How To Make Great Vegan Smoothies Every Time
Tools Necessary For Making The Best Smoothies
There are a few tools that will help you make the best tasting smoothies. The most important is obviously a good blender. I recommend using a high power blender if you are serious about making delicious smoothies regularly and if it fits your budget.
My preferred blender of choice is a VitaMix because of the superior motor, warranty and large size (64 oz.) container. I use it almost daily, some days multiple times! It’s excellent for breaking down fruits and greens into tiny particles, which results in a very smooth and creamy end product. It’s also excellent for making blended soups, (raw or cooked), homemade salad dressings, sauces, and baby food. It is the first major kitchen gadget I suggest everyone invest in, as it is by far the most used in my kitchen.
If a high-powered blender seems a little out of reach for your budget at the moment, consider doing what many others do. Forgo that weekly (or even daily) gourmet coffee or shake and save that money towards getting a blender in 6-12 months. If you save just $10 a week you will be have enough to purchase any high-powered blender you desire in less than a year. I know many of you spend much more than that each week on beverages while you’re on the go our out dining!
Another high-powered blender you may consider would be a Blend-Tec, which is a little different than the Vitamix in that it has preprogrammed settings, no tamper (which I use to make Banana Icecream from frozen bananas) and a smaller container.
For now though as long as you have a blender that works you can start making these smoothies recipes. Just know that the more items you put into the blender and the harder they are to blend the longer it will take to make and you could possibly burn out the motor. So take care when adding greens and frozen fruit to a regular blender. Either chop (or rip) the ingredients into smaller pieces or let the frozen fruit thaw on the counter for 5 minutes before adding to the blender. Adding more liquid than I specify in the recipe will help too. The amount of liquid I use is what works in my VitaMix so you may need more for a regular blender to get things moving.
How To Make A Tasty Smoothie Every Time
The key to making a delicious whole food and sugar free smoothie is to use fully ripe and quality ingredients. Also you don’t have to throw a lot of things into it like some witch’s brew. I prefer to use only 2-4 ingredients to make a fruit smoothie and I generally start with a base of ripe (very spotted) bananas or ataulfo/champagne (yellow skinned) mangoes and then I add other things like ripe papaya, pineapple, berries, peaches, plums, spinach, etc. Whatever is ripe and sweet tasting can go into a great tasting smoothie.
The biggest crime at smoothie bars is probably using underripe yellow bananas or even worse yellow bananas with green still on them. Bananas contain a lot of starch and the enzymes in the bananas have to process the raw starch and convert it into natural sugars for it to taste sweet instead of sticky and pasty. To compensate they put in sugar, when it’s really not necessary.
Please see my post on How To Tell If A Banana Is Ripe for more details.
The best tip for having quality ripe produce every day for smoothies or recipes is to make sure you are buying it at least a week in advance. I always have bananas and mangoes or papayas (when in season) ripening on the counter. It generally takes 4-8 days to ripen (I’m in Canada and it’s not hot or humid right now) on the counter in cooler climates. In tropical and subtropical places fruit can ripen in 3-4 days and then be stored in the refrigerator when it’s ripe. Frozen berries or bags of pineapple or mango are great additions to a base of ripe bananas or even fresh papaya.
How To Create Your Own Green Smoothies
Creating your own green smoothie recipe is much the same as creating your own fruit smoothie with a sweet fruit as the base, and then you just add in a handful or two of your desired greens.
Please note that a green smoothie does not mean adding tough green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, green beans, etc. A green smoothie is essentially a fruit smoothie with LEAFY greens added.
Generally speaking if you are new to green smoothies or apprehensive about trying them you should start off with a mild tasting green like baby spinach, or leaf lettuce. These can be added in quantities of a cup or two (depending on your tastes) and you should not notice much flavor from them at all. Then once you are used to that you can venture into trying new greens.
When using a leafy green that has a tough stalk like kale or Swiss chard, remove the leaf from the stem and only use the leaves. Discard the stem, or steam or add to a stir-fry later. They are harder to blend and don’t add a pleasant flavor to your green smoothie.
Generally you shouldn’t add sprouts to green smoothies, as they are quite bitter. You can add small quantities of mild sprouts like sunflower or pea shoots though if you like. But please do not add raw sprouted beans or sprouted grains to your smoothies.
You may know of some wild edibles (generally weeds that are edible) in your area, but make sure to always practice caution and be certain what plant you are eating if you pick it in the wild. For more information on wild edibles please check out Sergei Boutenko’s website.
Rotating your greens that you use in your smoothies each month is important. Try not to use the same green every week or every month. Some people can have an adverse reaction to using just baby spinach or kale in every single smoothie. Rotating your greens is something that Victoria Boutenko highly recommends. You can check out her books Green For Life and Green Smoothie Revolution.
The following greens should be added in small quantities at first so you get used to them:
- Swiss Chard
- Spring mix/mesclun mix
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mâche/corn salad
- Beet greens
- Turnip greens
- Lambs quarters
- Stinging nettle
- Cactus, napal leaves
- Mustard greens
- Radish tops
- Wheat grass
- Aloe vera
How To Make Your Green Smoothies More Appetizing
If you want to serve green smoothies to your loved ones, or friends it might be a good idea to mask the color of the smoothie if they have never had one before. As soon as people see something green, they tend to think, “Hmm that probably doesn’t taste very good even though it’s good for me” and they may turn their nose up at it and decline.
First make sure you taste test the smoothie and use ripe fruit like banana or mango to ensure that it is naturally sweet enough. Secondly you may want to add some berries to the smoothie to hide the green color and turn it more of a blue or purple color. People seem to be more open to drinking smoothies that are red, purple or yellow and not green! And last of all you can add a pretty little garnish to your smoothie like a fresh berry, a pineapple wedge, an orange slice, or a small leafy green so that it looks pretty and presentable.