Put those greens in the blender

Kale smoothie
Kale smoothie

My friends mocked me when I told them I made chocolate-covered potato chips for my last blog entry. Because as I told them about this awesome unhealthy snack, I was also raving about a new kick I was on — kale smoothies.

I’m not the kale smoothie type. You may have guessed this. I enjoy eating well and feeling good about consuming the healthy vegetables I come across, but for the most part, eating vegetables (especially raw) just makes me crave a potato chip or other junk food right after.

But this is a new year, and I’m trying to eat more vegetables and less processed foods. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, these kale smoothies are not a tough sell. Honestly. It may seem weird, the idea of drinking your leafy greens, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds, because the kale and spinach blend down to nothing. It doesn’t taste like you’re drinking liquid kale. It tastes like you’re drinking something totally awesome that also happens to be totally awesome for you.

The smoothie is just slightly sweet and super versatile. You can make it your own by changing up the ingredients — prefer regular or soy milk? Go for it. Don’t like bananas? Leave them out. I like this combination just as it was presented, but I did use some mango the other day instead of a banana and found that was really good as well. I’ve also seen similar recipes that call for coconut milk and pineapple for a tropical twist.

I thought the smoothie might substitute a meal, but it doesn’t, really, at least not for me. I still need to eat solids. But this is the best, easiest way to get a good dose of your daily greens without having to munch through yet another boring salad.

The original recipe didn’t specify what kind of pear to use, how ripe it should be, or whether to peel it or leave the skin on. I use anjou pears that aren’t quite ripe yet, because while they aren’t as sweet as they could be, I’m impatient and don’t feel like waiting for the several days it takes for a pear to ripen from its rock-hard supermarket state.

When I first started making the smoothie, I was peeling the pear, but I’ve taken to leaving the skin on because there’s actually a lot of good stuff there, and there isn’t a huge difference between blending the pear with the skin on and off.

Lastly, peel and slice the banana before freezing so you can just add it straight from the freezer to the blender. I’m also experimenting with freezing the kale and spinach. (Update: The greens freeze and blend well straight from the freezer. However, I'd advise against freezing the pear, as you lose some of the sweetness of the fruit along the way.)

Kale smoothie

from joythebaker.com

1 heaping cup spinach

1 heaping cup kale, tough stems removed

1.5 cups almond milk

½ pear (peeled or with skin on), chopped

1 frozen, sliced banana

1 tablespoon honey (optional — I omitted)

Blend spinach, kale and almond milk in a blender until smooth. Add pear and banana and continue to blend until all ingredients are incorporated.

Makes about two servings. You can keep the smoothie in an air-tight container in the fridge for a day or so.

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