A healthy kale smoothie recipe that incorporates a medley of fresh vegetables and fruit. Each sip packs fiber and a nutrient-rich combination of leafy greens, apples, mangoes, and bananas.
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Kale is a superfood packed with antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamin C. Making a green smoothie an easy way to add nutritious health benefits to your day. Whether you’re on the go and need a quick drinkable breakfast or at your leisure, this kale smoothie recipe is fast and refreshing.
The key to an enjoyable flavor is masking the bitter qualities naturally present in kale with other wholesome ingredients that better balance the taste. I use tender baby kale 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 kale apple smoothie. However, baby kale is more tender and has a less bitter flavor than the more mature varieties. The soft and thin leaves are also easier to break down in the blender. If you use heartier curly or Tuscan kale, remove the stems as their taste is strong and astringent.
Use raw kale
Kale does not need to be cooked before blending. 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 sweet, sour, or creamy ingredients can mask the flavor. I use a combination of green apple, fuji apple, pineapple juice, and frozen ingredients such as banana and mango in this recipe.
Fat also helps to mask the bitterness. Therefore almond milk or any plant-based liquid like coconut milk, makes the taste more pleasant. You can even add nut butter like almond or peanut butter for masking while upping the protein level. You’ll be surprised that you can barely taste kale’s flavor.
How to make a kale smoothie
When making a smoothie, be sure that the leafy greens are broken down efficiently into tiny particles, add them in first. This provides direct contact with the sharp blades, chopping them down immediately. Frozen fruit like mangoes, bananas, and ice are added last to keep the beverage chilly.
A high-powered blender like a Vitamix ensures a super smooth texture, especially with tough greens, large pieces of fruit, and hard ice cubes.
Ways to customize this recipe
- Swap the pineapple juice for orange juice or apple juice.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice for a more tart taste and extra vitamin C.
- Use coconut milk or oat milk instead of almond for a creamy plant-based liquid.
- Use frozen pineapples instead of mangoes.
- Dice pears instead of apples, or use other varieties of apples.
- Add protein powder, chia seeds, flaxseeds, or nut butter for an extra nutritional boost.
Frozen ingredients improve the texture
Use as many frozen ingredients as possible, especially 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 dilute the flavor.
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- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- 2 cups baby kale, washed and dried
- ½ cup diced fuji apple, 1" pieces
- ½ cup diced green apple, 1" pieces
- 2 cups frozen mango chunks
- ½ cup frozen banana slices, about 1 medium banana
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Prepare the Kale – If needed, chop the kale leaves into smaller pieces before blending.
- Layer the Ingredients – Add almond milk, pineapple juice, kale, apples, frozen mango, frozen banana, and ice cubes to a blender.
- Cover and Blend – 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 consistency with more almond milk or pineapple juice if needed.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Using Pineapple: Swap the frozen mangoes for frozen pineapples for a stronger pineapple flavor.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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