Green smoothies sound (and, honestly, look) like they wouldn’t taste the greatest, but if you do them right, they are sweet, balanced, and have no flavor of greens. They are a wonderful way to get a nourishing boost of nutrition in a grab-and-go tasty snack!
There are two main keys to green smoothie success: first up, you have to nail the ratio. You want the smoothie to taste sweet and delicious—not like spinach. The second key is to make sure you blend it until it’s completely smooth! No one wants to chew their smoothie. Read on to learn how I make my favorite green smoothie recipe.
What do I need for a green smoothie?
You’ll need these four ingredients for a fantastic green smoothie:
- Frozen banana. This will give the smoothie a thicker, smoother texture, and sweeten the smoothie. Plus, it will help chill the smoothie so you don’t have to dilute it with ice!
- Leafy greens. I’m a lightweight and use fresh baby spinach in my green smoothies because you can’t taste it at all. If you’re a little more hardcore on the health food front, you can try kale, collards, or even chard!
- Unsweetened milk. Use whatever milk you have in your house—cow’s milk, soy milk, coconut milk, nut milk. Any of them will work!
- Honey or maple syrup. Because the sweetness of bananas can vary so widely, we’ll add this at the very end so that you can sweeten to taste.
Keep forgetting to freeze a banana the night before you want a smoothie? Buy some extra bananas on your next grocery run. Peel, break into pieces, and freeze them flat on a baking sheet. Move to a freezer bag or container, and you’ll have a stash of frozen bananas for future smoothies.
What leafy greens should I use?
If you’re new to green smoothies, I recommend starting with baby spinach. It has the mildest flavor of all the leafy greens, which means you won’t be able to taste it at all. But if you want to branch out and get some different vitamins and nutrients into your smoothie, you can also try kale (baby kale will blend the best), collard greens, or even Swiss chard. Just make sure you have a good blender to really power through any of those tougher greens.
Adding greens to your smoothie is a great way to get a boost of nutrients to your snack! Spinach is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and even calcium.
Don’t I need ice?
Not if you are using a frozen banana and chilled milk! It will chill and thicken your smoothie on its own (with an added bonus of not diluting your smoothie flavor), so you can ditch the ice.
If you are using a fresh banana instead, you’ll need to add some ice (a handful will do) to the blender.
Can I make a green smoothie with no banana?
You sure can! Try one of these:
- Make our greena colada smoothie without banana instead. It uses frozen pineapple in place of the banana.
- Replace the banana with a half cup of canned pears in juice and a handful of ice.
- Sub in about one cup of any other frozen fruit for the banana (mango is amazing!). You might need to adjust the sweetness by adding more honey or maple syrup depending on the sweetness. Be warned though: strawberries and spinach make a delicious combo, but your smoothie will be a not-pleasant grey color.
- To replace the creaminess of banana, try adding a bit of Greek yogurt!
How do I make a green smoothie?
To make sure the spinach, baby kale, or other greens blend smoothly, you’ll want to put the ingredients in your blender in this order:
- Milk first (we like almond milk, oat milk, or cashew milk the best).
- Then greens.
- Top off with banana and any other mix-ins (more on that in a sec).
Blend until fully smooth, and then you can sweeten to taste.
What kind of blender do I need?
This is one smoothie that you want to get really smooth. Nobody wants to sip on chunks of spinach or kale! So for a stellar green smoothie with a creamy texture, we recommend working with a high-powered blender. We recommend one of these:
- BUDGET: Ninja Professional Blender—It rings in at less than $100, and is a powerful blender that can make smooth and creamy green smoothies. We used this one for years and loved it!
- SPLURGE: Vitamix Professional Blender—This is the top-of-the-line choice, and the one we use in the Wholefully test kitchen. If you plan to make lots of smoothies and other blended recipes, you may want to consider a Vitamix if it is in your budget.
Is there a way to make this spinach smoothie vegan?
Use plant-based milk (we like almond milk, oat milk, or cashew milk the best). And make sure to sweeten with maple syrup instead of honey.
How can I pack more nutrition into this green smoothie?
You can add whatever seeds, spices, or powders that sound good to you! For this green smoothie, I like to add:
- Chia Seeds or Ground Flax Seed. These (mostly) flavorless seeds are packed with omega-3s, and help thicken a smoothie.
- Hemp Seeds. I prefer to use hemp hearts over protein powder—they still give you lots of plant-based protein, but without the chalky aftertaste.
- Ginger. If you’re still worried that you’ll notice the spinach taste, try adding a bit of dried or fresh ginger. It has loads of health benefits, and a nice spicy-sweet flavor.
- Local bee pollen or honey. When my seasonal allergies are setting off like whoa, I keep them in check with local bee pollen or honey. As a bonus, it sweetens my smoothie!
If you find a set of mix-ins that you love, you can mix them with the spinach and freeze them into booster packs for even faster smoothie making.