Green smoothies can be super healthy for you. They contain a ton of nutrient-dense leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, and often contain other fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and even super greens like chlorella and spirulina. All of these make them super healthy for you, energizing and the perfect thing to add to your daily routine.
Unfortunately, they can also taste downright awful if not blended with the proper ingredients. Too much of a certain green can over power the taste of your smoothie, making it anything but appetizing. Instead of forgoing these super healthy greens completely, you can follow a few guidelines or tips to keep your green smoothie healthy and delicious.
Here are 8 ways to make your green smoothie taste better:
Follow a Recipe:
Just like cooking or making a salad, sometimes it helps to have a recipe to follow, especially when you are first starting out. Without it, you might end up using the “kitchen sink” method, where you throw in any and every bit of produce you have on hand. This might save you from wasting some food, but it usually tastes a bit awful, with flavors that don’t quite blend together.
Instead of winging it, follow a recipe to start, or some guidelines. Aim for fruits that are similar (berries, citrus, tropical), one or two mild greens (kale and spinach), a banana to sweeten it up, and a liquid of choice (non-dairy milk, coconut water, water).
Bananas, especially frozen ones, help to make your smoothie thick and creamy, as well as sweeten it. Bananas are naturally sweet and also contain a high amount of potassium and fiber, to balance out the natural sugars in the fruit. This makes them perfect for blending into you green smoothies. The sweetness balances out some of the more grassy and earthy flavors of your greens and vegetables, without becoming overpowering. It also helps to make it more of a smoothie, rather than a green sludge.
Keep it simple
Along with following a recipe, just keep it simple. Even when you start to play with ingredients that taste good together, adding too many can overpower the flavors of your smoothie, or even cause some indigestion. WHen you first start out, opt for one green, one banana, one liquid and the option of one additional fruit, one additional veggie and one seed/nut if needed.
As you get your system and tastebuds used to this balance, start adding in one more fruit or one more veggie, and playing around with nuts and seeds. This way, you keep it simple and allow your body time to adjust to your cleansing green smoothie.
Vary your greens
Not all leafy greens taste the same. Some are a bit bitter, some are extremely neutral and some are even a bit sweet. When you start making green smoothies, it is important to pay attention to which greens you use, not just so you don’t overwhelm the flavor and digestibility of your smoothie, but also so you have a few varieties to make. Spinach is a very neutral green that will go well with just about anything, making it great for thicker green smoothies that use nut butters and creamy liquids. Kale is a touch more bitter, so it goes best with juicier fruits and liquids. Broccoli (another leafy green) and sweet peas are perfect for adding to berry based smoothies, since they are both slightly sweet when blended and won’t change the deep berry coloring of your smoothie.
Pair with bolder flavors
Once you have a basic green smoothie recipe, try adding a few bolder flavors, such as fresh herbs. Arugula adds a bit of spice and earthiness to your veggie
Make it juicy
A great way to make your smoothie taste fantastic is to make it taste juicy, using tropical or juicy fruits. Fruits like oranges, mango, pineapple and even grapefruit blend easily into your smoothies (as opposed to apples, which are harder to make smooth), and offer a ton of extra liquid as they break down. This makes your smoothie have a much smoother texture, be very juicy and have a bright, sweet flavor.
Lemon adds a distinct flavor to your smoothies. It brightens it up a bit, but also helps to cut through any especially grassy or even overly sweet flavors. They are also great for detoxing and cleansing your digestive tract and liver. Lemon goes well with most greens and fruits, and also with most liquids. Juice and coconut water help to make it a more balanced flavor, while lemon and non-dairy milk offer more a a dessert-like flavor (this works well with very mild greens and veggies). If you are new to using lemon in your smoothies, try a quarter or half a lemon to start. If you are a fan of the tart but sweet lemon flavor, go ahead and add the entire thing. If you are not a fan of lemon, try a bit of grapefruit or even a small orange.
Add ginger and spices
You can also add in some spices, just like you would if you were cooking. These can help you make your favorite smoothie recipe a little bit different, without you having to start form scratch or completely change your smoothie recipes. For a touch of spice that goes well with vegetable heavy smoothies, as well as more indulgent nut butter and green smoothies, try adding fresh ginger. Green smoothies that are thick and creamy, with spinach, banana, nut butter and non-dairy milk, go great with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Juicier and veggie heavy green smoothies, especially those with a tropical or citrus flavor to them, might benefit from a touch of cayenne or paprika to spice things up.
You could also play with small amounts of powders, such as hemp protein (it’s green), matcha green tea powder (a little caffeine boost), or even blue-green algae powders like spirulina and chlorella. Again,a dash goes a long way with these, so start small and add in more to your desired taste and texture.
To help you put all of this information together, I’ve created a Green Smoothies That Taste Great printable checklist. You can print it out and hang it on your fridge or put it in your recipe book so you can grab it when ready, or download it and have it handy on your tablet when you go to build your next green smoothie. Click below to download your guide.
For even more green smoothie tips and recipes, make sure to check out The Smoothie Life, your complete guide to making smoothies and living a healthier life. You’ll find all the tips from this post, plus over 20 green smoothie recipes (including recipes for those green powders!) and even more in-depth information on smoothie ingredients, blending, and how to put them all together. It also includes 2 7-day smoothie plans, so you’ll know exactly what to make each day. The Smoothie Life is available in print and digital format from Amazon.