Smoothies are a quick and delicious way to enjoy fruits and vegetables. Some are better suited to blending and some are perfect for juicing. Here is a guide to popular ingredients for a great green smoothie!
Even if you don’t have a juicer, you can use many of the ingredients below in a blender. If there is too much pulp, you can always filter the juice before drinking it. Modern high end blenders like the Ninja and Vitamix can make filtering unnecessary. Below is the blender we currently have and it does the job, plus I like the pouring spout.
Here is my current favorite recipe base, depending on what I have on hand. I use my juicer first, on everything except bananas, tofu/ice cream and frozen fruits, then use the blender to finish it off and mix it all together.
(This is a pic of the veg juice after juicing)
Green Goodness Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie
16 oz or more: Juicy fruit base (apples, honeydew, watermelon, grapes, etc)
4 stalks of celery
1 bunch spinach and/or kale
2 oz silken tofu (for protein – optional)
2 oz yogurt, kefir, almond milk, coconut milk, or ice cream (to balance the usually acidic juices and add sweetness)
or, 1 scoop of protein powder like Whey Protein powder (Hemp is good too but dark)
4 oz frozen fruit (I like berry mixes or tropical)
honey (as needed for sweetness)
Yield: About 2 L. of smoothie
Alternatively, you can add ready-made frozen fruit smoothie mixes to round out the flavors. I particularly like the pina colada ones. Matched with fresh or frozen bananas, coconut milk and whey protein powder, it’s a dessert in itself – no extra sweetening needed. You can also use jams or jellies to add sweetness and fruits that may not be in season – my banana kiwi jam and strawberry guava both add nice tropical notes, and I’ve recently made an apple pineapple jam that is great for the pina coladas.
Many juicy fruits are easy to blend and juice; other fruits are better left for the blender. I have included the nutritional information for each in (), here is a good list for many fruits; since all fruits have flavonoids I have excluded listing them specifically.
Watermelon – I like it both blended and juiced. It is usually a sweet juice, and paradoxically, a good diuretic (it makes you pee more)! It is a good base juice for adding other, more nutritious, juices. (potassium, manganese, vits. B1, B6, C)
Honeydew & Cantaloupe – More juicy fruits that work well as a base. Honeydew is slightly sweeter. (honeydew: vit C. cantaloupe: vits. A, C, B-complex, copper, iron, magnesium)
Apple -My personal favorite fruit base to juice. I love the taste of freshly made apple juice. Green apples are more tart, red are more bland, and my favorite is Gala. Apples can be blended but since they’re so high in fiber you might want to filter the juice. (beta-carotene, vits. A, C, B-complex)
Pears – These are better suited to juicing in my opinion, as there is a lot of grittiness (eat them raw for a laxative to help your colon). Try to find juicier ones, as some pear varieties can be quite dry especially when unripe. Most of the nutrition, like a potato, is right under the skin so don’t peel them if you are hoping to benefit your health. (copper, vits. C, K, B-complex)
Orange/Lemon – The “gold standard” of breakfast juices. High in citric acid so it adds a strong sour/sweet note in your juice; if combined with anything dairy it will curdle the milk proteins. A very good juice to add with iron-containing juices as the vit. C helps your body absorb the iron. I like using a citrus juicer rather than peeling and then juicing the pieces; I do not recommend juicing a whole orange. (calcium, copper, potassium, vits. A, C, B-complex)
Berries (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry,cranberry etc) – Definitely delicious! If you can handle the seeds that usually accompany berries, go ahead and blend them; juicing removes most of the seeds. (usually vits. A, C, minerals)
Peach/Apricot – These are good juices, very strong in flavor, that add a nice touch to any smoothie. Since the fruit is a bit thicker, expect less juice with a juicer. (vits. A, C, minerals)
Banana – Bananas are in almost every smoothie you’ll buy – it’s such a popular taste, and bananas add a nice smooth flavor balance to many other fruits that are high in vit. C. I’m not the biggest fan of straight banana flavor so I usually just add one or two for a whole pitcher of juice. (vits. B6, C, copper, manganese, magnesium)
Mango– My favorite. Yum. But, it doesn’t do so well in a juicer so best left for the blender. A nice mix between tangy, sweet and almost creamy. (vits. A, C, E, K, B-complex (esp B6), copper)
Papaya – Another tropical flavor, but not everybody’s favorite. Papaya is a bit raw by itself (the source of a potent meat tenderizer) but it adds a wonderful touch combined with fruits like mango, banana, coconut, pineapple. Also a better fruit (peeled) for the blender. (vits, A, C, B-complex)
Pineapple – Pineapple is like papaya (also contains meat tenderizer) but also more potent, very similar to orange juice. A fruit that does well in a blender, although a bit stringy, and also well in a juicer. (vits. C, B-complex, manganese, copper)
Grapes – A great item for the juicer. I like to throw a few in as I add the spinach to help the spinach juice make it out of the juicer. Very juicy, a good base juice, and really sweet. Not recommended for blending unless you really like the pungency of grape skin/seeds. (vits. C, E, K, copper)
Avocado – I really wouldn’t recommend juicing avocados but it’s certainly possible; blending them is probably the best. Avocados add much needed fat and protein to green smoothies, and just read the nutrient list! (vits. K, C, E, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, lutein, magnesium, monounsaturated fats and protein)
Spinach – A super-powered vegetable that surprisingly juices well! I don’t particularly like it blended but that’s an option too. A whole bunch of spinach won’t make much juice but it does turn it green and add lots of goodness. The flavor is nice, adds depth to the fruitiness of a normal smoothie. (folate, vits. A, B, C, E, K, iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, potassium, betaine, and more!)
Kale – I have to admit being less than a fan at first because it doesn’t juice well, and it’s too fibery for my taste put into a blender. However, it’s fantastically high in some nutrients and so I’ve gotten over it and begun to enjoy it regularly! (too much to list, look here)
Carrot – The eye veg! Great for juicing (avoid blending), and adds a nice rich earthy flavor if not used as a majority flavor; very strong taste. (vits. A, B-complex, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium)
Celery -The salty veg. Celery is really good for mixing with other flavors, as it seems to bring out their flavors more without taking over. (vit. C)
Cucumber -The watery veg. It’s perfect for juicing. (high potassium, vits. A, C, K and more)
Beet – Definitely must be juiced first if raw. It’s a very very strong earthy flavor, and bright red, which will stain. Beets are very high in nutrients and well worth the add to any smoothie. (phytochemicals, folates, various vits. and minerals)
Tomato – Technically a fruit, tomato juice is a common and delicious table vegetable juice. Since it has such a strong, recognizable flavor, though, I only add it when I strive for that “V8” flavor. (vits. A, C, E, potassium)
I don’t mention collards and other leafy greens because I have not a taste for them and highly prefer spinach. But they can certainly be juiced and provide plenty of nutrition. 🙂
Our current blender: Hamilton Beach 58148A Power Elite Multi-Function Blender