Green smoothies have recently become the hottest trend, with smoothie shops advertising the benefits of mixing spinach and kale into every blended drink. From vegan yogis and granola-eating hipsters to binge-eating college students and middle-aged businessmen, green smoothies are sweeping the nation, covering almost every demographic. They seem pretty self-explanatory—just add some green vegetable to the contents of your blender, right?—and can, of course, be made in many different ways.
As a self-proclaimed green smoothie enthusiast, I was more excited to be reunited with my blender this summer than I probably should admit, and I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that make for better green blends than others. Here’s a comprehensive list of Spoon writers’ tips on green smoothies and how to make yours taste the least—green?—as possible.
1. Check your proportions.
Making a good green smoothie is about more than just throwing some kale in a blender and calling it a day. In order to make a smoothie that actually tastes good, while retaining a bright green color, proportions are important. Try to stick to this split: 40% greens, 60% everything else. Yes, the greens are an important ingredient and add significant nutritional value, but if they overpower the rest of the mix, your smoothie might taste like a salad rather than a treat. Make sure to blend your greens by themselves first, too, in order to avoid unwanted pieces of kale or spinach that might clog your straw or skew the flavor profile of your drink.
2. Don’t go overboard on fruit.
To make a “Green Goddess Smoothie,” don’t include too many fruity flavors. Two or three fruits is enough and they can be anything from bananas to mangos to pineapples to go along with your greens, usually kale or spinach. If you storm the fridge and throw in every fruit and veggie you have, you’ll definitely get in your servings for the day, but your smoothie’s taste might be a little strange.
3. Get creative.
While fruits should be kept in check because of their strong flavors and high sugar content, don’t be afraid to throw in some other ingredients that have less sweet flavors, such as celery or lemon. To switch it up, you might even add almond butter, chia seeds or cacao powder to the mix—when it comes to green smoothies, we never said it has to be all veggies.
4. Make your smoothie fit your lifestyle.
Smoothies usually incorporate dairy ingredients, but they certainly don’t have to. By including less common ingredients, like avocado and honey, this vegan green smoothie will have just as thick a texture as a smoothie made with yogurt, perfect for vegans and non-vegans to enjoy.
5. Go unusually green.
While incorporating too many fruits might create an overpowering taste, incorporating several greens, including green grapes, kale, cucumber and avocado, can amp up the flavor. These ingredients fit well together without being overpowering and, as an added bonus, will turn your smoothie the brightest, happiest shade of green.
Finished making your green smoothie and have leftover kale or spinach? Check out these green recipes: