Green smoothies in Vitamix?
I just bought a used Vitamix 4500 for about 1/2 its retail cost, mostly because I want to start making meal-replacement smoothies. Now here's where I get weird... ;) I can count on both hands the fruits and veggies I actually like. My issue with most vegetables is the taste; with fruits, it's primarily a texture or seed thing. I do like the actual flavor of most berries. For greens, I like kale the only way I've ever prepared it (in chips), and I like spinach; however, I don't want my smoothies to actually taste like either. Will whatever berries, yogurt, etc I put in there overpower the greens? And will the Vitamix completely pulverize berry seeds? I know...I have major food issues - not for lack of being willing to try anything though. Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions, beginner recipes, etc anyone can provide. :)
I'll answer with the strategies for making smoothies (which I do) for my 5 year old :)
1. Baby spinach is really mild, I honestly don't taste it.
2. Dark berries (blueberries, raspberries) mask the taste and color of greens pretty well.
3. I also use a greens powder called Complete Greens that is added insurance in my smoothies, and you can't taste it at all.
4. The good thing about a Vitamix is that you will totally get a smooth texture by running it on high. They're awesome!
5. Banana and yogurt adds creaminess, as does protein powder. Avocado too!
6. Put the fresh fruit in the bottom of the mixer and add the frozen fruit on top.
7. Good luck and just play around with it :)
We do the "Glowing Green Smoothie" from Kimberly Snyder. Gets the day going perfectly and adds lots of nutritional goodies. It's mild for a green smoothie. I don't care for any other fruits in it even though I will sub lime for lemon and adjust the sweetness with frozen grapes.
VM will pulverize anything as long as you let it blend. I've spoken to VM support and they recommend the greens + water mix first, then adding other ingredients with frozen/ice last.
Kale can have more of a strong flavor than spinach. You can look for baby kale, which is more mild.
In addition to the berries and citrus mentioned already, another good thing to add is ginger. Ginger has a sharp but good flavor that can help make some of the more bitter greens more palatable.
The advice offered so far corresponds with my experience, but I will say this about Kale. We usually buy green or Lacinato kale, and the leafy portions will disappear in the smoothie, but if you leave the core fibrous stems attached, that will come through in terms of taste and texture. The will be pulverized, but they will give the smoothy a kale taste and a texture that makes you feel like you could chew it. I rather like that, but you may not. So, if you try Kale in your smoothy, try it with and without the central stems.
Be sure and check out Green Smoothie Girl on you tube and her website. She is very good at making smoothies, explaining their health benefits and ideas on how not to taste the leafy greens.
A tip about blending. Don't blend too long with the Vitamix or you will heat up your smoothie. If you really want to blend it a lot, drop some frozen fruit in there while you are blending. This will keep it cool.
Bananas, peaches, mangos, and avacodos, make smoothies really smooth and creamy. If how the smoothie looks is important, their colors mix well with the greens. Gives it a sorta lime green color. If you through berries in their, it will darken the color and reds, make the smoothie brown.
I use a lot of berries in my smoothies. They are high in antioxidents and low glycemic. However, peaches and mangos are my favorite, because they are so sweet and creamy. Green Smoothie girl has a couple of You Tube videos where she is shopping in the grocery, explaining about the different greens and how it affects the taste and nutrition of the smoothies.
Have fun. I have been consuming green smoothies for about 3 years now. Usually a pint or two a day.
Good luck. Big thing to keep in mind though is that green smoothies focus on the greens and aren't usually as sweet as most expect from a smoothie. That said, it's impossible to get the nutrition green smoothies offer by eating the vegetables separately. Way too much chewing would be involved there.
I've come to think of it as a way to get most of my veggie-provided nutrients first thing in the morning in a way the body can immediately access them since the blender did much of the breakdown that teeth, lacto-bacteria, enzymes, and acids normally have to do.
If you put 4 or 5 banana's in a smoothie, you can get away with putting pretty much any veggie and it will taste ok. I'd suggest trying to use cheaper fruits since in general in smoothies the flavors do not come through as strong. Save the decent fruits for eating.
Now for some fun veggie things, of course greens can go in. But for fun try 1/4 a red cabbage, the color is amazing. Or some Beets (say 2 depending on size). A unexpected veggie I use in summer often is watermelon rind. We buy a big watermelon eat it, then skin it and use the rind for quite a few smoothies really gets your money out of that watermelon. It actually counts as a veggie because of its vitamin/mineral count. Can add some tofu for protean if your looking for that. Most of all just have fun and experiment.
We have been using it for a meal replacement for years and still enjoy it.