I was skeptical. I purchase fresh spinach in a 5-ounce box, and the thought of putting all of it into a single smoothie recipe seemed…well…excessive.
But in the name of helping a friend, I gamely tried this recipe. Ally Phillips, cookbook author, blogger, and longtime friend in food, was looking for a little assistance as she geared up for several food demos at the 2015 Tournament of Roses. I had already tested a pineapple serrano hummus recipe for Ally (delicious, by the way), but something about the heavy-handed use of spinach in this colorful recipe piqued my interest.
Smoothie connoisseurs often mix a handful or two of spinach into their blender concoctions; the health benefits are many and other ingredients mask the flavor. I was tempted to go light on the spinach when I first made this recipe, but I stuck to the directions and was pleasantly surprised. Though the vibrant green color is a sure indicator of leafy greens, the variety of fruit creates a tropical flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The first time I made this recipe, I had been feeling under the weather for several days, and somehow, I felt much better after drinking this nutrient-rich drink. Whether it was the abundance of spinach, some needed hydration, or merely a placebo affect created by a glassful of good-for-me ingredients, I wasn’t going to argue with improvement! After a holiday season filled with too many cookies, this smoothie felt rather virtuous, and I’ve made it several times since.
It is commonly recommended that we consume two and a half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day. So often we hear that leafy greens should make up a sizable portion of the veggie allotment. I truly like produce of all forms, but I have to be honest. It’s hard to eat the recommended amount on a daily basis. A smoothie like this is an excellent way to hit that goal with greater regularity.
Yields 24 ounces (or two 12-ounce servings)
- 5 ounces (4 cups) fresh baby spinach (see notes)
- 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk (I use Silk's almond/coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) pineapple juice, chilled
- 1 cup (5 ounces) frozen mango chunks
- 1 large banana (preferably frozen)
- Combine the spinach, milk, and pineapple juice in a blender. Cover; blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the mango chunks and banana. Cover and blend until smooth.
- If using cups to measure the spinach, pack the leaves fairly firmly to equal 5 ounces.
- Most recently, I added a tablespoon of almond butter, a thin slice of fresh ginger, a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. (While no longer five ingredients, I thought the smoothie was extra delicious!)
- I often eat half right away and store the other half in a covered glass or Mason jar in the fridge for the next day. The smoothie keeps quite well.
- Peel and freeze bananas when they become too ripe to eat. Frozen bananas will add natural sweetness and a creamy texture to smoothies and can be quickly thawed and mashed for use in a variety of baked goods.
- For those who don’t often drink juice, Dole sells a six-pack of six-ounce pineapple juice cans that are perfect to pull out when a small amount of juice is needed.
And did you know? Spinach contains just seven calories and a single gram of carbohydrates per cup and is an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C, folate, potassium, manganese, niacin, and fiber.