Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fruit and Veggie Smoothie



I should be eating breakfast but since the oatmeal is still bubbling away on the range-top, I'll share my fruit and veggie smoothie concoction instead.

If I ever set a plate before you piled high with raw spinach, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, kale, and radishes, it's not because I'm lazy - it's because I love you. I love you so much I want you to benefit from all the raw goodness - no loss of nutritional value or fiber due to cooking, no added fats or sugars, no added carbs. I want the people I love to live long healthful lives - packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and ruffage. Who knew not bothering to cook really says "I love you"?

But sometimes love just isn't enough when faced with a pile of vegetables. Sometimes you need a spoonful of sweet fruit bribery to make the love go down. That's when I turn to smoothies.


There's no real recipe for a good smoothie because it all depends on what's in season, how much vegetable goodness you can tollerate, and what flavors you like. I stick with a fairly high ratio of fruit to veggies, but if you don't mind green or gritty smoothies you always add more veggies. I also like to pack in a little protein, especially if this is all I'm making for dinner. Greek yogurt and oatmeal porridge are my go-to proteins. I also like my smoothies on the thick side - if you prefer a soupy sludge instead, add more fresh fruit (and veggies) and less frozen fruit.

I'll call this a summer smoothie.

Summer Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

1+1/2 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
2/3 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted
1 peach, diced
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
3/4 cup frozen cubed melon
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen bananas

  1. Add spinach, carrot, yogurt, cherries, peach and kiwi to a blender and puree (I prefer to use a Ninja; if you’re using a traditional blender, add small amounts to the blender, gradually adding more when pureed)
  2. Add pineapple and frozen melon and puree
  3. Add strawberries and orange juice and puree again
  4. Gradually add chunks of frozen banana, blending until smooth between each chunk of banana
  5. Allow to rest 5-8 minutes at room temperature (this allows smoothie flavors to combine as it melts slightly)
  6. Blend at highest setting for approx 1 minute till smooth and thick; serve immediately
Substitutions:
  • If you don’t have (or like) cherries, you can swap them out for fresh blueberries instead
  • If you don’t have greek yogurt, you can swap this out for plain yogurt or even milk (use less than 1/4 cup milk)
  • If you have extra oatmeal porridge hanging around, you can swap out greek yogurt for the oatmeal

Tips
  • For best blending results, start with "wet" juicy ingredients first, then gradually add "dry" leafy items. This provides a base of natural juices that helps break-down more fibrous ingredients
     
  • I like to freeze fresh bananas, berries, melon and blueberries in advance - just spread berries, chunks of melon and banana, and halved strawberries on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer for a couple of hours. Then transfer to freezer-safe bags and freeze for later use
     
  • I like to use fresh orange juice in my smoothies, but you can play with flavors by adding other juices (I also like fresh lemon and lime and V8 makes a whole litany of delicious veggie/fruit blends that work great in smoothies).
     
  • If you want a burst of minty freshness, just 5-6 leaves of fresh mint - a little goes a long way!
     
  • If you want to pack more veggies into your smoothie, swap out some fruit with diced English cucumber, grape tomatoes, grated zucchini, grated beat, roasted butternut squash, etc.

Ok, my oatmeal is ready so it's breakfast time. But I'm always looking for new smoothie ideas, so if you have a favorite, please share.



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