There are two things that almost all health gurus seem to agree that we should do: get more sleep and eat more green veggies. In fact, statistically, these are two things most of us are pretty bad at! I confess, I’m still seriously lacking in the sleep department (thank you sweet teething baby), but I have been making a conscious effort to eat (and drink) my greens.
In fact, when my friend Heather mentioned that she craves greens for a few weeks each spring, I realized that I often did too…but that I hadn’t really paid attention because that is often when our farmers have an abundance of leafy greens, so I was already getting plenty.
Green Smoothies vs. Green Juice
There are two schools of thought when it comes to drinking greens. One advocates green juices, saying that you can consume much more of the nutrients in the form of juice than you can by eating the veggies. This is true, but as green smoothie advocates explain, juices of any kind do not have the fiber that is naturally present in fruits and veggies and can spike blood sugar. Green smoothies solve this problem by combining the two.
Personally, I’ve always been more of a green smoothie fan than a green juice fan, since they seem less wasteful and fruits and veggies naturally contain fiber for a reason. At the end of the day, green juice and green smoothies are both an upgrade from the processed snacks and drinks like soda that many people consume, so veggie on! (And eat some salads too!)
Fruit & Veggie Ratios
I’ve noticed that many green smoothie recipes contain more fruit than vegetables. There’s certainly nothing wrong with fruit (and my recipe contains some) but most of us are already getting plenty of sugar, even from natural sources like sugar and fruit.
I try to always have a 2:1 veggie to fruit ratio in recipes and add a little liquid stevia if needed for sweetness. I usually don’t need the extra sweetness though, especially with the fruit. For a lower carb option, omit the fruit and use a natural sweetener instead.
Getting Enough Greens
It’s always easy to get enough greens in early spring when local markets have an abundance of them. We drink green smoothies often, but also make sure to eat lots of salads and cooked green veggies. We usually try to work in green smoothies with breakfast (or for breakfast). Salads are our go-to lunch, topped with healthy proteins like chicken, grilled meats, or fish. Dinner is a great time to get cooked veggies in as soups or as a side.
The recipe below is one of my favorites, but there are whole books dedicated to green smoothies if you want more ideas.
Cucumber Lime Veggie Smoothie Recipe
- 2 cups water (or coconut or almond milk for a more creamy smoothie)
- 1 cucumber (roughly chopped)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 limes (juiced)
- 2 kiwi (peeled and chopped)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
- 1 tsp matcha powder optional
- ½ fresh avocado (skin removed)
- ½ cup frozen pineapple or fresh plus some ice cubes
- 1 scoop greens powder (optional, but adds a lot of extra nutrients)
- 1 scoop collagen powder (optional)
- Place water or milk, cucumber, and spinach in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend on high again until completely smooth.
- Serve immediately and enjoy! 🙂
Healthier Smoothie Variations & Adaptions
Like any smoothie, this recipe is endlessly versatile. Here are some variations to try:
- Gorilla Green Smoothie – This green smoothie variation (and 5 other healthy smoothie recipes) are in my Wellness Mama Cookbook.
- More Protein – Add a protein powder or collagen powder.
- Up the Healthy Fats – Want to add more healthy fats? This is especially helpful for satiating kids who are always hungry. Use coconut milk for the base instead of water and add a couple Tablespoons of coconut oil.
- Lower Carb – Omit the fruit and use a couple drops of liquid stevia instead. You can also use berries in place of the pineapple and kiwi. These are lower carb, but they will change the color.
Want an All Veggie Smoothie?
If you’re looking for my original green smoothie recipe that was all veggie, here it is. Please note that this recipe is not for the faint of heart!
In the blender, combine:
- one small tomato
- ¼ of a cucumber
- one bell pepper
- one jalapeño
- ¼ of an onion
- 1-2 cloves of raw garlic
- 1-2 stalks of celery
- 3-4 big handfulls of greens of choice
- 1 tsp kelp
- 2 tsp spirulina powder
- 2 cups water
- handful of ice cubes
I make my smoothies in our Vitamix, so quantities might need to be adjusted if you have a smaller size blender. If you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you do have and add any vegetables that can be eaten raw. As one reader recommended, I have also started adding turmeric, as this gives additional health benefits.
Blend ingredients until smooth. Smoothie will be thick. I find the easiest way to drink it is like one would do weights at the gym, in sets. I take 5 gulps, chase with water, and repeat. If you don’t handle spicy foods well, omit the jalapeño!
Ever tried a veggie green smoothie like this? What is your favorite type of healthy smoothie? Share below!
Discussion (99 Comments)
Well, I hope I can stomach the flavor! It sounds like a great healthy smoothie!
Thank you for the info. I added a scoop of vegan protein into my smoothie. Mostly because I did not have all the ingrediants. I did also want to know if you use the powdered form of tummeric, spirulina, and Kelp or natural form? : )
Either one. I order all mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, so the powdered ones are literally just a powdered version with no added ingredients. I have a vitamix, so I could add the whole herbs and they would get pulverized as well, but for other blenders, the powdered version works better.
Hi, I was just web surfing, looking for a veggie smoothie, when I came across yours. It sounds great! I think I will have one for dinner tonight. Just one thing though, it does not say how many times a day you should drink the smoothie in order to get the required daily supply of veggies for a healthy diet.?.?.? : )
The size I make will get you pretty close to the daily servings with just one, but when I’m trying to clean out my system or feel like i might get sick, I drink 2-3 times a day.
I was wondering this same thing–this makes a lot of green smoothie–it filled my quart sized jar and a 16-oz glass. Do you drink it throughout the day? It is seriously green. Seriously spicy and I’m feeling (only five minutes after drinking it) that it is going to purge my insides. I keep telling myself it’s only well chewed veggies, but phew! The jalapeno certainly adds a kick!
I do drink throughout the day but you can omit the peppers if you like 🙂
I will try this … is Turmeric a spice? Is that where I find it?
Yep… A spice. I get mine from mountain rose herbs (link under resources) or available at most stores.
I’ve done smoothies a few times & have one I really like but I think I’ll try yours. Where do I find turmeric … never heard of it. Also, what do you use to solve the gas problems (if you have it) that go with the increase in veggies?
What about replacing 1 cup of water with one cup of coconut milk? Coconut milk is what I used to use when I made green smoothies. Though my green smoothies had fruit in them back then. Now that I’m diabetic I can’t add the fruit as it is too much for me.
By the way, thank you so much for posting this, I’ve been trying to find something like this for the last couple months. It’s like V8 juice with a boost. 😀
So you liken it to V-8…does it really taste like it….I’ve been trying to get the right combo for some time now…..
V8 isn’t too bad. I suppose this drink can’t be all that bad either. Maybe I could try it when I have all the ingredients 😉
I just tried the shake. It actually tasted pretty good! Are you supposed to drink this in one sitting? Seemed like a lot. Thanks in advance
haha… if you can! I know its a lot, but the nutrients diminish the longer it sits. You’re a brave soul to try it! 🙂
Thank you for your response. I have one more silly question…when eating fresh raw spinach, are you supposed to just eat the leafy portion? The spinach I purchased has a small stem attached. Just curious if your supposed to consume the entire leaf/stem??
Oh, definitely. I understand that most, if not all of the nutrients come from the leaf part, as the stem part is probably only 5% of the spinach?
Is it possible that you should half this. The amount you put in and split it up in to a day if there’s a lot to finish and nutrients get lost during the time it takes to drink. Just a thought.
How do the nutrients diminish from sitting? I didn’t know this!
Where can I find Spirulina? I’ve never heard of it before, but I think I would like to try this out 🙂
I buy mine here: https://wellnessmama.com/go/spirulina/ by the pound and a pound goes a long, long way in smoothies!
I use NOW foods Spirulina – thoughts on the quality?
I found this in a review for the now foods spirulina powder on amazon, I’d say AVOID!!!:
“UPDATE: June 11, 2012 I just called Now Foods to ask why they do not say Hawaii on the label like it used to. They said because the 4 lb. size of Now foods spirulina I just purchased from Amazon is not from Hawaii and it is in fact from India as they were not able to get from Hawaii. I also asked if it was organic and they said no, What a disappointment as I now have to send it back to Amazon and am going to change the 3 stars to 2 stars.”
Also, other reviews complain that it smells like sewage! You might try calling them to see if they still get their spirulina from Hawaii but with the Fukushima incident, I personally don’t feel comfortable getting spirulina from Hawaii anymore.
You can find spirulina at most at health food stores or on line at nuts.com which has really good prices compared to stores. I have been using it for more that 40 years.
You can buy spirulina on Amazon.
Thanks for the comment. One thing I want to caution is that anyone struggling with blood sugar issues (which is a large part of the population today) should avoid rice milk as it is very high glycemic and will raise the blood sugar. Turmeric is a wonderful idea though, I will try adding that to my smoothie tonight!
I’ve been doing this myself for about a year or more and i’ve grown to actually enjoy them because of the health benefits. My only suggestion though to make it a bit more bearable is to use rice milk rather than water and depending on your taste buds I also add Turmeric which is a great cancer fighting agent among many other things