots with green vegetables, but I have never made an all green one before. Good hub.

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