Making Healthy Smoothies With Your Fresh Summer Greens

It’s a rare day that goes by in our home when we don’t make a fruit smoothie. Call us addicted. It’s a wonderful addiction to have!

Since I have 3 little ones and a husband that rely on me to help them get in maximum nutrition with each and every bite they take, I frequently use our family’s beloved smoothies as a way of getting that nutrition in without fight and without fuss.

One of our favorite ways to do this is by adding fresh greens to our delicious fruit smoothies. Summer is the perfect time to learn how to make your own green smoothies with the abundance of greens that are out at your local farmer’s market, in your CSA box, or even in your own garden!

We love to make a mix of frozen berries, (which we pick and freeze in season each summer), bananas, cultured dairy or coconut products, a sweetener of choice, and of course, lots of greens. We make one most mornings and my children will slurp this down in 2 seconds flat and be asking for more.

The beauty of the green smoothie is that I can easily serve up the equivalent of a salad portion of these very dark and beneficial greens, in a form that is extremely digestible, makes it easy for the body to absorb all of the fantastic nutrients, and that everyone will happily devour!

Rather than write about how I make them, I thought I would just do a show-and-tell:

(If only I could finish the video by reaching out and handing the smoothie to you– I guess you’ll just have to try making one yourself!)

To recap (or for those who didn’t watch the video)…

Benefits of Fresh, Dark Leafy Greens

  • Contain vitamins C, E, and K
  • High in Beta-Carotene
  • Minerals- high in iron, calcium and many important trace minerals as well
  • Greens have phytonutrients and antioxidants, which protect cells from damage (may help to prevent cancer, among other things)
  • Amino acids (the building blocks of protein- greens contain more than you might think!)
  • Improve quality and quantity of red blood cells, as well as circulation
  • Help to eliminate bad breath!
  • Detoxifying for the body because of their chlorophyll content (this is what makes them green), which supports the liver and helps to pull toxins, including heavy metals, out of the body
  • Contain crucial Omega-3 fatty acids (not mentioned in the video- but very important!)
  • Lastly, greens are also high in enzymes (which aid digestion), they boost energy levels, they help to strengthen the immune system and more!

Stephanie’s Basic Green Smoothie Recipe:

Serves 2

1 cup kefir/yogurt (or other dairy substitute, like coconut milk)
A good handful of green leaves, with the stems removed- Your choice of any dark, leafy like spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards, mustard greens, turnip or beet greens, or even a dark green lettuce. You can cram as much or as little in as you like, depending on your tastes and preferences.
1 cup frozen or fresh berries (blueberry, strawberries, raspberry, or any other kind you like!)
1 frozen or fresh banana
1 Tbsp. raw honey or other sweetener to taste
Purified water (enough to get a smooth blend and pourable consistency- add more as needed while blending)

  1. Combine all in your blender, starting with liquids on the bottom (the order I have the ingredients in is a good way to do it).
  2. Add water almost to just under the top of your fruit level.
  3. Put the lid on and start blending. Add more water as necessary.
  4. Blend for about 20-60 seconds, depending on your blender and how powerful it is. In my VitaMix, I rarely blend for more than 30 seconds, usually less. In my previous Oster blender, it was often more like a minute in total.

More Green Smoothie Resource:

Spinach… I don’t see any spinach! @ Heavenly Homemakers

The Wonders of Green Smoothies @ Passionate Homemaking

Green Smoothies with Kale @ Kitchen Stewardship

Are you smoothie fans in your home? How do you ensure that you get enough of your leafy greens?

About Stephanie

Stephanie Langford has a passion for encouraging homemakers who want to make healthy changes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke, and (her newest!) through successful meal planning. Together she runs a music school teaching piano lessons in Surrey with her handsome husband, is mama to 4 little ones, and she is the editor and author of Keeper of the Home.

Comments

  1. I discovered green smoothies this spring. My kids LOVE them.
    Jennifer Jo´s latest post: Indian kick continued

  2. Fantastic video, Stephanie! We love kale but never thought to put it in our smoothies. I am definitely going to try this.
    Jackie@Lilolu´s latest post: Homemade Toothpaste A Bust For Us

  3. I want to try this! Sounds tasty. Do your children know there are greens in their smoothies?

    • Yes, sometimes they do! I don’t always mention it because they don’t notice and now that they’ve had it so many times, they don’t really care. I can’t remember if I served it without telling them the first couple times, just to see if they could tell and were happy with the taste.

      But I do try to be open with my children about what I serve them. I want them to understand why I’m doing it, and to have their own motivation to eat healthy things, not just because I sneak it in. I did come upon my blueberry trick (for covering up the green color) for their benefit, though. :)
      Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s latest post: A Gardener’s Look at Life

  4. My whole family likes green smoothies! In the summer, we like to use all frozen ingredients so its nice and cold. Sometimes we’ll make it turn out nice and thick, like a milk shake! Yumm!

    I use yogurt and milk for my base. I have to ask though – does kefir have a huge advantage over yogurt? Yogurt is easy for us ~ I can get it in the store and it’s easy to make at home without ordering anything special for it. (Like a kefir starter?) I’m just wondering if I really should switch to kefir or if just using plain yogurt will be OK.

  5. Why do you need to remove the stems?
    Can we have the smoothies with the stems blended?
    Tks

  6. Eeek! What a great idea for using up my CSA greens! Thank you for this tip. I’ve been making lettuce soup – yummmm – but I love this idea for smoothies. We have them almost everyday at our house and my kids (and me!) love ‘em. I have a bunch of sprouts from my CSA too – could I put those in there?
    Sarah @ Mum In Bloom´s latest post: Recipe- Frangrant Curried Turkey Meatballs

  7. I have a question about these. Many greens are more nutritious when cooked because it reduces oxalic acid which binds some of the minerals. Have you tried this with the greens cooked a bit?

  8. We LOVE green smoothies at our house!
    I have found that with our blender (a regular Oster, not anything special like a Vitamix! :) it works best to put the greens in first with a little bit of liquid – I use milk – and then blend it on high to get the greens really ground up well. Otherwise if we stick everything together the greens seem to be a little more chunky, shall I say, and noticeable.

    I have only made green smoothies with spinach so far, so I’m excited to expand our repertoire and try to some new greens in it this summer! Thanks for the great idea!
    Here’s a link to my green smoothie recipe:
    http://www.liverenewed.com/2009/08/going-green-smoothie-style.html

  9. Oh, I love green smoothies! The first one I made one, I gave it to my husband in a colored glass, so he couldn’t see the green in it – and he liked it! :) My whole family loves them, and it’s a great way to get my boys to eat greens. I’m trying to grow a new harvest of spinach now, and can’t wait to use it! P.S…. if you have an immersion blender, they’re awesome for smoothies, and it makes clean-up easier!

  10. Christal says:

    Thanks for sharing, your recipes are close to what I make. I have a magic bullet, which is good for when you making individual or 1 serving smoothies. The thing I learned is to blend the greens & kefir 1st before adding the fruit to insure greens are finely chopped. I use a plethora of tropical fruits (& always blueberries) & love to top with coconut milk. Adding a sweetener isn’t necessary for fruit is naturally sweet, but the use of raw honey has it’s medicinal properties too ;)

  11. We do this too. You have some great extra tips here I will have to try. For us, we don’t usually use anything but water (due to dairy issues and not liking coconut). I find that I need a bit less greens and a bit more frozen banana by just using water (well maybe its that I don’t use sweetener either since I can’t tolerate them well). Anyways it took a few tries to get some combinations that we really like around here. And even then sometimes I have to taste it and add something and blend some more. :)

  12. I have to admit, I’ve never had a green smoothie, and I KNOW my husband would refuse to try it if I made one! Maybe I’ll have to get some opaque cups for this very reason! I am pretty intrigued…does the smoothie TASTE like kale/etc, or does it have a grassy taste? Is the green taste totally imperceptible?
    Nikki Moore´s latest post: The Return- and Discovery

  13. We love green smoothies!! My favorite is a one that has frozen banana, blueberries, spinach, cucumber and ginger. YUM!!!

    • I second you on the ginger! I grate ginger and store it in tsp. size servings in a ziplock bag in the freezer. It adds some kick and unexpected zing. :-)

  14. That does look really good, Stephanie. We love smoothies too. We usually have them at least once a day. I love adding squash and zucchini, but I have never added greens. I really like kale, so I will definitely be giving this a try. (-: It was good to “see” you again in the video. Hope that you are having a great week!

  15. You and your family are very lucky that you can tolerate raw greens. Many of them are very high in oxalate, especially spinach. In people who are susceptible, oxalate can bind with calcium to form calcium oxalate crystals, which can lodge in almost any tissue in the body causing or exacerbating pain and inflammation.

    High oxalate greens are not healthy for everyone. A good source of accurate information on the potential troubles of high oxalate foods is provided by researcher Susan Owens at http://www.lowoxalate.info

    The more I tried to juice or make smoothies, the worse I felt! I’m happy you and your family can enjoy them.
    Sandra Lee´s latest post: 101 rays of gratitude

  16. I try to use kombucha or orange juice in place of added water. The vitamin c in the oj helps with iron absorption from the greens (I believe). Also I’ve found that my family doesn’t need sweetner, that the banana/fruit adds enough sweetness…although we on occasion do enjoy the benefits of raw honey. :)

  17. added bonus…freeze the extra smoothie into popsicles…my kids are gobbling these down this summer!!!

  18. Sounds great! I’m inspired. Time to go get some kale from the garden. :-)
    Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s latest post: The Aim Of Music

  19. Ok, this may give me the kick in the pants to try kale and chard again.
    Shannon´s latest post: New rules on the way regarding sunscreen

  20. I’ve never been a big juice drinker. and my mother juiced EVERYTHING growing up…but I”m going to try…at least a way to use up almost too fresh veggies and fruits. thanks.

    I linked to this on my blog – http://parentplanet.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/great-sites-8-26/

  21. Just had our green smoothies this aft! I recently branched out from spinach with some beautiful local red chard and kale. The chard has a strong taste, so I found we preferred less of it. The kale disappeared really well, as far as taste!

    I started steaming my greens, and feel that I digest them more easily. Especially with the raw spinach…before I would have an unpleasant feelin in my gut after drinking one with the raw. So I am sold on that benefit. Plus, I can go ahead and steam the remaining greens and freeze for later if needed.

    On stems, chard and kale are best to remove the stems b/c they are bitter.
    Amanda´s latest post: a new space

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  23. I really enjoy making smoothies. They are very easy to do, and full of nutrients that are important to keep our body as healthy as possible. They can also be prepared very quickly, so they are a good option when time is running out. Fresh summer greens do taste very well, so making smoothies with them is a nice idea.

  24. Hi Stephanie. Your article caught my eye, as I have at least one green smoothie every day. They are so nutritious. The main ingredient raw spinach, is a tremendous superfood! I usually add an avocado for a really creamy result, while also adding some healthy vegan fat and protein. Have a healthy day!
    -JR
    James´s latest post: Dec 7- Visit Waterfall Villas For A Great Raw Food Retreat!

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  27. Does the sweetener mask the green flavor? I’ve made green smoothies for my boyfriend and I before (with blueberries) but he never really liked them. I was using an Oster blender back then and I don’t think it was liquefying the greens enough either. I now have a Blendtec (rival of the Vitamix…lol) and I’m thinking it will do a much better job.

    Do you use any protein powders in your smoothies? I am using Raw Protein by Garden of Life now, but I’ve also liked Plant Fusion as it is less grainy. Neither has soy.

    Loving your blog!

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  30. Hi,

    I started making green smoothies after some months with fruit smoothies and I admit that despite preferring fruit ones, green smoothies are a natural way of eating lot of vegetables, that you wouldn’t be eating instead.

    Nice recipe, btw!

    Javi
    Javi´s latest post: Give Your Immune System a Boost with Green Smoothies

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