80/10/10 Recipe: Beginner’s Green Smoothie Banana Blueberry Spinach

by on April 11, 2012


Low Fat Vegan Chef's Beginner's Green Smoothie Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

For some of you green smoothies might be something new, or something you’ve heard of but never tried. Others may make green smoothies regularly and enjoy them. I wanted to share a really easy green smoothie recipe with you today. Something I would call a “basic” or “beginner’s green smoothie”.

#1. Because it’s not too frightening looking and you can tell it has berries in it (this may seem a little normal looking). This may also appeal to people who are afraid of drinking something that looks like green grass!

#2. It tastes very nice and you cannot detect any greens in it at all. Baby spinach is probably the best green to start with when dipping your toes (and taste buds) into making a green smoothie.

Green smoothies are basically just a mixture of fresh ripe fruits, some mild greens, maybe some frozen berries and a little water. They need not be complicated, and they don’t need any kind of protein powders, raw pseudo “super foods” or oils like coconut or flax oil. The goodness of a simple green smoothie comes from whole foods. Whole fruit and whole greens is all I put into my smoothies.

Green smoothies can also help get some more greens into your diet (especially since they don’t need dressing) and can be good for children or people with a compromised ability to chew their food really well.

I only blend my smoothies for about 30-45 seconds in my Vitamix. I don’t like to let it run on too long and get too thin, or warm.

Another good thing to do is to not gulp your smoothie but drink it and chew it a bit. I don’t recommend sipping on smoothies for hours at a time or all day (this can cause dental problems and weaken your enamel from feeding the carries and bacteria in your mouth sugar all day) though. Consuming a smoothie in 10-20 minutes should be fine, and then you can wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth and rinse your mouth with water if you desire. When using berries that have little seeds I like to use a water pik as well as there can be little pieces that are hard to get out between your teeth.

To make a basic green smoothie you want to start out with a base of either ripe bananas or ripe mangoes (I like ataulfo mangoes) or even a mixture of both. Then you can use 2 cups of mild greens like baby spinach, lettuce, mache (lambs lettuce/corn salad), or 2-3 leaves of kale or Swiss chard (remove the big stems). If desired you can add another fruit like berries, pineapple, mango, papaya, grapes, even watermelon. Depending on what blender you have you may need to add a little water as well, just enough to blend or to get the consistency you like. I like really thick smoothies so I chew them. Some people like only very thin ones so it’s like fruit juice. It’s up to you. Always stack the smoothie in your blender with water at the bottom, then bananas, then greens, and then frozen fruit. Use a tamper (if you have a Vitamix) or break up the chunks of banana before blending to get everything to combine easily. If you have a basic blender you may want to blend the banana, water and greens first, and then add a little additional fresh or frozen fruit and blend again.

Ok, now that I’ve shared some tips on green smoothies, let’s go on to the recipe.

Low Fat Vegan Chef's Beginner's Green Smoothie Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

80/10/10 Recipe: Banana Blueberry Green Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas (see my post on how to tell if your bananas are ripe enough)
2 cups baby spinach, packed
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4-1/2 cup water (as desired)

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients into blender in the order above putting the bananas on the bottom. Add a little water if desired to help it liquify.
  2. Blend for 30-45 seconds if you have a Vitamix. (If you have a regular blender you may need to break up the banana pieces into smaller chunks and blend with a little more water or a little longer depending on how strong the motor is.)

I find that having frozen fruit gets the smoothie cool enough without the need to add ice. Unless you have a Vitamix adding ice to a smoothie can make it too gritty and not very smooth to drink.

Have you ever made a green smoothie before? If so what’s your favourite?

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Morgan January 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Great recipe…I use vega one protein powder (it’s vegan) and one banana instead of 3 and I only had mixed berries in my freezer….delicious!!

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2 Erica Wollman September 26, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Thanks for the great recipe! I was looking for a way to get more greens into my diet.

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3 Leanne May 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM

So you do not think using almond milk in smoothies is good? I have recently needed to go on a lactose free diet and fruit smoothies with almond milk has been something I have been having for about two weeks every morning or as a snack instead of bad carbs. I want to start adding greens to these smoothies. I have always been short and slim but ever since I have taken anti-anxiety meds I have put on weight even with no change to my lifestyle and diet ( I am 21). Do you think green smoothies could be a good way for me to start loosing the weight while getting enough calcium ect? I am a nanny and so far smoothies have kept me going for so much longer throughout the day

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4 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Greens have lots of calcium in them. I use a little water to blend my fruit smoothies, almond milk is not necessary. You can just add a few leaves of kale or chard (if you have a good blender that can blend them, just remove the hard stems first) or you can pack in a cup or two of baby spinach greens into any fruit smoothie. You won’t taste the greens at all if you use sweet fruits like banana, ripe mango etc. Try not to use just frozen fruit as it’s less ripe and hard to blend.

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5 Judy May 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

I have a green smoothie every morning. Two of my favs in my Vitamix are: One is 3 cups water, 1/2 lb. spinach, 1 cup grapes, 1 apple, 3-4 bananas. The other is 5 oranges, peeled, 1/2 fresh pineapple, 1 whole bunch of celery, chopped, 1-2 cups blueberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen). My 90 yr old mom enjoys 30 oz. and I enjoy the rest for our breakfast.

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6 David Rice April 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Not necesarily my favourite – but very good.

Tomato Spinach Soup

10 ripe tomatos
1 bunch of spinach
2 lemons or limes juiced

Wash, blend and enjoy!

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7 Green Smoothies April 14, 2012 at 7:59 AM

What a wonderful introduction to green smoothies! Your tips are very helpful and I love that you suggest mache. Right now (it changes often) my favorite green smoothie is pineapple ginger with lots of kale.

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8 Tamee April 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Veronica do you know if a diabetic should use the fruity green smoothies?

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9 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 18, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Hi Tamee

Diabetics should eat fruits and greens just like everyone else. You can eat them whole, or in smoothies. I would not recommend juice as you don’t want to spike your blood sugar, but when you eat fruits whole or blended the sugars are still attached to the fibre and then get processed slowly as your body breaks down the food as you digest it. It is a myth that diabetics should stay away from fruit. What is important is to have a low fat diet, that is based on whole foods, and not white sugar, white flour, oil, deep fried battered foods and low in animal and plant fats.

Here’s some info from the diabetes association

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-myths/

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

A great book on healing type 2 diabetes and managing type 1 diabetes is Dr. Neal Barnards whole food vegan program. Check out his book Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs

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10 Joe April 12, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Great tasting green fruit smoothie, Veronica.

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11 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Thanks Joe!

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12 Margaret April 12, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Dear Veronica

Yes this is very tasty Thank you.
I make a variety of different greens with
3 bananas & another sweet fruit.
I usually have 2 glasses in morning &
the balance later & more bananas.
I have a few dates as well.
However I am hungry so eat salad then
more fruit later.
I need to eat at least 4 extra bananas
(love them) to satisfy myself.

Here’s to feeling great.
Warmest regards,
Margaret (NZ)

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13 Dawn April 12, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Thanks Veronica! for this good explanation and recipe. I have re posted it for friends who might be curious and try smoothies. I agree, all that extra stuff is not necessary for me either. For my sons who work out and are very slender I recommend flax, chia or hemp. I find that as long as I use enough greens I don’t need any extra protein and it is easier to digest.

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14 Em April 12, 2012 at 3:47 PM

What’s my favourite green smoothie?? OMGosh – that’s almost impossible to answer… But if I do have to pick one, it would be banana, pear and rasberry with any green – though the smoothest is spinach – followed perhaps by a bunch of chrysanthemum (no stems, of course).

I use somewhere between three to five very ripe Asian bananas, one to two pears (Lemon Bergamot, Josephine or William – the first two varieties are the creamiest and overwhelmingly my first choice – I can do it with any pear but some, like the Beurre Bosc can be a little grainy, and once you’ve had the creaminess of the lemonberg or josephine, that’s sort of what you want all the time :) ) about one cup of frozen or fresh rasberries and one bunch of either spinach or chrysanthemum.

The chrysanthemum changes the flavour completely – sort of makes it a little lemony(?) – can’t think of another way to describe it. If using fresh berries, I’ll blend all the other stuff first, then add them last. If frozen, I just add them on top of the spinach (again the last ingredient). Re water, I use somewhere between half to one cup, depending on how I feel.

In the past, I tried making my smoothies in different blenders – but The Vitamix gives unparalleled results – there’s just no comparison – and when I consider it is my stove, oven, crockpot, etc, it was definitely worth the (huge) investment!

Btw, V, thanks for putting in the other names for mache – always love the attention to detail – which increases the usefulness of your posts for those of us who don’t necessarily live in your region of the world! :)

Your tooth care tips and smoothie-eating/timing suggestions are also both invaluable! :)

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15 Rob April 12, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Hi Veronica – I make my green smoothies at about the same quantity as your recipe but that makes about three big glasses. Its about all you can pack into a Vitamix size blender. I cover two with cling wrap and keep in fridge for next day or two. The very top thin layer turns a darker colour but otherwise they taste just as fresh and good as the first glass. Like you I use a spoon to eat them! I have a good variety of greens in the garden so can rotate according to availability and season. The same with the berries I grow and I love to put a knob of ginger in. I taste the basic mix I am doing first and then add some super food(s) to adjust the flavour to my taste. Maca is good for you and I find I can smooth out any too acid flavours if necessary. I hope you don’t give me too hard a time if I’m doing something wrong – I do LOVE your style but please don’t beat me up too much!!! (Just kidding of course!!).

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16 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM

My Vitamix was only a little over half full with the large container. Maybe if you are adding really big bananas, lots of water, or have a smaller container it would be full. But this is not a very large smoothie. My husband would drink an entire blender container full of smoothies and that would be over 8 cups or 2 litres of smoothie! He would use a lot of bananas at least 6-8 plus lots of berries and lots of spinach.

I like to make smoothies like this so they last you a few hours. If you only have a smoothie with 1 or two bananas in it, it’s going to be 200 calories or so and that’s only a snack, not even half a meal.

It’s not good to be eating constantly on a raw food diet as it’s bad for your blood sugar and your dental hygiene. We need hours between meals and not to eat constantly. So that’s why I like to have smoothies that are the size of meals and make them substantial so they last me until lunch.

Maybe some people just can’t drink as much. But I drink a lot of water as well and no problem with this volume.

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17 Erin April 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I sure do love my smoothies. I drink at least one every day. (and I only use my Magic Bullet for grinding small amounts of nuts/seeds if I need them, or for blending salad dressings ;) ).

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18 Paula April 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM

This looks very nice Veronica … though I only have a regular blender and a Magic Bullet. I would like to figure out how to use the raw greens though, as you have here. I use the Magic Bullet for my smoothies, which I usually make with coconut milk, banana, frozen berries, and I do like to add powdered green tea, or recently some spirulina.

What is the 80/10/10? Is it protein, carb & fat ratio?

Also this looks like a huge smoothie … too filling to drink at once?

I’ll have to play with your recipe in my bullet or blender. Can’t afford a Vitamix just yet. I liked the idea of layering, with the liquid on the bottom. Maybe that will help with using just a blender.

Thanks for getting me started on using raw greens! :)

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19 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Hi Paula

It’s about 480 calories if you use medium bananas, more if you use large bananas. This smoothie is supposed to be a meal. I think this is a sufficient amount for women. Men may want to make two. My husband would drink two of these after a run. I do not add almond milk, powders, oils or any other things to the smoothie. Adding lots of almond milk or protein powders or fats adds a lot of calories to a smoothie. I prefer to get calories from whole fruits as they have many more vitamins and minerals and are better for you in their whole state than a milk or powder. If you are adding milks and powder you don’t need to add more than 1 or 1 1/2 bananas. But like I said I don’t like doing this as those are just fillers. There’s lots of protein in spinach so there’s no need for a woman to add extra protein to a smoothie.

80/10/10 means 80% or higher carbs 10% or less of fat and 10% or less of protein. Doug Graham uses it to label his style of raw food diet. I use that label for my Natural Hygiene seasoning free/low fat raw recipes for people who follow that strict of a diet.

I don’t like the Magic Bullet because it is a very weak blender and more good for making salsa or a chunky sauce. If you’re going to make smoothies using it, you’ll have to use half the recipe and probably chop the spinach up beforehand. A regular $50 blender would probably work better for making smoothies. Greens are a little hard to blend, baby spinach is the easiest. You can chop it a bit and blend only a cup at a time to make it easier.

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