I never thought I would be one to jump on the green smoothie bandwagon. It resided in the realm of healthy-but-too-weird. Sure I’m smitten with banana smoothies, particularly if they contain a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon. Berry smoothies are blissful and the colour alone is enough to brighten ones day. Mango, passionfruit, papaya…all fine with me. But a smoothie that is green and has vegetables in it? I think I’ll pass, thank you very much. I strongly believe that you should never judge a book by its cover, yet the words green and smoothie just don’t correlate in my head. Surely it must be some kind of evil witchy brew? Or at least like the medicine that mum used to force-feed you, extremely good for you but awful all the same. I was positive that green vegetables and smoothies should not exist on the same wavelength. Just no. That was until I chided myself for being a chicken and decided to take the jump. In recent times their popularity has skyrocketed, and that either means that everyone has taken leave of their senses and transformed into green smoothie monsters, or heaven forbid, they actually taste pretty good.
I figured that even if the smoothie did taste vile, I could knock it back pretty quickly and at least be proud of giving it a shot. There wasn’t much to lose, right? Rather than following a recipe – there are millions out there, millions people – I decided to conjure up my own. It felt rather like potions class when I started adding the spinach – the mixture turned an evil looking green. But witchiness aside, the smoothie tasted fantastic. Not as brilliant as a good ol banana smoothie (though in my book nothing beats that), but pretty darn tasty. What I hadn’t realised is that you wouldn’t even detect the spinach, or barely at all. This hits the whole sneaking-nutrients-into-foods-thing (you feel pretty saint-like after consuming it) right on the head. Furthermore, if you add more berries, the smoothie turns purple so it doesn’t appear to contain anything remotely like a leafy green.
Because the spinach imparts such a subtle flavour you can mix and match the other ingredients however you like. I added flaxseed for a hit of omega’s and fibre, but you can certainly leave it out if you don’t like the taste (some people can find it bitter). I wanted to pop in a teaspoon of chia seeds too, however someone decided to use them all up in their muesli yesterday. Can a girl not get anything she wants around here? But I digress. The spinach releases a fair amount of liquid, meaning that you require far less milk than in a ‘normal’ one. If you like your smoothies so thick that you almost need a spoon to eat them with, then you needn’t bother with milk at all as the spinach will be more than sufficient in providing moisture! As the recipe stands below, I would still recommend two straws to drink it through – the consistency is more akin to a thick shake. And there’s nothing quite like colourful straws to make you feel like a kid again…
Many people put kale, celery and even broccoli in their smoothies, however I think that the spinach was a big enough step for now. And whilst I love broccoli, it will never find it’s way into a drink in my kitchen. We all have a ‘food-line’ to draw somewhere and that’s mine…
Hidden Greens Smoothie
One large serve (e.g. breakfast) or two small.
1 banana, (preferably frozen) thickly sliced
½ cup berries, fresh or frozen (frozen will produce a thicker consistency)
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 cup baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
1 tsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup milk of choice
Blitz all ingredients together in a blender until thick and creamy.
Add more milk if you like your smoothie on the runnier side, and sweeten with honey or maple syrup if you wish.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.