Meatless Monday Inspiration: Green Smoothies

You’re on the green smoothie train, right?

A few years ago I began carrying a mason jar full of blended spinach and fruit to work. I got some funny looks in the elevator. Then at some point green drinks gained traction. I was sitting around the conference table waiting for a meeting to start when I noticed someone across from me with their own green smoothie. As soon as I began talking about it, several others chimed in with their own take on the green smoothie—and this was a diverse group of people. Not all of us were hitting the Pilates bar on our lunch break—myself included—but green smoothies make you feel like you did.

Suddenly my Pinterest feed became a nonstop parade of grass-hued libations, styled with bright paper straws atop some fabulous Ikat tablecloth. The Glowing Green Smoothie and Crazy Sexy Green Juice ambassadors had assured us that no, you can’t taste the spinach or kale. I began to notice—usually over cocktails, no less—my girlfriends ardently swapping green smoothie ideas. I don’t know what’s gotten into you America, but I like it.

Unlike juicing, green smoothies are something we can all do and something we can put our personal signature on quite easily. Part of the appeal is that there are infinite variations of this healing force. Plus, green smoothies are practical for day-to-day because they only take a few minutes to make. You probably already have a blender. And no, you don’t need that $600 Vitamix, I promise—at least not for my green smoothie. Unlike fresh pressed juice, the green smoothie will hang out in your fridge for a day or two. It only requires a brisk shake to come back to life without a trace of degradation.

I like mine on the citrusy side and very liquid. Thick smoothies make me feel overfull and heavy. I want to bounce. This makes me bounce. And it is an absolute skin tonic. Just remember—no matter what organic oils and serums you treat your face to—what you eat makes the most difference in how your skin behaves and looks. Without further ado, here is my green smoothie recipe.

Blend the following:
2 cups cold water
2 generous handfuls of spinach, maybe 3
juice of one lemon
half cup of frozen mango
spoonful of manuka honey
(sometimes I add extras, like chia seed or turmeric)

I really love this drink. I look forward to it every day. Look, I don’t always make healthy choices. In fact, I often make unhealthy choices. I have a weakness for sugar, and sometimes even the occasional cigarette (I know, please don’t judge!). Green smoothies help bring me into balance. They remind me that even when I fail at some things, I’m doing a lot of positive things for myself, like committing to toxin-free beauty routine. And did I mention what that much spinach does for your complexion?!

So, what’s in your green smoothie?

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21 Responses to “Meatless Monday Inspiration: Green Smoothies”
  1. Meredith says:

    I love green (and not green) smoothies. Lately I’ve been mixing pineapple chunks, flat-leaf parsley, and cold water. It sounds weird, but it’s quite tasty! Sometimes I’ll throw some beets in there too.

  2. Marni says:

    I start every day with a green smoothie – I don’t feel the same without it. Today I had: water, rice protein powder, turmeric, baby kale, wild blueberries, hemp hearts, probiotics, coconut oil. Totally delicious!

  3. gretchen says:

    My go-to green smoothie:

    -1 c almond milk
    -4 dates
    -like two big handfuls of greens [be it kale, spinach, dandelion greens if I can get em, whatever]
    -a cup or so of frozen pineapple
    -a scoop of spirulina
    -a teaspoon or so of chia seeds or flax seeds
    -1 banana
    -a dash of vanilla if I remember

    Delicious, yes. Making it with coconut water instead of almond milk is also a nice thing. Just be careful with the spinach and chard. Stuff in that family has oxalic acid, which can inhibit your iron intake, so only do those two or three times a week.

  4. jessica says:

    How about that…I’m enjoying my daily green smoothie RIGHT NOW! Although “green” smoothie may be a misnomer as this blend turns out kind of blue-grey: wild blueberries, baby spinach, water and a banana. I love this combo so much for it’s simplicity and flavor. Makes me feel awesome, too.

    Here’s a tip that makes using leafy greens super easy: Wash, dry and bag a bunch of greens and throw in the freezer. Once they have frozen, smash them up in the bag until they’re in tiny pieces (spinach will shatter like glass). Having them in tiny pieces makes blending them easier, for those of us sans Vitamix (my vintage Osterizer isn’t exactly a blending hulk).

    This way you can always have very fresh greens on hand, never having to scramble to use them up from the fridge, and you can create a variety too. I have frozen kale, frozen spinach and frozen berries on hand pretty much all the time, which makes making smoothies easy…plus, the iciness of the veggies and fruit makes the smoothie tastier.

    Oh, also I have 2 recipes on my site for beauty smoothies plus some smoothie suggestions (yeah, I’m obsessed.)…check ’em out! Scroll down to “fun sheets”.

    -Jessica xo

  5. Carol says:

    Thank you Susannah for another wonderful post! You’ve inspired me to try your recipe. I didn’t know that a smoothie could keep in fridge for a day or two – that’s a great tip because I’m often guilty of making wonderful fruit smoothies for my daughter then forgetting myself (and eating too many sweets as well). I’m going to try making a few days worth at a time now for me :)

    p.s. I also really appreciated the kind tone you mentioned about how we all need to focus on the good things we do for ourselves and try not to be unkind to ourselves about the not so good (in my case, my sweet tooth & letting dust gather on my treadmill!)

  6. Laurie says:

    I love my green smoothies too & try to start every morning with one. I make mine with spinach or kale, cilantro, pineapple, 1/2 a lemon squeezed, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, some ginger, and water. Sometimes I alternate throwing in a 1/2 green apple or 1/2 an avocado. It is so delicious that my 4 yr old will down 2 glasses!!! He thinks it makes him super strong so we call it a “Hulk” smoothie. My 6 yr old is not down with green smoothies so I make him a nutritious chocolate smoothie using dried cherries, banana (can be frozen or not), flax seed, almond milk, and raw cacao….really yummy! I’ll be trying out your recipe Susannah and looking forward to others sharing theirs.

  7. Michele says:

    2 cups baby spinach
    2 stalks of celery
    1 cup green seedless grapes
    1/2 cup fresh pineapple
    1 banana
    juice from 1 lemon
    1/2c water

    PS: I recommend the Vacuvin pineapple slicer and wedger. You can core and slice a pineapple in minutes. They sell it at Williams Sonoma and on

  8. Kaitie says:

    I love adding fresh spinach, strawberries, blueberries, some rice protein powder and chia seeds! It is such a great way to start the day off right. Sets the tracks for me to make good choices!
    Keep it sweet and stylish

  9. Kate says:

    Starting the day with a green smoothie almost always contributes to my decision making for the rest of the day! Instead of reaching for chips when I’m stressed, I’ll reach for something healthy. It’s almost like I want to honour the breakfast that I had earlier!!

    My fav (split between two people):

    2 frozen bananas
    3 cups pulverized frozen kale
    1 cup frozen mango
    1/2 cup frozen pineapple
    knob of ginger
    6 TBSP hemp hearts
    100% whey protein (absolutely no additives)
    1 cup ice cubes
    splash of coconut milk



  10. jen says:

    thank you for the tip about freezing your greens, Susannah! I too have an Osterizer wimp!

  11. Rachael says:

    I LOVE green smoothies too but let me tell you why I bloody love this post…

    THIS LINE > “And no, you don’t need that $600 Vitamix,” SOOO bored of reading blogs that bang on about vitamix *yawn*. I’ve got a £25 blender thats awesome sauce and mulches my smoothies to perfection!

  12. So many great ideas here! Seems like pineapple is a popular addition, so I’m going to try that next.

    I wanted to touch on the oxalic acid issue that Gretchen brought up. Spinach, kale, chard, and actually lots of healthy ingredients like nuts and berries contain significant amounts of oxalic acid, or oxalates. If you look up the list of fruits, veg, and nuts with high levels of oxalates, it’s long! This acid isn’t bad for you per se. It’s even considered essential for it’s ability to move the digestive tract and has been shown to be effective in the fight against cancer. The main concern with the high oxalic acid content in spinach is that it can interfere with calcium absorption or possibly lead to the formation of kidney stones. Many health experts believe that it’s cooked oxalic acid that’s the issue, not raw.

    I believe that people who maintain a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods and DO NOT have a history of kidney stones or severe calcium deficiency shouldn’t be too concerned with the amount of raw spinach they eat. It’s good to rotate your greens, though, and use baby spinach. Older greens have higher levels of oxalates, which lends to the biter taste.

    As always, do your own research and follow your intuition.

  13. mangomadness says:

    I have a green smoothie every day for breakfast. My fav green smoothie is: 2 frozen bananas, 2 handfuls of spinach and 2 palm-sized handfuls of frozen pineapple. It’s super yummy!

  14. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Rachael, I agree that for the types of recipes people are talking about here, probably any blender would do. I find a Vitamix (or similar high power blender) is essential for making nut butters, nut milks, really smooth/creamy soups, etc. For raw foodies it’s important, but not so much for the average blender user.

    And I love green smoothies – favorite green is kale, dino/lacinato or purple varieties.

  15. Sabah says:

    I love green smoothies. Thanks for all the recipes everyone.

    My go to
    Coconut Water
    Celery/Bok Choy
    Combination of berries or apple and pear

    add on superfoods
    – coconut oil
    – chia seeds

  16. therese says:

    I love green smoothies. I have one every morning. I use kale or spinach with celery or carrots a 1/2 banana and some berries. I add coconut milk and or water too. The best source of natural protein is flaxseed meal , chia seeds and nuts. You can eliminate protein powders if you use these. Plus they add so many other benefits. If you use the kale or spinach include some citrus like a lime or lemon to release the iron.
    You can get calcium from other sources so I am not too worried about the oxalic acid. I agree it is best to do your own research and see what works best for you.
    I too have a simple blender. While the Vitamix rocks for quick blending, I find that if you are patient, the regular blender works fine.

  17. Aomi says:

    Haha, one green smoothie drinker spots another! Reminds me of the time I was in a courthouse and heard someone’s phone go off with the ringtone “Hungry Eyes” when mine, too, was set with the same ringtone. An instant bond, without a doubt. Anyway, yes! Love the green smoothies! I love fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley in mine. Here’s a link to my current go-to:

    Great post! Thank you!

  18. Kate says:

    I wish my green smoothie habit was a daily one – I’m working towards it! Here’s my very favorite recipe – the avocado makes it a bit more filling and helps satiate me:

    Baby spinach (also great with kale but my sad blender can’t handle kale)
    Pear or apple
    Half an avocado
    Frozen peaches

    I’m going to start throwing some chia seeds in there too!

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