Summer Green Smoothie Recipes

How Do You Make a Good Smoothie? Start With Fresh, Healthy Ingredients.

green-smoothie

Whether making a green smoothie or adding summer greens to a fruit smoothie, these blended concoctions are healthy and revitalizing.

The last year or so of high school through college, a close group of friends and I would go rollerblading or bike riding along the river. We would travel between three and 10 miles each trip and when we returned we would quench our thirst by preparing oversized, revitalizing smoothies. The smoothies acted as our vegetable, mineral, fruit and protein source. The blender masticated our drink, which allowed us to take in a large amount of nutrient-rich calories to feed and rebuild our muscles and aid in our digestion.

Today, I still enjoy a fruit- and vegetable-based smoothie multiple times a week after a hearty workout in the backyard. Smoothies can act as a meal replacement and are easy to consume on the go. The main difference between my smoothies today compared to my college years is that my green smoothies presently change according to the season and what I am currently growing in my yard. Since I am blending produce that I have an overabundance of from my garden, I am saving money and reducing food waste.

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One of my favorite tips for creating a smoothie is to prepare it in the container you are going to drink it from prior to putting it in the blender. This way you know exactly how much liquid and vegetables will fit. This method allows you to easily rinse out the blender before it gets hard to clean. Enjoy these spring and summer themed smoothies that you can make straight from your garden. Blend responsibly and stay healthy!

InGREENtients

These leafy greens are popular for green smoothie recipes. They can be combined or used individually to form the leafy green portion of any recipe. The best way to decide what makes it in the final formula is to see what is growing best in the garden at the time of the smoothie, whether I’m growing arugula from seed or planting kale.

• Arugula
• Beet greens
• Bok Choy
• Collard greens
• Dandelion greens
• Green and red leaf lettuce
• Kale
• Parsley
• Romaine lettuce
• Spinach
• Swiss chard
• Turnip green

green-smoothie

Citrus Celebration

Citrus Celebration

2 peeled citrus (lemon, orange, tangerine or grapefruit)
3 cups leafy greens
1 banana
Half a cucumber
A sprig of cilantro
Chunk of peeled ginger
8 ounces of filtered water

After a year or so of fighting to keep my cucumber vines alive I have now found a few varieties that do well in my area–including the exotic, yet tiny, Gherkin. Now, I am happily being inundated with these juicy, high water content, fruits. The combination of cucumbers and freshly peeled citrus is a cause for a celebration. The piece of peeled ginger brings a spicy quality to the drink, as well as aiding in digestions, reducing nausea and fighting the common cold and flu.

Powerful Parsley

1 cup fresh parsley (Italian, Japanese or curly)
1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted (papaya or kiwi are great alternatives)
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
3 cups leafy greens
8 ounces of filtered water

Blend until smooth

Parsley is not just a garnish. Parsley easily grows in my herb bed and I consider it a superfood. One cup of parsley contains around 22 calories, 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. It is also a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. One cup of parsley contains 3.7 milligrams of iron, making it the richest source of iron from any leafy green. Since papayas and bananas are easy to obtain from my Southern garden, this green smoothie is a popular one to make. Peeling, cutting and freezing the bananas prior to making the smoothie will result in a refreshing frozen treat.

green-smoothie

Mighty Mulberry

Mighty Mulberry

1/2 cup of mulberries (blackberries, raspberries as alternatives)
2 ripe pears or apples, chopped
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blackberries are great, but growing a mulberry tree that is thornless and does not take up a large footprint on your property seems like a better alternative. Mulberries support our immune system, provide antioxidants and can help maintain our blood sugar. Mulberry trees are generally hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

To make your own almond milk, soak almonds in water for 24 to 48 hours. Rinse the almonds and blend the soaked almonds with water until smooth.

green-smoothie

PB & J Greens

PB&J Greens

2 cups leafy greens
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 banana
8 ounces of filtered water
Protein powder (optional)

If you are craving the comfort of your childhood, this healthy alternative to the classic PB & J will do your body good. Fresh strawberries, leafy greens, and protein-rich peanut butter will give you the taste of nostalgia without the empty calories of white bread. If you don’t grow your own strawberries, you can visit a you-pick farm or purchase them in a flat for a fraction of the store cost.

Tomato Twister

4 medium carrots
6 medium tomatoes
Pinch of salt and black pepper
1 stalk of celery
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Hot pepper to taste

Just as the growing carrots and celery are ending their season, tomatoes and peppers start coming in by the bushels. An added benefit of blending fresh tomatoes is that the small blemishes disappear in the whirlwind the blender creates. Raw tomato juice provides us with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc, and phosphorus.

What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

Kenny Coogan, CPBT-KA, is a pet and garden columnist and has authored an ecological themed children’s book titled “A Tenrec Named Trey (And other odd lettered animals that like to play).” He enjoys cooking and blending produce from his yard. Please search “Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan” on Facebook to learn more.

Originally published in Countryside July/August 2016 and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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