Sweet Nutrition: True Blue Smoothie

Posted by on August 16, 2009 | 19 Comments

Thanks to this year’s bumper blueberry crop, our [tiny] freezer is quickly filling. But I must say, it is worth it; this year’s blueberries seem sweeter than ever. Plus, you can’t beat the prices. We have been getting loads of these delicious Oregon blueberries for just $1.00 to $2.00 per lb at our local grocery stores.

Though I offered to make some blueberry bars, my husband quickly declined with a, “Save them for the smoothies!” Considering how much he loves cookies and bars, this says a ton for his adoration of our homemade smoothies. In fact, there is one sweet blueberry smoothie, which  he not only enjoys immensely, but also brags to others about (in attempts to thwart his less than healthy childhood image).

You might be thinking, “Sure, fruit smoothies are healthy; what’s the big deal?” Well, for starters, I make them only with ripe fruit and unsweetened liquids, no added sugars; though you are welcome to sweeten to taste if your fruit is less than scrumptious. I also add in whatever I think we need at the time, such as some ground flaxseed, a little protein powder, etc. But what my husband got most excited about was what he didn’t know was in the smoothies for the first two months I was serving them too him.

Can you tell? (focus on the blue and please ignore the water spots!)

truebluesmoothie2

Do you see those wonderfully sweet blueberry flecks throughout? Those were my disguise. What you can’t taste, or see, is the spinach! You have probably seen claims on other blogs that you can’t taste spinach in smoothies. Years ago I put this theory to the test, and it was true, but because it turned the smoothie a less than attractive green, I couldn’t get my husband to go near it. However, when I snuck the spinach into this blueberry smoothie (blackberries work too), he was none the wiser, as he happily sipped away his new favorite breakfast.  

After I let him in on the secret, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. I have overheard him many times boasting, “You can add spinach to smoothies and you can’t even taste it!” My job here is done …

 

True Blue Smoothie

This recipe is adapted from my book! - Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Depending on the milk alternative you use, this recipe can be Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, and Low Fat.

“This is my go-to smoothie, and trust me on this one … don’t omit the spinach. I don’t care who you are serving it to, they will never know it is in there. The blueberries mask the green color, resulting in a beautiful purple beverage. As for the flavor … even the most adamant non-believers come back to me with surprise comments of delight. I never add sweetener, but feel free to add a bit if your fruit isn’t very sweet.”

  •  1 Medium Very Ripe Banana, Broken into Chunks
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup Plain or Vanilla Milk Alternative of Choice [This summer I am using 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk]
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Ice

Toss the banana, blueberries, and 1/2 cup of the milk alternative into your blender, and process until smooth. Add the cinnamon (if using), flax seeds, and spinach, and blend until those little green specks vanish. Blend in more milk alternative until it reaches your desired consistency. If desired, blend in a handful of ice for a frostier treat.

Optional Add-ins:

  • Sweetener, to Taste (agave, sugar, or your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Flax Seeds (left whole or pre-ground in your spice grinder)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Protein Powder of Choice

Yields 1 to 2 Servings

 

Freezing Blueberries (or other summer berries) – As mentioned, blueberries freeze beautifully:

  1. As soon as you get home with your bounty, set aside some fresh ones to consume over the next few days.
  2. Take the remaining blueberries, rinse them well, and pat them dry.
  3. I usually leave them on the counter on a towel in a single layer, after I have patted them dry, for an hour or so to get rid of any excess moisture.
  4. Place the blueberries in large freezer bags (make sure they are freezer bags, not the regular ones), zip them closed, getting as much air out as possible, and freeze.
  5. I usually lay the bags flat in the freezer and stack one on top of the other.

Comments (19)

 

  1. RunToFinish says:

    i have started adding htings like carrots and cucumbers too, you can’t taste them either!

    thanks for the tips on freezing blueberries I was just wondering what the best way to do that woudl be…now I’m off to go buy a boatload!! How long do they last?

  2. sas says:

    Alisa, I am intrigued with the sneaky spinach move in the smoothie–I’m a fan of smoothies as well as spinach and blueberries, so it’ll be on my list to try soon. However, I was most intrigued by your mention of blueberry bars. Where can I find the recipe for them??? Thanks Sas

  3. veggievixen says:

    that’s genius!! i’ve had a strawberry and spinach smoothie, but it kinda turned purple. glad to hear that the spinach is disguised when you use darker berries.

    i love freezing fruits! my tiny freezer is also full of this summer’s crop of the most delicious fruity things. hello smoothies for the rest of the year!

  4. That picture is gorgeous! Love the recipe… sounds awesome.

    I can’t imagine my life without green smoothies. YUM!!!!!

    Cheers,
    Kristen

  5. Sarena says:

    I did not even notice the water spots! All I saw was a gorgeous smoothie!

  6. This is a really pretty smoothie. I’m not a huge blueberry fan (heresy, I know!) so I’ll try it with blackberries :)

  7. alisa says:

    RunToFinish – I love the idea of adding cucumbers and carrots, that is going on my list! As for the berries, they supposedly last up to a year when properly stored, but we eat them up within the first 3 months, so it hasn’t been tested in our house!

    Sas – I haven’t actually made the blueberry bars yet, but this recipe inspired me – http://www.recipezaar.com/Blueberry-Picnic-Bars-1600.

    Fearless Kitchen – Oh yes, I should mention – I find that blackberries (especially frozen ones) rarely get as sweet as blueberries, so there is more of a chance you will need a little sweetener of some kind if you like a sweeter smoothie.

  8. Biz says:

    That’s it – I am going to start making smoothies! Yours looks so good :D

  9. Erin says:

    Oh, I’m am SO jealz of your bumper blueberry crop. They’re almost my fav fruit and so good in smoothies!

  10. DebinHawaii says:

    I love a good smoothie and these look wonderful. I try hide kale too but it takes more effort than spinach I think to truly hide it. ;-)

  11. Tender B. says:

    I never thought about blueberries and spinach. Looks beautiful. I have lots of blueberries as well so it is on my list of things to make.

  12. gina says:

    what is a good blender to purchase for making smoothies? my friend has a vitamix 5200, but says it is so loud she rarely uses it. also, there are so many vitamix models (om amazon). do regular blenders do the trick on spinach/ any info would be MUCH appreciated..thanks!!

  13. sas says:

    Alisa,I have now had your blueberry smoothie at least 5 times, it’s delish! I even ventured into new territory this a.m. and added raw chard instead of spinach, and it still worked! I am really picky with my veggies so gettin’ em’ in a smoothie is genius. It’s also nice because using them raw saves you from having to take time to cook your veggies–it’s an easy way to increase your daily # of veggie and fruit servings….yum yum Sas

  14. Marie says:

    Love love love adding veggies this way…wonder what other veggies this might work with? I linked to this post from my blog that I did about feeding my four year old with a few eating issues. You can see it here at http://allaccesspasstojack.blogspot.com/2009/09/all-about-eating.html. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  15. Laurie says:

    Tip for freezing blueberries (Works like a charm!):

    Wash and dry blueberries, as mentioned.
    Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, place in freezer.
    Once frozen, slide off cookie sheet and into freezer bags.

    Then they never stick together, as they are frozen apart!

  16. Cynthia Huenke says:

    Love this smoothie. I accidentally discovered that you cannot detect green spinach with darker berries and my 3 year old loves them. He has no idea there is spinach in them. One year old loves them no matter the color. She shares my green smoothies all the time. What a wonderful way to get nutrition into the kids. And my kid’s pediatrician laughed when I said I wanted to find veggies with iron rather than supplement with constipating iron supplements. She wouldn’t laugh if she saw these kids drinking down a glass of liquid fruits and veggies! It is not so hard to get kids to eat healthy.

  17. [...] 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 [...]

  18. vanessa says:

    This not only tasted Great but adds 23 vitamins and minerals, Protein and Fiber by adding Visalus Vi shape nutritional shake mix!!!

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