The other day, it wasn’t raining.
And for us in Illinois, this past June, that was something to write home about!
We actually had a reasonable summer day. After raiding the lettuce in the garden—enjoying the first fruits, if you will—of our annual plant-a-thon, I needed something more.
I love salad. But not for breakfast. And I was tired of my usual fare.
So, I cast my mind back in time to the workshop I attended by a friend of mine who’s a raw food guru. I’m not normally a fan of year-round raw eating. I mean, I totally see the benefit in it. But somehow, when it’s -20, I want stew. Hot stew. It can certainly be vegetarian or vegan, but it’s gotta be hot when it’s bone-chilling cold.
But I digress. Let’s go back to the day in June when the thermometer merely kissed the 90-degree mark before it clouded up and started, again, to rain.
I’ve burned out three blenders in my quest for a simple smoothie, so finally, Hubby got me a Vita-Mix. Such an appliance is not required for this recipe, but if you have one, it won’t hurt. As always, look below for notes, because I still can’t leave well enough alone. Of course, get as organic as you can.
Super Simple Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)
½ of a bag of baby kale
1 c. almond milk or your favorite non-dairy milk
1” piece of ginger, peeled
1 each: banana, avocado, Granny Smith apple
1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled & chunked
1 tsp. spirulina powder (optional)
6 ice cubes
Layer these, as follows, from bottom of the blender to the top: almond milk, banana, avocado, kale, cucumber, apple, spirulina powder, ginger, ice cubes.
Whiz this, starting at the lowest speed and moving to the highest speed. Stop midway and scrape down the sides if you need to. Some blenders need a little nudge to do their thing.
Blend for about 1-2 minutes, depending on the size of the fruit you used. If you need to, here you can add a bit more almond milk, to get it to smooth consistency—not a chunky-but-able-to-swallow concoction. In my opinion, one should never have to chew one’s smoothie.
Pour into two glasses and serve immediately. I usually shock the raw-food folks because I’m the only one drinking these. So one serving goes into a glass for breakfast and the other goes into a mason jar and gets refrigerated for lunch.
You can use berries if you want—frozen are fine, but fresh are good if you have them in the market. You can use a pear and a small red apple if you don’t like the zing of a Granny Smith.
You can also use a mix of baby spinach and kale, or the 3-green mix of kale, Swiss chard and spinach you can find in some markets.
For non-dairy milk, I’d suggest hemp or coconut/almond blend. I’m not a fan of soy, but if that’s your thing, then go for it! Plain, though. No chocolate flavors for this, please. Love chocolate, but not with kale!
If you want a little more pop and you can find it, you can add freshly-ground cinnamon to your smoothie—about ½ teaspoon (I’m talking about the jar of cinnamon with a grinder on top). And then add a few swipes of freshly ground nutmeg, too. It won’t hurt.
For a peppery taste, add arugula and 1 celery stalk to your smoothie.
As always, wash your greens. Don’t believe the packaging. Wash them. Wash all the produce going into this smoothie.
If you buy a whole chunk of fresh ginger and you’re not going to use it quickly, cut it into 1” pieces (peel on) and put it in the freezer. That way, you’ll always have it handy!
If you want to get fancy, slice a strawberry and put it on the rim of your glass. Or do the same with a slice of cucumber. Me? I don’t bother. But you might want to.
So there it is. The simplest smoothie ever. It’s a great way to use stuff from your farmer’s market, your garden, or your food coop if you find that things need to be used ASAP.
And of course, to introduce smoothies to kids, have them help—pick out the fruit or berries they want, put the ice cubes on top, pick their favorite straw. Gotta get ‘em while they’re young!
Author: Pat Perrier
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s Own