Spinach is the ideal choice for a green smoothie thanks to its neutral taste and ability to blend up without leaving little chunks in your drink. (We love you kale, but why you gotta be like that?) Since spinach is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, it’s almost a shame not to toss a handful into every smoothie you make.
To prove our point, simply see below. These slurp-worthy recipes feature real, simple foods (read: pretty much no protein powders or “superfood” powders) that, when whirled together in a blender, make a perfect meal or snack. Time to get your green on!
Fruity With Banana
Spinach looks pretty in pink when blended alongside bananas and cherries. But there are so many reasons to make this drink beyond its fun bubble-gum hue—the red fruits pack in antioxidants and vitamin C and contain properties that may even fend off Alzheimer’s disease.1How’s that for a healthy start to your day?
- Cherries and health: a review. McCune LM, Kubota C, Stendell-Hollis NR. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2011, Apr.;51(1):1549-7852.
We’re skeptical that this will magically make your complexion rival a cover model’s, but with ingredients as healthy and delish as avocado, mango, pineapple, and spinach, it’s too good to ignore. And it never hurts to get some vitamin C, carotenoids, and healthy fats.
Two tablespoons of flaxseed in this bright green drink will give you omega-3s plus lignans for cardiovascular health.1Blend with clementines, bananas, spinach, and pineapple, and all you’ll taste is sweet satisfaction.
- Health benefits of plant-derived α-linolenic acid. Rajaram S. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2014, Jun.;100 Suppl 1():1938-3207.
Packed with the hydrating electrolytes of coconut water and creaminess of coconut milk, this is like a virgin version of a lime in de coconut. Sip poolside for refreshment without a headache.
This chocolate, strawberry, and banana smoothie has not one but two green veggies hiding in its creamy goodness. Broccoli—and its anti-inflammatory flavonol kaempferol—teams up with spinach.1While this may not be the prettiest smoothie, it’ll win you over with a single sip.
- Kaempferol and inflammation: From chemistry to medicine. Devi KP, Malar DS, Nabavi SF. Pharmacological research : the official journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 2015, May.;99():1096-1186.
Along with lending juiciness without added refined sugars, what makes the addition of peaches to this smoothie really sweet is that whether you’re using canned, frozen, or fresh, they come with polyphenols that have been shown to fight cancer cells.1 Combined with banana, the fruit easily overpowers the spinach—so feel free to throw in an extra large handful of the greens!
- Inhibition of growth and induction of differentiation of colon cancer cells by peach and plum phenolic compounds. Lea MA, Ibeh C, desBordes C. Anticancer research, 2008, Sep.;28(4B):0250-7005. Identifying peach and plum polyphenols with chemopreventive potential against estrogen-independent breast cancer cells. Noratto G, Porter W, Byrne D. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2009, Sep.;57(12):1520-5118. Polyphenolics from peach (Prunus persica var. Rich Lady) inhibit tumor growth and metastasis of MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells in vivo. Noratto G, Porter W, Byrne D. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 2014, Mar.;25(7):1873-4847.
Two big handfuls of spinach may make this smoothie look like green juice, but the unique trio of mango, banana, and cashews make it taste like a milkshake. With the filling fiber of the fruit plus the satisfying fats from the nuts, however, this breakfast is less likely to lead to the sugar crash you’d get from the diner drink and more likely to give you lasting energy.
If oats for breakfast sound too boring, you might prefer puréeing them in this much more creative smoothie. With the whole grains providing metabolic and anti-inflammatory benefits, and the blueberries boasting one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all berries, you’ve got a powerful combination!
This pastel blend gets its three shades of green from vitamin C-rich honeydew, lutein- and zeaxanthin-boasting spinach (good for eye health), and kale, which is a surprising source of calcium. A few generous dollops of Greek yogurt add about 11 grams of protein. Pulsed into a frosty frenzy, it’s an exceptional way to begin your morning or end an exercise session.
If you aren’t too familiar with papaya, this smoothie is the perfect introduction. It gives the usual spinach and banana duo a tropical twist and a delicately sweet depth of flavor. (Plus it’s believed to be good for digestion.1) Be sure to buy a papaya with orange-yellow skin—if it’s green, it’s not ripe yet.
- Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders. Muss C, Mosgoeller W, Endler T. Neuro endocrinology letters, 2013, Jun.;34(1):0172-780X.
Oats, orange juice, and three types of fruit make this smoothie a no-brainer for breakfast—and thanks to all the blackberries taking center stage, there’s no detecting the three handfuls of spinach behind that deep magenta exterior! Throw in a piece of anti-inflammatory ginger to add a kick that offsets the drink’s sweetness.
Fruity and Banana-Free
It’s looks like a Slurpee, but the purple in this smoothie isn’t coming from any artificial dyes—it’s the result of two whopping cups of mixed berries, spinach, and coconut water. A tablespoon of flaxseed adds compounds that can lower triglycerides and may even fight breast, prostate, and colon cancers.1 You won’t be finding that at any 7-Elevens!
- Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. Edel AL, Rodriguez-Leyva D, Maddaford TG. The Journal of nutrition, 2015, Feb.;145(4):1541-6100. Growth and gene expression differ over time in alpha-linolenic acid treated breast cancer cells. Wiggins AK, Mason JK, Thompson LU. Experimental cell research, 2015, Mar.;333(1):1090-2422. Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer. Azrad M, Vollmer RT, Madden J. Journal of medicinal food, 2013, Sep.;16(4):1557-7600. Dietary walnuts inhibit colorectal cancer growth in mice by suppressing angiogenesis. Nagel JM, Brinkoetter M, Magkos F. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 2011, Jul.;28(1):1873-1244.
Any recipe with the word “paradise” in it has us sold. Thankfully this one comes with a bunch of healthy plus points along with its heavenly taste, including pineapple for your heart and for fighting cancer, and avocado for vitamin B6, which your body needs to metabolize protein. With all that good stuff going on in here, sipping is pure bliss.
This smoothie gets its flavor, creaminess, and a bonus boost of protein from vanilla Greek yogurt. Strawberries and raspberries lend an unmistakable tang as well as cardiovascular benefits, while among it all hides a full cup of spinach.
There are seven green fruits and veggies in here, turning the drink a gorgeous shade of jade. Don’t forget about the many blood pressure-lowering benefits from the apples, celery, and kiwi, plus fiber from the spinach and pear to fill you up.1 A smoothie this good makes it very, very easy to be green.
- Flavonoid-rich apples and nitrate-rich spinach augment nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function in healthy men and women: a randomized controlled trial. Bondonno CP, Yang X, Croft KD. Free radical biology & medicine, 2011, Oct.;52(1):1873-4596. Kiwifruit: our daily prescription for health. Stonehouse W, Gammon CS, Beck KL. Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 2013, May.;91(6):1205-7541.
No need for a juicer! Using pear and almond milk helps the leafy greens process in a blender so there’s no bits in your sip. Cinnamon and ginger help ensure it’s not grassy tasting, and the pear makes it surprisingly smooth.
Along with subbing in for the banana to give this mango and spinach combo some extra sweetness, the dates in this recipe also provide fiber, potassium, and calcium; the addition of coconut water allows the dried fruit to blend up smoothly. Stick a mini-umbrella in this drink, and it’ll brighten up your mood on the cloudiest day.
We love how the buttery smoothness of an entire avocado makes this concoction so unbelievably velvety. Plus a whole avocado a day might keep the doctor away—or at least lower cholesterol, one study found.1Pineapple lends a fruity twist to “hide” the spinach, while chia seeds thicken up the smoothie even more.
- Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial. Wang L, Bordi PL, Fleming JA. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2015, Jan.;4(1):2047-9980.
Its parrot-green looks may give away the spinach, but all you’ll taste is the sweetness of the mango, the slight spice from the ginger, and the freshness of the antioxidant-packed mint. Blended together with the island flair of coconut milk, this is the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up. And it has quite possibly the funniest name for a drink.
Beets give this smoothie its natural good looks, but this drink is more than just pretty; the veggie’s natural sugars and cancer-fighting betalains make it a smart nutritional choice too.1With fruit like strawberries and orange and a few fistfuls of spinach, you’ll feel nothing short of awesome having gulped one of these down.
- Production of dihydroxylated betalains and dopamine in cell suspension cultures of Celosia argentea var. plumosa. Guadarrama-Flores B, Rodríguez-Monroy M, Cruz-Sosa F. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2015, Mar.;63(10):1520-5118.
The name of this smoothie is pretty much the entire recipe. With no coconut water or yogurt, the fruits and veggies shine through with the help of some water to get them liquefied. Enjoy the unique tartness—as well as the heart-healthy benefits—from the grapes alongside the sweetness of the apples.1With flavors this fresh, you may not even need the tablespoon of honey the blogger suggests!
- Diet-relevant phytochemical intake affects the cardiac AhR and nrf2 transcriptome and reduces heart failure in hypertensive rats. Seymour EM, Bennink MR, Bolling SF. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 2013, Mar.;24(9):1873-4847.
Antioxidant-boasting basil and honey provide the slightest undertones of sweetness to offset the plain Greek yogurt and milk in this pretty-as-a-picture drink.1 If you’re wary of savory smoothies, this one’s a great way to ease your way in.
- In vitro antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of six international basil cultivars. Elansary HO, Mahmoud EA. Natural product research, 2015, Jan.;():1478-6427. Honey as a source of dietary antioxidants: structures, bioavailability and evidence of protective effects against human chronic diseases. Alvarez-Suarez JM, Giampieri F, Battino M. Current medicinal chemistry, 2014, Jan.;20(5):1875-533X.
Can’t stand the thought of chewing your way through another pile of produce for lunch? Try this super-filling, drinkable version instead, featuring several different veggies and therefore loads of nutrients. Spinach makes an appearance (duh), along with avocados to boost the smoothie’s satiety factor—just like in an ideal salad.
True to its name, this smoothie is an incognito salad, getting its bright green from the combination of spinach, celery, cucumber, and bell peppers. And it packs in more than 1,300 milligrams of potassium—a quarter of your daily value—to help regulate blood pressure.
With tomatoes joining spinach in this smoothie, it almost tastes like a homemade V8—with added rosemary for anticancer properties and basil for antiviral benefits. Plus the Greek yogurt gives the mixture a somewhat milder taste along with some protein to add satisfying staying power to your liquid meal.
It may be free of sugar, but there are a lot of sweet takeaways from this no-fruit, spinachy smoothie. Hydrating cucumber and coconut water pair with parsley, which may protect your brain from free-radical damage. How’s that for a smart snack?
More often used in dessert, mint gets its well-deserved moment in the savory spotlight in this veggie-filled smoothie. The cooling herb may help ease an irritable stomach. We consider this more of a juice than a smoothie, but it still tastes great.
This cucumber and mint combo gets bumped even higher up the nutritional ladder with the addition of buttermilk and flaxseeds for those essential fatty acids. But don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on buttermilk—you can use yogurt, a green chili, ginger, and salt (all easy to find!) instead.
Packed with tomato, carrots, romaine, and avocado, this recipe teeters between smoothie and soup, with garlic, Greek yogurt, and herbs giving it the distinct flavor of the popular salad dressing. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, though—not only does it get tastier with every sip, it’s a protein-, fiber-, and healthy fat-filled option for a balanced lunch you can grab on the busiest of days.
Chocolate-flavored almond milk nudges this smoothie into (vegan!) dessert territory, but thanks to the spinach, chia seeds, and almond butter, it still comes with a considerable dose of fiber, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats. Sprinkled with coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips, it works as both a decadent breakfast and a wholesome after-dinner treat.
With oats, almond butter, raisins, and cinnamon, this is practically an oatmeal cookie in liquid form—except that dates and bananas substitute refined sugar, almond butter is a healthy and vegan butter stand-in, and spinach lends vitamin K for blood and bone health. You’d be hard pressed to find a store-bought baked treat that comes with all that!
Ultra-thick, tastes like melted ice cream… and is healthy? Pinch yourself, it’s true! Avocado, spinach, mint, and banana join forces to create this real-food take on a fast-food joint’s signature shake, while a dark chocolate sauce provides a nice drizzle of antioxidants over the top.1Vegan? Use non-dairy milk, and you’re set.
- Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Katz DL, Doughty K, Ali A. Antioxidants & redox signaling, 2011, Jun.;15(10):1557-7716.
Calling all chocoholics! There’s a cup of spinach and a banana in here, but the two full scoops of cocoa powder make this a full-on treat, without the need for any added sugars. A healthy way to fuel that addiction to the sweet stuff? We’ll take it, no questions asked!
Frozen cherries aren’t just a convenient solution for when the stone fruit isn’t in season, they also provide just as many (if not more!) nutrients as their fresh counterparts. Turn them and a few other wholesome ingredients into the beverage version of an iconic cake, with some spinach thrown in for a little bit of iron.
Why bother with rolling out a crust, turning on an oven, and attempting a meringue when you can get all the key lime flavors in a healthier, easier way? This vegan, smoothie-fied rendition keeps all the immunity-boosting benefits from the citrus but also throws in a tropical twist with coconut water and avocado, all while smuggling in that spinach.1
- Immunomodulatory effect of concentrated lime juice extract on activated human mononuclear cells. Gharagozloo M, Ghaderi A. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 2001, Sep.;77(1):0378-8741.
Whether it’s the antioxidant-rich cinnamon and nutmeg or the fresh carrots and pineapple, a bunch of the ingredients in this cake-inspired blend stay true to the original. But a few added elements make it even healthier. Cloyingly sweet cream cheese frosting is swapped out for non-dairy almond milk and chia seeds, while spinach manages to sneak in undetected to upgrade the smoothie to superfood standards.
Why reserve chocolate-covered strawberries for special occasions? When you transform the simple dessert into a non-dairy smoothie bursting with vitamins, it makes for a breakfast worth treating yourself to every morning of the week.