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What Not to Put in a Green Smoothie

2 July 2010 11 Comments

I constantly read blogs telling you that you can throw any greens in a smoothie and you won’t taste it. Lie, flat out lie. Unless your taste buds are dulled to some of the greens, you can taste many of them. For some, it is a matter of finding the right flavor combo, and for others … just. don’t. do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I started tossing spinach in our smoothies about five years ago. Both my husband and I love it and spinach is a truly close to neutral green. Though I know you exist, I have yet to find the one person that can detect the taste of spinach in a smoothie if they don’t know it’s in there (see below for my blueberry-spinach hiding technique).

But … I can tell you that though these may appeal to some of you, I can’t stand kale or celery in smoothies. Kale is bitter, strong, and woody … I like it sauteed, roasted, and even a little raw in salads … but drinking it, ugh! Celery is very watery and it tastes like, well, celery. I don’t like what it does to smoothies, but I think it may have its place. The jury is still out in my house on lettuce. Like celery, I found it had a watery taste, but with the right smoothie, I think it could work.

On Wednesday though, I outdid myself with green disgustingness (word?). I trial a lot of recipes, some turn out awesome, some … turn out like the green apricot smoothie I produced. It started out tasty, as to be expected with ingredients like bananas, apricots, vanilla unsweetened almond milk, and cinnamon. I did a little taste, and good to go … but then I thought, “I will just see what a little arugula tastes like in smoothies.” In went a fistful and destroyed went the smoothie. Pungent and gross. I hate wasting food, so down the hatch it went, but never, never again. Dare I say it was a bit skunky? I really should have known better, arugula isn’t a mild green … but it was early, and my brain wasn’t yet on point.

What greens do you like or dislike in your green smoothie? I’m willing to keep experimenting, so please do share!

For those of you who haven’t even tried spinach in your smoothie, I highly recommend my True Blue Smoothie Recipe. It has been successfully implemented in dairy-free households worldwide. I swear!

At that point, I was so angry at the arugula that I sauteed it all to oblivion and put it in rice (with sun-dried tomatoes, tuna, olive oil, dijon, and some spices) for our lunch. I wanted every last bit gone!

From there, Wednesday was a food bust. We went out to eat for dinner. Fortunately, that meant loading up on some awesome veggies. Eating out isn’t always a bad thing! Actually, I quite enjoy it.

Fitness Wednesday:

  • 40 min Insanity Cardio Resistance
  • 2 mile walk with husband

Fitness Thursday:

  • 33 min Insanity Cardio Recovery (fairly easy, but with some isometrics thrown in)
  • 2 mile walk with husband (carrying a very heavy grocery bag on the second half!)

More on my thoughts of Insanity tomorrow …


  • Lori said:

    How much does it suck to put in all great ingredients (and expensive) and then blend it up, taste, and be disgusted? I hate when that happens! I used kale in a smoothie when I first started green smoothies… NOT the best thing to start with, especially with a regular blender-before I upgraded. Anyway, kale is ok in small portions, spinach is definitely a must. Other must tries are parsley (with pear- delicious!), basil, broccoli, and beet tops.
    I have yet to find a good mix with cilantro or romaine… not my favorites. (yuck!)

  • lindsay said:

    I love GREEN in my smoothies. Feel so noursihed. Once I tried argula and it made it kinda minty. Not bad but I think spinach is the best! 🙂

  • Shannon said:

    yeah i usually stick to spinach as well, did kale once and was not a fan! i do like some cucumber, it adds a subtle refreshing quality!

  • Pure2raw twins said:

    I love all types of kale, collards, bok choy, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, and romaine is good too in my smoothies. But I have learned what fruits I like with what green. I think it is important to get variety, so I do not eat spinach everyday, but I understand how some people like it because of the neutral taste. Maybe try doing bananas and apples with kale, or bananas and strawberries. I have found with kale you need a sweet fruit like bananas. Also add lemon juice, it cuts out the green flavor 😉

  • Katie said:

    I can do kale in small doses in smoothies. Spinach, I’m all over. Romaine is mild and really good too. Celery…meh, I can take it or leave it. Arugula, I love, but can’t imagine it in smoothies. I haven’t tried any herbs either, because smoothies are supposed to be sweet in my opinion. I should try some mint or basil though.

  • aimee said:

    i love spinach and kale in my smoothies, but absolutely loathe romaine and celery. yucky. i find that if I use a really strong tasting fruit like pineapple, i can’t taste the kale at all!

  • Kelsey @ CleanTeenKelsey said:

    One time I put mustard greens in my green smoothie and it was NOT a good idea. It was disgusting and by far the worst green smoothie I have ever had. Blech. I even stopped drinking them for a while because I could only associate them with icky mustard. Blah.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said:

    arugula, kale, celery = nasty to me in smoothies or juicing them. I like them all plain, so-so on the celery, but those are such bitter, pungent flavors all of them, no way do i like to “drink” those.

    I am just not a smoothie/juicing girl. Never was and have gotten totally away from it. I am a chewing girl 🙂

  • alisa (author) said:

    Thanks all!

    Lori – I definitely have broccoli on my to trial list.
    Shannon – Love the cucumber idea, will give that a go!
    Kelsey – ewwww, I think mustard greens may even be worse than arugula!

  • Erin said:

    Hello! New to this website and I love the different topics discussed! I’ve been drinking green smoothies for a while, and I agree with you on the different type of lettuces and celery. I have a couple of recommendations to experiment with: My go to quick and easy smoothie is 2 handfuls of kale, 1 banana, 1 red pear, a sprinkle of chia seeds, and water (usually about 2.5 cups). This makes a smooth and sweet 50 oz smoothie (everything I do is in estimation. I’ve worked with many greens, and I find that ones with stronger flavors (i think the strongest flavor conflict I had was with a gigantic batch of fresh italian parsley..good but oh my strong!) go best with citrus fruits (orange, lemon, and even a zesty piece of ginger) along with your base fruit of bananas or whatever else and water. I usually find that using water only also keeps the flavor crisper (I had a terrible recipe with almond milk and now I have a slight aversion to using it). I’ve also heard of people making savory smoothies (soups on the go!), but I’ve yet to go that route.

  • alisa (author) said:

    Thanks for the ideas Erin!