Don’t be afraid of the green smoothie monster

by Maggie on January 13, 2011

Are you afraid of green smoothies?

I used to be afraid of green smoothies. After asking a lot of questions on twitter about a year ago, I finally dove in and made a green smoothie. I know, so brave.

You see, when I pictured a green smoothie I imagined V8 and Clamato juice. Ugh, gag me with a spoon.

But everyone was doing it so I knew there must be something about the alleged green smoothie that was worth trying (yep, I like to jump on bandwagons, especially healthier bandwagons).

Before we go any further, you need to understand one thing about me – something MUST taste good in order for me to consume it. MUST. TASTE. GOOD. Otherwise, I just can’t let it cross these lips!

So now that you know that, know this: I LOVE my green smoothies.

Some might consider my green smoothie to be the beginner’s green smoothie. Whatever you call it, it’s pretty darn good for you and it meets my requirement in that it MUST. TASTE. GOOD.

I’ve learned how to make sure my smoothies taste good, and this is what I’m going to share with you today – because I want everyone to be eating well. Eating well changes your life, prolongs your life, and yes it helps if your taste buds are kept happy.

1. Start with spinach. Spinach blends really well. You can’t even tell it’s in there! I’ve been making our green smoothies with a $40 immersion blender. The spinach disappears. When you get comfortable with greens in your smoothies, try different dark leafy greens, like kale or swiss chard.

2. Gradually increase your greens. Don’t make your very first smoothie with two cups of packed kale. Start with a 1/4 of a cup of greens and gradually build up to as much as your taste buds will allow. Trust me, this will happen fast.

3. Start with a little bit of juice. Pete and I have been making smoothies for at least 6 or 7 years. They’ve really evolved over the years, but they started out with juice. I’ve slowly weaned myself off of juice, unless we have fresh apple cider, then I throw that in our morning smoothies. But start with juice and gradually add less juice and more water.

4. Use fruits you love when you’re getting started. I find raspberries make our smoothies super sweet and delicious. They happen to be my favorite fruit, so maybe that’s why they work so well for me. Apples and oranges also really help my smoothies taste sweet.

5. Throw in some dried fruit. I like to use goji berries or dates to sweeten our green smoothies. They’re naturally sweet and FULL of healthy goodness.

6. Start on an empty stomach. I have my green smoothie right after my lemon water in the morning. It’s such a sweet treat that you’ll find yourself bouncing out of bed for a green smoothie every morning (yep, I love smoothies so much that the mere thought of them helps me bounce out of bed…).

Here’s my version of a green smoothie, the beginner’s version:

*I have to tell you that I don’t normally measure my ingredients. It changes day-to-day, based on who I’m making a smoothie for and what ingredients we have on hand.

  • 2 cups water or juice (or a combo of the two)
  • A handful of goji berries (or 2 medjool dates)
  • ½ cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/4-1/2 banana chopped into chunks
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries or raspberries
  • 3 tbsp chilled nettle tea (a great source of potassium, calcium, and beta-carotene)
  • 2 cups greens (I like baby spinach or kale, make sure to alternate your greens)
  • ground flax or ground chia

Add water or juice to blender or immersion blender container. Add goji berries, blueberries, banana, strawberries, nettle tea, and greens. Blend until combined. Add ground flax and blend. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 adult-sized green smoothies & 2 preschooler-sized smoothies

And now that I have a Blendtec? Well, that’s changed the whole game. Next smoothie recipe I share will definitely be FULL of celery, green pepper, parsley…just kidding.

This is what happens when you’re a stay-at-home mommy food blogger

So what’s your favorite green smoothie ingredient?

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley @ gfe January 13, 2011 at 11:37 am

Love this post, Maggie! Yep, like you, that’s EXACTLY what I thought green smoothies would be like … V-8 and/or Clamato. LOL They are not even in the same ball park as either of those. Green smoothies are so divine. Love your recipe, dear. Where do you get the nettle tea? Health food store? I know some folks make their own when they are in season. Finally, you’re so right about not measuring. After the first time or two, it’s super simple to just throw ingredients in … whatever one has on hand (my smoothies vary greatly). The results are always great. 🙂

Great addition to the D-Tox January event and thanks as always for your too generous words! 😉



Maggie January 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Shirley! You’re right, not even in the same ball park! I get our nettle tea at the health food store. Thanks for such a great comment. You’re the best. xo


Miz Helen January 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hi Maggie,
Your Green Smoothie looks so good. I would like to invite you to bring your Smoothie or any other dish over to my Full Plate Thursday. Thank you for sharing and hope you have a great week!


Maggie January 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Hi Helen. I will be there! Thanks for the invitation. I would’ve joined in last week but I didn’t have a recipe 🙂 See you soon!


shawna January 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

JUST WANTED TO SAY TO MAKE SURE YOU ROTATE YOUR GREENS! We do a five day cycle. My daughters have been drinking greens since they were 2 and they love them!


Maggie January 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hi Shawna – Thanks for the note. We are definitely working on rotating our greens! My 2YO is much easier to please than her 4YO brother. She’ll happily drink a juice-free green smoothie! Thank goodness. Now to work on her brother!


AnnMarie Deis February 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This might sound “green” of me to ask (pun intended!!!), but why do you need to rotate your greens??? I’m just starting to the whole smoothie from home, so I just wanted to know.

THANKS!!! Your recipe looks great!


Maggie February 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Hi AnnMarie – I think it’s important to mix it up with your greens for a couple of reasons. First of all, they all offer such amazing benefits so you want a variety. Secondly, if consumed all the time they can irritate your tummy. Check out this post . I hope that helps! Enjoy your green smoothie adventures. Let me know how it goes.


Kristen Schueler March 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

From my understanding, there are different alkaloids in each green, and if you eat the same green the alkaloids can build up and become toxic.


Maggie March 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the explanation Kristen!

nicola @ gfreemom January 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I love the simplicity of this post. Really do believe that this event will help to change peoples eating (drinking) habits little by little. Love the pic of the little hand in the berries. That’s how it goes at my house too. ;-).


Maggie January 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Thanks Nicola. I’m glad you like (phew!). It definitely will, even if we all change one or two people each, that’s still amazing! It will definitely have a ripple effect. Thanks for asking me to join in, it was fun! Little hands are the cutest.


KRISTEN'S RAW January 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Green smoothies rock! I don’t have a real favorite ingredient because I go in phases. Right now I’m loving almond milk with them – fresh organic raw homemade almond milk that is. 😉


Maggie January 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Hey Kristen’s Raw – Fresh organic raw homemade almond milk! Now that’s a mouthful (pardon the pun). Sounds good to me.


Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli January 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I have apple cider, spinach and a whole lot of frozen berries. That’s the after school snack. With hemp powder.


Maggie January 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Hey Kristin – I wish I had an after school snack like that! I think I had peanut butter on white hot dog buns. Yeah, your kids are lucky!


Gluten Free Betsy January 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I agree! I never thought that green smoothies could possibly be good until I read this post. I’m really want to start now! Thanks for the tips! 🙂


Maggie January 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hey Gluten Free Betsy – Thanks! Hope you LOVE them as much as I do 🙂


Melanie January 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Great post on Green Smoothies! I never thought of adding nettle tea, I’m going to give that a try. thanks for the idea 🙂


Maggie January 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Thanks Melanie!


Miz Helen January 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Thank you so much for bringing your Smoothie over to Full Plate Thursday.
Hope you have a great week end and please come back next week!


Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe January 14, 2011 at 6:16 am

Just started drinking smoothies, this is a good reminder of getting those greens in for the day. Thanks.


Maggie January 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Melynda – Do you love your smoothies? I’m sure you do – hope you enjoy the addition of the greens too.


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free January 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

What a fun post, Maggie! I love it! And I love that idea of adding the goji berries! I am totally going to try that out! And I have made smoothies many times with my immersion blender!


Maggie January 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Hi Kim – I would’ve been lost without my immersion blender over the years! I’ll keep it so we can take it when we go traveling, though I will miss my Blendtec dearly 🙂 Let me know how you like the goji berries.


Stephanie January 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Excellent post! A great guide for those just starting to dabble in the art of green smoothies. I am a huge fan, thanks to my dad buying a vita-mix when I was a kid. Kale’s my favorite green to add 🙂


Maggie January 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hi Stephanie – That’s pretty cool that your Dad bought a Vita-Mix. He really set the standard, I like it!


Wendy @ Celiacs in the House January 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

Excellent tips, Maggie. I especially like #2. Starting slow with the greens and then finding yourself wanting to increase them rather quickly is the most surprising part of green smoothies.


Maggie January 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hi Wendy – I’m glad you like my tips! I made green smoothies for my cousins who were visiting today. They were both totally shocked that there was spinach in them! I love surprising people with healthy food!


Alisa Cooks January 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

I am a total greens girl, and can certainly do spinach in smoothies, but the rest, I have to admit I find disgusting. I love kale, but in smoothies, oh my goodness, it is so overpowering! I must have sensitive taste buds, as I keep seeing it as an ingredient in green smoothies. I’ve tried it in the various types, but no go, can always taste it.

Still, I love that you are posting on green smoothies, I think everyone should try them at least once!


Maggie January 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Alisa I laughed out loud at your use of the word disgusting! I agree that kale is pretty overpowering in smoothies. But I know I have to do it, so I do! Did you notice that one of my readers mentioned rotating your greens? So I guess you’ll have to hop on the bandwagon and add the kale 🙂


Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free January 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I love all of these green smoothie recipes. Great ideas and ways to make it. I agree with you and Shirley. I always thought of V8. Yuck! This is so much better.


Maggie January 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Hey Tia – I am loving all of the recipes too. Such good inspiration! I am such a creature of habit. I need these ideas to branch out and try new things!


Miz Helen January 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Congratulations Maggie,
Your Green Smoothie is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week 1-20-2011.
Thank you for coming!
Miz Helen


Maggie January 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thanks so much Helen! I will be there this week to check it out! And to share my popcorn post!


Alta January 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

Lovethegojiberriesidea. Yum.


Alta January 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

Please forgive the lack of spaces! Dunno what happened. Silly iPad!


Maggie January 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Hey Alta – I thought maybe you were practicing your twitter hashtags on my blog comments. Just kidding! I can’t have a morning shake without the gojis. Though for some reason, I don’t like them on their own.


Jackie January 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm

That’s great! Hi, I started by jumping right in too and I loved the idea of putting more greens in my diet. Kale and collard greens were my first smoothie and I loved it! I love cantaloupe so that was one of my first fruit I tried in the green smoothie and of course banana and avocados to make it nice and thick .


Maggie January 28, 2011 at 6:46 am

Hi Jackie – I also love putting bananas in my smoothies! So creamy! I’ll have to try collard greens – I have some in my fridge, I like to use them to replace wraps. Have a great day!


eFlo August 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I’m not sure about mixing fruits with Greens? Not good on the digestion .. But my main Question is How are you making your nettle tea Mixture that your adding in the blend?


Maggie August 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hi eFlo – Welcome to She Let Them Eat Cake! I buy a nettle tea at my health food store. It’s the best!


Rose November 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I know I’m kind of late in responding but I really like your post. I wanted to add to the comment about mixing fruit with greens. In my research on green smoothies (I had the same worry at first) I discovered that green LEAFY veggies are actually not in the same category as regular vegetables. If you were to put broccoli, for example, in a green smoothie, you’d probably throw up or have horrid gas! There are tons of great articles on green smoothies and their benefits. You can also find great info on what vegetables are not recommended in smoothies. Leafy greens are definitely good mixed in there though! 🙂

Other ideas I can give you are parsley, cucumber (a small chunk gives the smoothie an amazingly refreshing taste), dandelion greens, and red cabbage. If you google the health benefits of red cabbage you will be amazed! Don’t put a ton though, it’ll give it a slightly spicy flavor. I usually do about half a cup to a cup of red cabbage in addition to my greens and fruit. Now I am craving red cabbage and need to go get some!


Maggie November 11, 2011 at 5:09 am

Thanks so much Rose. Better late than not at all!


wanessa November 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I love your website. I started drinking green smoothie about 10 days ago. I love the taste of it. But now, I feel like I’m sick, running nose, flu symptoms. I wonder if my body started detoxing. Any help?


Maggie December 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hey Wanessa, Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I am sure it’s a little bit of detox. Just stick with it. My body showed lots of funny signs of detox, but they all passed and I feel better and better all the time! Stick with it! Add more goji berries (loaded with vitamin C!). Let me know how it goes please!


Tessa Domestic Diva March 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hi Maggie! I will be featuring this smoothie recipe in my post, “10 Super Smoothies”, fyi! All the interesting ingredients called to me!


Maggie March 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

Thanks Tessa! I can’t wait to see it, thanks for letting me know.


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