A healthy kale smoothie recipe that incorporates a medley of fresh vegetables and fruit. Each sip packs in a fiber and a nutrient-rich combination of leafy greens, apples, mangoes, and bananas.
Kale is a superfood packed with antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamin C. Making a smoothie with this ingredient is an easy way to add nutritious health benefits into your day. No matter if you’re on the go and need a quick drinkable breakfast or at your leisure, this kale smoothie is quick and refreshing.
The key to an enjoyable flavor is all about masking the bitter qualities naturally present in kale with other wholesome ingredients that better balances the taste.
I use tender baby kale and pair it with diced apples, frozen mangoes, and bananas. Unsweetened almond milk creates a nice creamy texture, and a splash of pineapple juice adds a hint of tropical flavor.
Choosing the right kind of kale
Any type of kale can be used to make this smoothie, however, baby kale is more tender and has a less bitter flavor compared to the more mature varieties. The soft and thin leaves are also easier to break down in the blender. If you do use heartier curly or Tuscan kale, make sure to remove the stems as their taste is strong and astringent.
Use raw kale
Kale does not need to be cooked before blending, simply break it apart with your hands and add it in raw. This also helps to preserve the more delicate vitamins like vitamin C stored in the leaves. Always wash and rinse any greens before blending.
Balancing the bitter flavor
The lingering bitter taste of kale can be a huge turn-off. However, adding in sweet, sour, or creamy ingredients can mask the flavor. In this recipe, I use a combination of green apple, fuji apple, pineapple juice, and frozen ingredients such as banana and mango.
Fat also helps to mask bitterness, therefore almond milk or any creamy liquid makes this smoothie more pleasant. In fact, you can barely taste the kale.
How to make a kale smoothie
To ensure that the leafy greens are broken down efficiently into tiny particles, add them in first. This ensures direct contact with the sharp blades, chopping them down right away. The frozen items like mangoes, banana, and ice are added last to keep the beverage chilly.
Using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, ensures a super smooth texture, especially with tough greens, large pieces of fruit, and the hard ice cubes.
Ways to customize this recipe
- Swap the pineapple juice for orange juice or apple juice.
- Use coconut milk or oat milk instead of almond for a creamy non-dairy liquid.
- Use frozen pineapples instead of mangoes.
- Dice pears instead of apples, or use other varieties of apples.
- Add protein powder, chia seeds or flaxseeds for an extra nutritional boost.
Frozen ingredients improve the texture
Use as many frozen ingredients as possible, especially the fruits. The frozen particles and starches in the banana give a smoother and creamier mouthfeel when blended. The frozen cell walls of the fruit stay colder for longer and hold the consistency of the smoothie better than ice cubes alone, which melt quickly and dilutes the flavor.
- 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup (60 ml) pineapple juice
- 2 cups (30 g) baby kale, washed and dried
- ½ cup (72 g) diced fuji apple, 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup (72 g) diced green apple, 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups (260 g) frozen mango chunks
- ½ cup (85 g) frozen banana slices, about 1 medium banana
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Add almond milk, pineapple juice, kale, apples, frozen mango, frozen banana, and ice cubes to a blender.
- Cover and process on medium speed for about 30 seconds, using the tamper as needed. Increase to high speed for 15 to 30 seconds until thick and smooth.
- Adjust the smoothie with more almond milk or pineapple juice if needed to reach the desired consistency.
- 1 serving: 1 cup
- Chop larger kale leaves into smaller pieces before blending.