Sunday, October 10, 2010
How to make a green smoothie that doesn't suck
I know, I know. I told you yesterday that I would be shifting my focus from food this month, and I am, seriously! Yesterday I had a totally awesome day out on the town with Aaron doing tons of explore-y, non food related-y type activities. And it rocked and I'll probably write about it sometime. But, I figured that because I DO have all this nutritional knowledge/wisdom jammed in my head, I might as well let it out and share some with the world. Kind of like seeing a priest or bishop; you've got all these things weighing on your mind, you let out everything that's been bothering you, and when you're done....relief! I'm not Catholic, but I confess! I'm a green smoothie addict, and you can be too if you want after reading this post :)
For those of you not in the vegan community, you may not realize it, but green smoothies are kind of a big deal. Huge, actually. Like Michael Jackson huge. Whether you love them or hate them, you know they exist, and you've probably tried them, either sparking a new obsession or triggering your gag reflex. I'm here to tell you how to prevent the latter.
When I first started making green smoothies, I hadn't really browsed recipes for them. I figured, what's to read? They're smoothies...that are green...which means blending a bunch of vegetables together and drinking them! Even though I was wary of creating a sludgy hulk-colored Frappccino abomination, I wanted to experience the supposed energy boost I'd get from the vitamin-packed, antioxidant rich magical elixir I'd caught wind of in the online vegan community. So I threw all the beautiful veggies I could dream up into a blender; spinach, carrots, broccoli, jicima, bell peppers, and dandelion leaves because I was feeling a bit crazy. I also rationalized that because I was a newbie to smoothie town, I'd break up the intense veggie magic with some sweeteners and flavor enhancers. I tossed in some frozen blueberries and unsweetened cocoa powder. The result? My "green" smoothie looked like a blender full of poop. And it tasted that way too.
Doggedly, I continued to experiment with different veggies, cursing the day I ventured into uncharted veggie-smoothie territory. Did I look at recipes? No. Did I accept Aaron's generous offer to "help" me with my smoothies? Of course not. Because I'm an idiot. It wasn't until I saw the documentary "Crazy Sexy Cancer" (which is uplifting but a little cheesy for me) and watched the bonus features on How To Make Green Smoothies that I realized just how many things I'd been doing to destroy the potentially delicious concoctions. I made some key corrections to my misguided smoothie recipe, and voila! Green smoothie heaven! You couldn't stop me from chugging them like a sorority girl on dollar beer night if you tried! Here are some basic instructions for making a green smoothie that will make your taste buds sing and your energy skyrocket. :)
1. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)- I cannot emphasize this enough. Throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the blender tends to result in a drink that tastes like something clogged in the kitchen sink. I've found this to be true with most recipes in general. I'm a terrible cook, and am just now discovering the beauty of a few well-combined ingredients. Aaron is the great cook of our household, and I'm slowly letting go of my stubbornness and allowing him to be my Sensei of the kitchen. 6 ingredients or less is usually best.
2. Don't try to make vegetables taste like chocolate. This is clearly a bad idea, and I don't know why I thought it would work. The only time I've ever heard of chocolate and veggies gathering together in perfect harmony is in the occasional baked good, where zucchini or squash sneakily nestles among the other flavorful ingredients as a texture enhancer.
3. Don't mix and match your veggie colors and flavors. If you want a GREEN smoothie, it's best to include veggies that are GREEN. Also, you want to stick to a specific flavor idea. Like if you want a "fresh and light" smoothie, you should probably only include fresh, subtle veggies to put into your smoothie. No adding heavy starchy carrots with delicate cucumbers. They don't play well together.
4. Don't put in veggies that are going to leave "debris". Unless you like chewing your drink. Carrots leave behind chunks. So does jicima. Broccoli leaves behind those cute little broccoli ball top thingies. It's grainy and the experience is reminiscent of drinking puke.
5. Read. Recipes. Follow. Recipes. Experiment later.
That's it! Here's my recipe for my favorite favorite favorite green smoothie, and then a link to smoothies that probably taste a lot better than mine anyway.
Amanda's Amazingly Non-Sucky Green Smoothie Recipe
1 stalk celery
2-3 spears asparagus
small bunch of parsley
handful of frozen grapes (this helps with sweetness and a light flavor!)
1/2-1 frozen banana
1 scoop chai flavored vega whole foods health optimizer (I'm sure like 99 percent of you don't have this stuff, but I usually put that in to get some protein cuz I'm a vegan! And vegans need protein! So they say. You can put in any flavor of protein powder you want, I'd stick with something light like vanilla if you use any protein powder at all. Honestly it would probably taste better without this ingredient but would be less filling if you drink this shake for a meal)
And here's a website with green smoothie recipes that probably taste way better than mine but I'm too stubborn to admit it:
Also, I included the obligatory picture of my own smoothie. It's not that pretty. Don't judge. AND I thought I'd include the ridiculous amounts of squash and avocados Aaron eats in the background of our picture. They're gorgeous! And not half the amount of veggies we eat in a week or 2!