How to Make a Perfect Green Smoothie

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This tropical treat has the perfect fruit-to-veggie ratio, which makes it a great beginner-friendly green smoothie. The spinach has a mild taste and is packed with over 20 different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and high-quality amino acids. It’s rawesome stuff! Oh, and this recipe is kid-tested and approved too:) Our friend Jen Hansard, co-founder of Simple Green Smoothies, shares her perfect formula in this guest post.

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green smoothie with blender, mango, pineapple, banana, and spinach
Learn how to make fresh, healthy, and delicious Green Smoothies like these!

There are so many ways to make a delicious (and healthy!) green smoothie recipe — but did you know that you can combine almost any leafy greens and fruit with one basic formula?

Today I’m sharing some words of wisdom by fellow (real) foodie Jen Hansard, who co-founded the website Simple Green Smoothies, plus some additional green smoothie recipes and tips for you to try!

Table of Contents

Why I Love This Simple Green Smoothie Recipe

Not only does Jen have some great tips for green smoothie beginners, but she is also sharing her magic formula for fruit and vegetable ratios so you can change the recipe to suit your taste, dietary needs, or whatever you have on hand.

This green smoothie recipe is perfect as a homemade healthy snack, quick “fast-food” meal, or even as a way to cool off on a hot day. 

Guest Post: How to Make a Simple Green Smoothie

by Jen Hansard


green smoothie in jar with ingredients

We have a super simple and healthy recipe we’ve been itchin’ to share with you!!! As a crazy-busy passionate mom, I’ve been known to fuel my body with processed junk. Like those days when we found ourselves at Starbucks twice in one day…or driving through Taco Bell for dinner (again).

I was starved for time, low on energy and just….overwhelmed.

Can you relate?

Well, I discovered something that quickly changed our lives— green smoothies. This blended drink of fresh fruits and dark leafy greens gave us energy, a fast healthy meal, and transformed our bodies from the inside out.

No joke. And we made this healthy habit really stick for the past 2 1/2 years… and going strong. Now we have over 500,000 people from all around the world hooked on the green smoothie lifestyle too. I hope you’ll join us!

5 Green Smoothie Tips to Get You Started

Before we share our most popular green smoothie recipe, we need to welcome you into the world of green smoothies with a few important tips…
 

1. Follow the 60/40 formula.

When you’re making your first few green smoothies, don’t just throw things in the blender. Chances are, it’ll taste nasty if you wing it right out of the gate. To save you a few smoothie-fails, bust out those cute lil’ measuring cups and follow this simple formula: 60% fruits to 40% leafy greens.

Go to recipe formula for a perfect green smoothie time, plus ideas for smoothie ingredients.

2. Blend in stages to avoid leafy chunks.

Chewing your green smoothie is no fun!  To get a “smooth” green smoothie experience, blend up your leafy greens and liquid-base first. Then add your remaining fruits and blend again.

3. Ditch the ice and freeze some fruits.

Want your green smoothieto be extra chilly? Freeze your favorite fruits like ripe bananas (peel first), grapes, pineapple or berries. This is also a great way to not waste ripe fruits (like those brown bananas on your counter). You can also freeze your leafy greens in a freezer-safe bag. Just make sure to add your frozen greens straight to the blender (don’t defrost these fragile lil’ guys).

4. Use raw natural sweeteners.

Add naturally sweet fruits to any smoothie that tastes bitter or a bit too “green.” By sticking with naturally sweet fruits like bananas, mango, apples, pears, or pitted dates, we avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugars.

5. Make smoothies ahead for the perfect fast food.

We know life can get crazy busy— especially in the morning. That’s why we think green smoothies are the healthiest fast food for people who are constantly on the go.

You can blend your green smoothie the night before and store it in your fridge (up to 2 days). Use an airtight lid to limit oxidation and keep it as fresh as possible. When ready to drink, give it a good shake before you open.

If you follow these five green smoothie tips, we pinkie promise your green smoothies will be love at first sip!

Now, here’s a favorite recipe we make for friends and family who’ve never tried a green smoothie before…

If you made this recipe or have a favorite of your own, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below (we’ll read every one).

Try a 10 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

If you want more recipes, green smoothie tips, and a 10-day challenge to kickstart your smoothie habit, check out our Simple Green Smoothies book! You’ll get tasty plant-based smoothie recipes, shopping list and community support. #kaleyeah

Simple #GreenSmoothies on 100 Days of #RealFood

Whether you’re passionate about raising an awesome family, traveling the world, reading new books, creating the latest fashion trend, starting a new job or something totally different… we want to make sure you’re able to go after that as best as possible. You need LOTS of energy and nutrients to fuel you passions.


Lisa here again! Here are some more green smoothie recipes to try 🙂

Easy 3 Ingredients for a Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Challenge on 100 Days of #RealFood

The basic smoothie recipe only has three ingredients — so easy! You just combine your favorite leafy green vegetable, fresh or frozen fruit, and a liquid (to help it blend). 

You can also include other healthy ingredients such as chia seeds, coconut oil, peanut or almond butter, hemp seeds, flax, cocoa (for a chocolate smoothie), cinnamon, acai powder, or even protein powder in your smoothie for extra benefits or flavor.

1) Leafy Greens

Almost all leafy green vegetables (that are not lettuce) are perfect smoothie ingredients. I love pulling mine from the garden or grabbing in-season vegetables at the farmer’s market. You can use a single ingredient, or combine more than one leafy green veggie; just make sure it equals two cups.

Spinach, which is what this recipe calls for, is probably the most popular leafy green for smoothies. Mainly because it’s inexpensive, freezes easily, and has a mild taste. 

Kale is also commonly found in smoothies, some might think it has a bitter taste, but it’s definitely one of the healthiest options.

fresh kale in plastic bags from the farmers market.

Besides spinach and kale, you can also add bok choy, swiss chard, collards (also known as collard greens), and even dandelion greens! 

2) Fresh or Frozen Fruit

This is where you get the most of your sweetener and flavor, so it’s important to use fruit that you like. Just like with the greens, almost anything goes when it comes to adding fruit to your smoothie — and you can use any combination, as long as it equals 3 cups.

If you’re making the green smoothie recipe below you’ll need a cup of mango, a cup of pineapple, and two bananas. 

Tip: Use frozen fruit to make a cold smoothie. You can freeze one of the bananas, and/or use frozen mango instead of fresh. To save time and money, you can also make green smoothies with fruit that is only frozen.

For a sweeter smoothie, use ripe (or even overripe) fruit that has strong flavors such as banana, mango, berries, orange, and pineapple. If you prefer a more “green” taste, stick to milder fruit such as pear, apple, and avocado.

Of course, that all depends on your own preferences and taste; you may need to experiment with different combinations to get it just right.

Sheet pan of frozen strawberry halves.
Frozen strawberries

3) Water or Other Liquid

Last, but definitely not least, is water. You can use plain water, or try coconut water, coconut milk, almond milk, or any other liquid base of your choice.

Like with the other green smoothie ingredients, you can also use a combination of liquids as long as it totals two cups.

If you’re really into smoothies and would like a copy of the 5 best smoothie recipes here on 100 Days of Real Food, you can grab it from our Free Membership Area (under the “recipes” section)!

– Lisa Leake


This Green Smoothie Recipe with Spinach, Pineapple, Banana, and Mango Is Perfect for Beginners

Two green smoothies in clear drinking glasses with a green and white striped straw.

Calling this a “spinach, pineapple, banana, mango green smoothie” sure is a mouthful, so I prefer to say “perfect beginner smoothie” instead. Which is exactly what I love about this recipe; it’s the ideal combination for beginners.

When we started our real food challenge, cutting out sweet treats (and training our taste buds) was one of the hardest parts. If you’re not used to eating a lot of leafy green vegetables, and tend to gravitate towards sugary drinks, you might not like the taste of green smoothies at first.

I didn’t want to share some recipe that you’d have to choke down — real food should taste good! And I find that this recipe in particular, which includes mild-flavored spinach as the leafy green and deliciously sweet fruit like mango, pineapple, and ripe bananas is a delicious start to get anyone (including kids!) loving green smoothies.

More Easy Recipes for Homemade Green Smoothies

If you liked this green smoothie recipe, but aren’t quite ready to make your own flavor combinations, you can try some of these options.

First, if you want a tasty treat for fall, try this Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie that my kids love. Or, if you’d prefer something more refreshing, you have to try this Peachy Pineapple Green Smoothie. Finally, check out my Pina Colada Green Smoothie for a tasty vacation-inspired treat. 

You can also check out some more delicious green smoothie variations using the 60/40 formula (or only a few extra ingredients) below. 

Glowing Green Smoothie

The Glowing Green Smoothie was actually created by Kimberly Snyder as a healthy breakfast idea. I simplified her recipe and adjusted the measurements to (mostly) fit with our simple green smoothie ratios. 

Ingredients for a Glowing Green Smoothie:

  • 2 cups baby spinach (packed)
  • 1-2 celery stalks
  • 2 cups water
  • Whole apple, cored and halved
  • Whole pear, cored and halved
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ of a lemon, peeled

Island Green Tropical Smoothie

An Island Green Tropical Smoothie is another sweet and delicious smoothie variation. It’s identical to the basic beginner smoothie with greens that Jen shared, but with one difference: you use coconut water instead of regular water.

The coconut water adds an extra tropical flavor and sweetness; give it a try!

Monster Green Smoothie (High Protein)

This Monster Green Smoothie is really good, especially if you’re looking for an easy breakfast smoothie or healthy post-workout snack. 

Monster Green Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1 avocado, peeled with pit removed
  • 2 bananas

If this recipe comes out too thick add more milk to the blender until you reach your desired consistency. You can also add chia seeds for additional protein.

FAQs for a Perfect Green Smoothie

Can you make green smoothies with frozen spinach?

This is a common question because frozen spinach tends to be packed more densely than fresh spinach. The simple answer is yes, green smoothies can be made with frozen spinach and substituted at about a 1:6 ratio. So if your smoothie calls for 2 cups of fresh spinach, use about 1/3 cup frozen instead.

Don’t defrost frozen spinach that you use for smoothies; instead toss it right into the blender. You can buy frozen spinach in a bag or freeze your own in ice cube trays for ease of use.

How can I make my green smoothies sweet?

First, make sure you’re measuring your ingredients correctly. Fruit can sometimes be difficult to measure, especially if you’re working with large pieces.

Second, I suggest using fruit that’s as ripe as possible. For bananas, that usually means once they’re browning.

Third, consider using milder leafy greens. Spinach is usually on the sweeter side, but if you don’t like the taste try substituting with romaine lettuce instead.

Finally, if you still find your smoothie on the bitter side you can adjust the fruit and veggie ratios so there’s a little more fruit and fewer greens.

When is the best time to drink a green smoothie?

Anytime! Although a lot of people swear by drinking them in the morning, you’ll benefit from drinking smoothies at any time during the day. 

A lot of people like to drink green smoothies in the morning as a breakfast alternative, which is great if you’re busy and would normally turn to a less-healthy option. Green smoothies are also fantastic pre or post workout drinks!

Are green smoothies healthy? 

Like with anything, health is relative, but green smoothies can definitely be a healthy part of your day. I believe healthy foods include real food ingredients and this green smoothie recipe is made with 100% real food. 

One thing I love about green smoothies is that you can adjust the recipe for your dietary needs or to avoid allergens.

What is the difference between a green smoothie and green juice?

Green juice is made by extracting the liquid (juice) of several ingredients using a juicer — removing most of the fiber in the process — whereas green smoothies are made by combining whole ingredients, plus water, in a blender.

While they can have the same ingredients added to them, green juice and green smoothies are two different things and have different levels of nutrients.

How can I make a thick smoothie?

I usually just add additional ingredients such as a handful or two of spinach or another banana if I want to make a thicker smoothie. You can also add greek yogurt to thicken a smoothie, if you like.

If your smoothies are consistently turning out too thin, reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe.

What is the best blender for making smoothies?

Honestly, it’s all about personal preference and your budget. Blendtec and Vitamix blenders are both great options, especially if you want a multi-purpose appliance that will thoroughly blend your smoothies.

How can I make a smoothie without a blender?

It’s tough, if not impossible, to get perfect smoothies without a blender but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a smoothie when there’s no blender available. To make a smoothie without a blender: cut the recipe in half and add all ingredients, plus two ice cubes, to any cup or jar with a lid, then shake vigorously.

Blender containers made for protein powder work especially well as blender alternatives if you want smoothies on the go.

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