Healthy Vegetable Smoothie | Spinach Up the Beet
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We are finally heading into September. Doesn’t it feel like the year has flown by? With autumn slowly creeping upon us, I think it is high time to share one of my all-time favorite smoothie recipes ever. This is a healthy vegetable smoothie recipe that will absolutely surprise you! And it always reminds me of the fall.
This vegetable smoothie has a little bit of everything: beet, carrot, spinach, mango, cherry, lemon, apple, pecans, coconut oil, and even some spirulina for good measure. This is a combination of fruits and veggies that most people wouldn’t think could go so well together. If you are a little skeptical, you’ll just have to trust me and give it a try. You don’t want to miss out on this! Besides, when have I let you down yet?
Why does this remind me of September? Maybe it’s the color. It comes out this beautiful earthy red color that is just amazing. Maybe it’s the root veggies and leafy greens from a late summer harvest. Maybe it’s the pecans. In Texas, pecan season starts around this time. You can walk into any grocery store and find a huge bin of pecans on sale and the smell of pecan pies from the bakeries. It’s times like this I start to miss Austin.
The Inspiration for this Vegetable Smoothie
Which speaking of stories, it was in Austin, TX. that this recipe came into existence. I have to admit that I didn’t completely come up with this recipe on my own. This is a recipe that was inspired by a smoothie I was introduced to from a local juice bar.
It was one of the few vegetable smoothies they had there and I was looking for a way to incorporate more veggies into my diet. A smoothie with mango, cherry, apple juice, lemon, carrot, beet, and spinach didn’t sound all that appealing to me but I gave it a try all the same.
And wow! I was instantly in love with it! So I took it upon myself to try to make it at home. It took a bit of work and tweaking to figure it out and improve upon it. I found the flavor of their version to be a bit too heavy with the beets and just a little too sugary.
Gotta Love When Things Come Together
How do you correct for that when beet is such a strong flavor and apple juice is – well – apple juice? It was a Eureka in the bathtub accident that solved the flavor problem for me. One would think you just cut down on the beet, right? There isn’t much in it to begin with. But instead of lowering the amount of beet I put in it, it was the coconut oil.
How did I come up with coconut oil of all things? I wanted to make a well-rounded vegetable smoothie and what was missing from this drink was fat and protein. So I decided to add some coconut oil because coconut oil goes great in every smoothie. Well funny enough, coconut oil solved my problem! The oil somehow toned down the powerful earthy flavor of the drink and gave me a dose of healthy fats along with it.
And then I wanted to add some protein. My go-to for protein has always been some variety of nut as they are vegan and work well with any smoothie you can dream up. I tried almonds first and I was underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either.
Then it dawned on me, pecans. Pecans are such a great nut for earthy and sweet flavors as it has a slightly buttery unique taste all its own. I remember this salad that had pecans and beets on it at a burger bar I used to work. I loved that salad! More than the burgers to be honest. The beets and pecans worked so well together. With the salad in mind, I added pecans to that smoothie. And boy did it work! I was so stoked by my discovery that I told everyone who would give me 5 minutes all about it. I even barraged them to try it if they stuck around long enough. And anyone adventurous enough was as surprised as me.
Tips to Carrot-fully Spin-ach Up this Smoothie
As always, I’ve got some suggestions on how to make this the best tasting vegetable smoothie for you. So here are some important things to keep in mind when making this recipe.
- Like all my smoothie recipes, this one calls for using frozen fruits. As it is better for the environment and minimizes packaging waste, I’d highly recommend freezing your own fruits. It’s really easy to do and takes very little time. Just wash, de-seed (if needed), cut off any stems or skins, and store in the freezer a day or two before you need them.
- In my humble opinion, frozen fruit smoothies are much better than fresh fruit. However, they do require a high-performance blender to make. These appliances are more expensive than conventional machines but completely worth it. I have a Vitamix 5200 blender and I use it for all my recipes. I have been hearing really good things about the Blendtec Total Classic (affiliate link) blender as well and the price is comparable to the Vitamix. However, there are many good choices on the market right now so I suggest you do your research first before buying.
- Keep the size of the carrot and beet you use no bigger than 1 or 2 inches. Much more than that and you’ll get a grainy drink. If you want to add more, I highly recommend juicing them instead. Also, you can peel the beet and carrot but I don’t. Just give it a good scrub and wash, cut off the piece you need, and pop it in the blender. Ideally add it before the mango and cherries.
- Spinach or any greens need to go in your blender first. This is critical! When the spinach is closest to the blades they get broken down first and blend seamlessly into the fruit as the blender works its way up. If you wait and put your greens in at the top, your finished drink will either get runny from blending too long while you were breaking up the greens, or you’ll have large pieces of greens in the finished drink and it’ll make the texture grainy.
- Since coconut oil solidifies when cold, it is best to add it at the very end. I use melted coconut oil for my smoothies. Just wait until the drink is fully blended and you’ve got the vortex. While the machine is still running on high, add the oil and blend an additional 3-5 seconds. That will keep the coconut oil from making your drink grainy.
- I like to make my smoothies very thick. To do this you need to pour in just enough juice that it sits about 1-inch to 1 1/2 inches below the very top of the fruit. Be conservative about this. You can always add more. Start the blender up on a very low setting and see how it does. If your blender is laboring to turn, just add more juice slowly until the blades turn. Be careful that you don’t crank the setting up too high before doing this or you’ll likely burn out your engine.
- Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with how to make smoothies using frozen fruit, I’ve got a very in-depth post that might help.
Easy peasy! So with that said, here’s the recipe!
Want to try some other vegan milkshake (also called smoothies) inspirations?
- The Texan PB&J Milkshake
- Matcha Green Tea and Pistachio Smoothie
- Pumpkin Spice Smoothie(Without Pumpkin)
- Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to see your awesome creation! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to hashtag a photo on Instagram #sustainablesauceresses!
Or if you have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to leave me a comment below. I’d really love to hear from you!
Carrot-fully Spinach Up this Mango-nificent Beet
- Cutting Board
- 1 cup mango, cubed and frozen
- 1/4 cup cherries, pitted and frozen (approx. 3-5)
- 1 piece raw carrot (about 1½" long)
- 1 cube raw beet (about 1" by 1½" in size)
- 1 cup fresh spinach washed and loosely packed
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp. pecan pieces
- 1 tsp. coconut oil melted
- 1/2 tsp. spirulina optional
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- Place the spinach in the blender first.
- Add the carrot, beet, spirulina, lemon juice, and pecans.
- Last, add the mango and cherries.
- Add enough apple juice until it sit at the top of the spinach. You may not need to use the full amount of apple juice for this.
- Turn on blender at the lowest setting and let it run until everything is starting to blend together. Add more liquid if needed to reach desired thickness.
- Slowly turn the setting to high. Once it is mostly blended up use the highest variable setting (if availible).
- Once the smoothie is thoroughly blended (and you are getting the vortex at the top), add the coconut oil and blend for 2-5 seconds more. Turn off the blender.
- Immediately serve.
Did you give this recipe a try?