Happy first day of May! Crazy, right? Let’s celebrate with a smoothie making party. After all, green smoothies scream Spring and Summertime …even though technically I drink them during the Winter too!
I am obsessed with green smoothies. Ever since my beautiful Ninja Ultima arrived at my doorstep about six months ago, I have been hooked. I drink one every single day and am actually quite sad when I am without my blender and, therefore, without my smoothies. They truly have become a staple in my daily routine.
I think it totally creeps my family, friends, and co-workers out when I tell them that my green smoothies always contain spinach, but they obviously have not been listening when I tell them that you cannot even taste it! Spinach is not the only ingredient that you will consistently find in my green smoothies. The other ingredient is something that I love dearly and while it may not really be a “secret” ingredient, I have found that my smoothies never taste “right” without it.
A perfectly ripe frozen banana.
I know what you are probably thinking. A banana? That’s it? It may sound crazy, but I truly believe that the secret to the “perfect” green smoothie is a frozen banana that is just “perfectly” ripened.
What do I mean my “perfectly” ripened? Well, let me tell you. I have tried using bananas with a very yellow peel (no brown spots) and those are incredibly no bueno. Using an unripened banana resulted in a smoothie that was bitter and not sweet enough for my liking. Make sure, however, that you are not trying to use bananas that are too ripe (think bananas you would use for baking). These bananas will be very difficult to cut and freeze, especially if you freeze your bananas like I do where they all hang out together:
Once they have reached the perfect ripeness, I peel them, cut them into thirds, throw them in a gallon-sized Ziploc, and freeze them. This has become a weekly ritual that I must keep up in order to ensure that I always have at least one frozen banana in my freezer at all times. I have not run out yet, but I am fairly certain that if I ever did it would feel like an awfully traumatic experience. Slightly dramatic, huh? If you have already discovered the “secret” perfectly ripe banana trick for a great green smoothie, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
Trust me, six months ago if you had told me that green smoothies legitimately tasted like vanilla or chocolate milkshakes then I would have thought you were nuts. But, my friends, this is actually a fact.
Oh, and thank you Vega One too! And yes, vanilla protein powder helps out a lot. But trust me when I say that I have made the exact same smoothie (using Vega both times) and left the ripened banana out of one, and it was just so… off. Drinkable, but not good and not enough to make me actually crave it. I crave my green smoothies every morning and hate to be without them. A ripe banana is an absolute must if you want the perfectly sweetened green smoothie.
Check out my current favorite green smoothie recipe below to see just how many greens I down each morning, all thanks to that banana.
Makes 1 large smoothie (go big or go home)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 TB vanilla or chocolate protein powder (preferably vegan)
1 frozen ripe banana, cut into thirds or sliced
1 to 2 frozen strawberries
4 slices frozen zucchini
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas
3 to 4 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach (I have also been known to throw in some fresh kale)
1. Add everything to a high powered blender (I use my Ninja) and pulse until mostly blended. This usually takes me anywhere between 30 to 45 seconds.
2. Finish off the blending process by “blending” on a medium speed (I use speed “4″ on my Ninja) for approximately 15 seconds.
Have you caught on to the banana trick yet?
What veggies do you put in your green smoothies?
What is your favorite smoothie combination? Give me some links!