10 Healthy Smoothie Recipes to Rock Your World

“Healthy Smoothie” is a relative term. Back in the day, I’d zap strawberries, bananas, apple juice and maybe some yogurt together in a blender and call it a healthy smoothie. And it was.

The bar for smoothie nutrition is now up in the stratosphere, and it’s a development that I’m finding increasingly delightful.  As a person who gets a kick out of cooking for people, there is nothing like the kick associated with cobbling together elixir-of-life type combinations of greens and flax and assorted superfoods that Sarah and Anna, who once refused to consume anything that wasn’t shaped like a dinosaur or packaged with a toy, now consume with enthusiasm. Some of my recent forays into smoothie creations have led me to the brink of concluding that there might be no end to the surprising combinations of greens, vegetables and fruits that are deliciously drinkable. Here are 10 of my new faves — all of which allow for untold variations.

1. Avocado Banana Smoothie

Beyond creamy: When  avocado, banana and yogurt are blended into a smoothie, the result is silk.
Beyond creamy: When avocado, banana and yogurt are blended into a smoothie, the result is like silk.

Until a recent decision to take a deep dive into smoothie combinations, I saw little reason for expanding the avocado’s role in my life beyond salads and guacamole. Turns out, there’s a huge reason. A half avocado can completely transform the texture of a smoothie into something like silk. Like the true superfood that it is, the avocado has mighty and multi-faceted powers that emerge in full force when blended with a frozen banana, vanilla yogurt and apple juice. This was beyond a smoothie and more like the nectar of the gods. Later in the day, we varied the mix with the addition of a half cup of frozen blueberries, and that proved to be another version of perfect.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or 3/4 cup plain yogurt plus 2 tsp. agave nectar)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree thoroughly. Enjoy immediately.

2. Cucumber Lemon Smoothie

The cucumber adds depth to a light and refreshing summer smoothie.
Cucumber adds a delightful depth to a light and refreshing summer smoothie.

Who among us isn’t ready to take lemonade in a new direction? When blended with the juice of one lemon and a Tbsp. of raw sugar, cucumber lends a subtle hint of something green that would be difficult to detect if you didn’t know it was a cucumber. The lemon and raw sugar make the cucumber thoroughly drinkable. The blending creates the most refreshing and light summer smoothie imaginable. For another variation, add strawberries or blueberries.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole cucumber, seeded, chopped into 1-inch pieces and frozen*
  • Juice from a whole lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. raw sugar
  • 1 cup of ice water

*If using a room temperature cucumber, substitute a full cup of  ice for the cup of ice water.

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Blend very, very thoroughly.

3. Strawberry Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Strawberry-Bananna-Flax-04-
Packed with some of the planet’s finest ingredients, a strawberry, banana, yogurt, flax and almond smoothie is the perfect start to the day.

My personal smoothie history began with strawberries, bananas and apple juice. With that foundational combo as the basic backdrop, the potential to create the world’s most power-packed breakfast was just a few ingredients away. Greek yogurt for calcium and protein; flax for Omegas, fiber and antioxidants; and almonds for all sorts of brain-boosting, heart-healthy benefits.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. whole or ground flax

Directions

Combine all ingredients and blend for at least 2 – 3 minutes. Add additional water, if necessary. Enjoy as a breakfast on the run  or savor as a slow and nutrient-packed start to the day.

4. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

A Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie is a meal in a glass or a hefty boost to any meal.
A Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie can be a meal in a glass or a hefty boost to any meal.

The truth is, it’s almost always a good time for a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, but this combination is most appreciated when I realize that dinner is a bit lame and is in need of a boost. The same could be said for any smoothie, but when there’s a hungry hoard assembled who does not need to be careful about calories, often turn to the Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie. And then there’s always breakfast, lunch, after school or that mid-afternoon hankering for something a little sweet — like I said, there are lots of good times for a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 bananas (preferably frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut putter
  • 1 cup almond milk*
  • 1 tsp. raw sugar or agave nectar  (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

*Almond milk can be poured into ice cube trays  and kept frozen for a week or so. Frozen almond milk creates more of an icy treat.

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Blend until creamy. Unlike many smoothies that tend to separate if not consumed soon after the ingredients are blended together, the Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie can be refrigerated for a half hour or so without losing it’s creamy texture.

5. Spinach Avocado Blueberry Smoothie

Power packed with spinach, avocado, parsley, bananas and blueberries, the nutrient-content of this smoothie is off the charts.
Power packed with spinach, avocado, parsley, bananas and blueberries, the nutrient-content of this smoothie is off the charts.

In the smoothie world, avocados and bananas have similar functions. They both serve to thicken, add a degree of creaminess, or even emulsify combinations of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and juice. As far as texture goes, avocado would have done the trick here, but I tossed in a frozen banana as well, because there was a lot of green in the mix and even though green smoothies are awesome, I really want the flavor of  fruit to dominate. I remain several tweaks away from wanting to drink something that actually tastes like spinach, avocado, kale, beet greens or parsley, and I trust I’m not alone as far as that goes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (preferably frozen)
  • 3/4 cup apple juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Blend very thoroughly.

6. Blueberry Banana Smoothie

A touch of avocado lends a silky touch to a very tasty mix of blueberries and yogurt.
A touch of avocado lends a silky touch to a very tasty mix of blueberries and yogurt.

A freezer that is stocked with a bag of frozen blueberries is a wonderful thing. When experimenting with ingredients such as spinach, parsley or beet greens, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best. Sometimes it’s nice to remove all shadow of a doubt just run with the likes of blueberries, bananas, yogurt and apple juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen  blueberries
  • 1 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup apple juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Blend thoroughly.

 

7. Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

A departure from the fruits normally associated with smoothies, an apple cinnamon smoothie is rather tasty.
A departure from the fruits normally associated with smoothies, an apple cinnamon smoothie is rather tasty.

I love that cinnamon has recently achieved the status of a  superfood. As such, I felt that it needed to find its way into a smoothie, which was the motivation for this tasty creation.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (preferably frozen)
  • 1 apple, cored with skin still on
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plain, Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup apple juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients. Blend very thoroughly to ensure that apple skins get thoroughly pulverized.

 

8. Fully Loaded Blueberry Yogurt and Beet Green Smoothie

Beet Greens, Blueberries, Yogurt and a lot more
Beet Greens, Blueberries, Yogurt and a lot more

Among my forays into green smoothies from early in the year, the discovery that beet greens were just as good blended into a fruity drink as they were sauteed with garlic, contributed to a reordering of my  world view.

 

9. Simple Beet Green and Blueberry Smoothie

Adding freshness, a red pigment and a ton of nutrients, beet greens allow the flavor of fruits to dominate.
Adding freshness, a red pigment and a ton of nutrients, beet greens allow the flavor of fruits to dominate.

I had suspected that the combination of blueberries and beet greens would end up looking like some scary, army-green, mud-like concoction, and this was my exciting discovery: there are red veins running through beet greens and that’s the color that dominates when blended into a smoothie. AND as a smoothie ingredient, beet greens do some nutritional heavy lifting while remaining way in the background of flavor.

 

10. Kale Smoothie

Simple, fresh and VERY green, the Kale Smoothie is the gold standard of green smoothies!
Simple, fresh and VERY green, the Kale Smoothie is the gold standard of green smoothies!

And then there’s the granddaddy of them all. Kale. My bottom line concerning green smoothies: if you are going to be green, be really, really green. Fluorescent, day-glo green. And while you are at it, run circles around the nutrient content of every other leafy green out there. I’ve been seeking converts to the kale smoothie for over a year now and to think that there are still some people on this planet who remain skittish about pulverizing greens into a delicious drink. Sarah suggested that I carry a flask filled with a Kale Smoothie with me everywhere I go, in order to get more converts. The only problem with that strategy is that they are best right after they are blended.

Have a smoothie recipe you’d like to share? Thoughts on drinking greens or unlikely combinations that end up as a delicious drink. Spill!