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The Simplest Green Smoothie

The Back-To-Basics/Beginner Green Smoothie Recipe

I've already shared with you one green smoothie recipe before, but I feel like that was a more "advanced" version, for those who are already familiar and fully on board with green smoothies. I also described a little bit of my own journey to green smoothies in that post- how despite my love of the green color I was a bit reluctant to actually drink it at first. But that was so many years ago it feels like a different lifetime. Now green (and not only green) smoothies have become a part of my almost every day.

However, I do remember when I first started and I did start from the very basic one, the one I'd like to share with you today, in case you're new to this and wonder where to even begin.

I will also suggest a couple of simple variations if you feel like your taste buds (and your mindset) are ready for it.

And if you're a long-time green smoothie lover this could be a good back-to-basics moment for you.

The Basic Green Smoothie Recipe

The simplest version.

Of course you could just throw a handful of baby spinach along with a little bit of water to a blender and call that "the simplest version", but I'm going to assume we'd rather make it more delicious and nutritious than just that. (Although if pure spinach smoothie is your thing- by all means go for it).

For this simple base you will need: Baby Spinach, an Apple, a Banana, an Orange and some water.

  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach

  • 1/4 to 1/2 of an apple (depending on the size of the apple and your preference)

  • 1/2 a banana (fresh or frozen, but either way make sure it's very ripe)

  • 1/4 of an orange or about 1/6 of a grapefruit

  • 1/4 to 3/4 cup of water (adjust accordingly to your preference, whether you like it thicker, for instance for a smoothie bowl, or a more watery, more drinkable consistency)

Rinse the baby spinach and wash the fruit well. Next, cut off the desired amount of each fruit and cut those chunks into smaller pieces to make it easier on your blender. Place everything into your blender along with the desired amount of water (less for a thicker smoothie, more for a runnier one, if you don't know what you like, start with just 1/4 cup and then add more if you feel like it's too think for you) and blend everything into a smooth drink. Once you're done there shouldn't be any fruit or spinach pieces floating around in your smoothie, everything should be nicely blended into one, almost completely homogenous liquid.

  • Optional: spirulina, 1/2 tsp

For this amount of fruit I like to add about 1/2 teaspoon of green Spirulina powder to my blender. I do it because I like the way it enriches the green color of the smoothie, by making it, in my opinion, a lot nicer deeper green, plus of course it's packed with vitamins, (especially the B vitamins, but also vitamin K, E, C and A), minerals (especially copper, iron and manganese), antioxidants and it's also got anti-infmalmatory properties.

  • Optional: ground flax seeds, 1 tsp

I add it mainly for some extra fiber and the Omega-3 fatty acids (as well as a buch of other super useful nutrients). I like to add it especially if I'm using some very sweet fruit, and not adding that much more veggies to the mix. This way I make sure I don't create too rapid and too high of a spike in my blood sugar levels.

  • Optional: fresh ginger, about 1/2 inch piece

I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but adding a little bit of fresh ginger into a smoothie like this can boost its anti-inflammatory properties as well as make it a bit more warming for your body. That's especially good if you're feeling like having this kind of a smoothie in the cooler months of the year. When you have it in the summertime you can definitely skip the ginger, but in the colder months I actually recommend adding it in as often as possible. It's because of the cooling properties of the fruits we're using here. On a cooler day you want to balance the cooling effects with the warming effects of ginger. And, though I hope it goes without saying, avoid drinking this smoothie too cold, room-temperature should be okay. When it's really cold outside your body generally shouldn't crave as much fruit, especially not the cooling fruits. In those times I would pass on breakfast smoothies and go for some nice warm oatmeal instead. But if you really need that smoothie I'd go for something more veggie-heavy and definitely with a lot more ginger. If you really need that fruit in the middle of freezing winter I suggest opting for cooked fruit, (for example this recipe), fruit and oat crumbles (such as this one) or even broiled fruit.

  • Optional: add in some zucchini and celery stalk pieces

I also like to add about an 1.5 inch of zucchini and 1-2 celery stalks, all cut to smaller pieces to make it easier on the blender. Neither one of those veggies will significantly change the taste, color or texture of your smoothie, but they will add a huge amount of additional nutrients. This is especially good for people who have a hard time adding in vegetables to their meals.

  • Optional: add in whatever else you want

Like I wrote in the other smoothie post, the possibilities are endless, so you are welcome to use the above instructions as a base and then experiment with adding/substituting whatever else you like or have lying around your kitchen, be it some other fruits (for example pineapple, nectarines, peaches or pears) other vegetables or leafy greens (kale, carrots, lettuce), substituting the water for plant-based milks, (even if you're not plant-based I wouldn't recommend mixing cows' milk with fruit like that).

A good rule of thumb is to use a lot of leafy greens (like spinach, kale), a some sweet fruit for sweetener (bananas, apples, peaches, nectarines, pears, etc.), a little bit of a more acidic fruit for taste balance (lemon, orange, grapefruit), and then you can add whatever else you like. Adding fruit like bananas will make the smoothie creamier, adding fruit like apples will make it a bit more watery, I recommend playing with this ratio to your liking.

I should say, though, that if you care at all about the visual aspect of the food you consume, I recommend reading the bit about colors in my previous smoothie post, because if you don't know much about the color theory you might unintentionally end up with a disgusting-looking (yet nevertheless delicious) smoothie that you might not feel good about drinking yourself or serving to anyone.

If the fruit you're using isn't too sweet you may want to throw in a couple of dates to make your smoothie a bit sweeter, but I generally recommend just using a ripe banana and that should do the trick.

Some other superfood powders could work here as well, for instance the Maca powder, but remember, everything in moderation.


Remember that there is a big difference between throwing in a ton of fruit into your smoothie and throwing in a ton of leafy greens. While I am by no means a proponent of calorie counting, we do have to be mindful that it is very easy to quickly drink a huge amount of fruit that we wouldn't normally be able to eat as quickly or at all in one go. So in general, as you experiment I recommend adding the fruit more for just the taste and the sweetness, and concentrating more on the veggies (mostly leafy greens), especially the ones that don't change the taste of the drink after you've already sweeten it with a ripe banana and/or a sweet apple.


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