PSA: Smoothies Don’t Have to Be Sweet
I’m willing spend a decent amount of money on a good smoothie. Even just a few years ago, a smoothie was no more than yogurt, berries, and a handful of ice. Though that kind of smoothie was mostly refreshing going down, it wasn’t a meal. With the help of powders, seeds, and plant-based milks, these days a smoothie can be a great source of protein, fiber, and fat. The one bummer with the current arsenal of smoothie options is that most are cloyingly sweet—when something is 80 percent fruit, what can you expect?
As a major proponent of savory breakfast, yet a lover of a good smoothie, I’ve been stuck. Until I started playing with savory smoothies. You may ask: Is blended vegetables and liquid just cold soup? Great question. Maybe, yes. But who cares—savory smoothies are welcome in my belly regardless of what you want to call them.
The trick to an enjoyable savory smoothie is to not just blend a kale salad. Sure, if made well, kale salads are great. But if you want to eat a kale salad, you should just do that. As the most exciting part of such a salad are the textures, it’s highly unlikely that a drinkable salad will taste good. Savory smoothies should be layered with flavors potent enough that your mouth is kept busy, and therefore won’t mind that there’s no exciting snap or crunch to accompany the vegetables’ flavors. Plus, the bitterness of kale works much better in a smoothie alongside super-sweet fruits like banana and berries as opposed to a heap of mild vegetables.
While you could get busy with spinach, beets, or carrots (honestly, those vegetables taste better in sweet smoothies), I’ve had lots of luck with this pale green savory smoothie. Here's how to make it:
Scoop ½ a ripe avocado into a blender with ¼ cup chopped tomatillo and ½ cup chopped seedless cucumber.
Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, ¼ cup coconut (or plain) water, and add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Blend the smoothie until it’s well-pureed, then toss in 2 or 3 handfuls of ice, and blend again, adding a bit more water if you blender is struggling. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.