Monday, May 28, 2012

Green Smoothie - Spinach-Mint

It's summertime (well, in just under a month) and I've been craving the fresh fruits and veggies that come with summer for quite a while now. Fortunately, my farmers market is already up and running and the local produce is coming in at the co-op and my favorite grocery store.

But beginning during the winter, when E and I were swimming several nights a week, I started making green smoothies. They were the perfect end to a workout, especially since we got home late and I didn't really want to eat dinner beforehand. The nice thing about green smoothies like the the one here is that some greens really start coming in over fall & winter -- and if you're on top of your game, you can get these greens fresh, cook them up and then freeze them in little smoothie-portioned chunks. If you're not on top of your game (and I wasn't this year, since I moved), you can also just buy frozen greens. Or, if you've got a better blender than mine, use fresh greens.

The mint extract in this smoothie helps tone down any bitter qualities of the greens, and the banana makes it smooth. Normally, as regular readers of my posts know, I'm not a fan of using bananas. Even when I buy them organic/fair-trade they're not the best environmental decision. Other options for making it smooth include: nut butters, yogurt, or (possibly) oats (my friend Marissa, over at We*Meat*Again just wrote about this possibility). 

If you have it on hand (which I do now--pineapple mint, if you're curious), you can also use fresh mint -- but it takes a lot more! The portions suggested below are just suggestions. If you think it needs to be sweeter (this may depend on the ripeness of your banana as well as your personal tastes), add some agave, honey, or other natural sweetener of your choice. Sometimes my smoothie comes out a little thick -- if this happens, just add a little water or more milk and that should solve the problem beautifully

Spinach-Mint Smoothie
1 cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 large frozen banana, slightly thawed (again, unless you have a super-awesome blender -- which I don't)
4-5 drops mint extract or 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. If you don't plan to drink it right away, store in a container that you can shake up later (in case of separation) and store in refrigerator.
Green Smoothie in a peanut butter jar