Think beyond spinach - collard greens can work in a smoothie, too. This collard greens smoothie features just the right mix of nourishing ingredients to result in a truly balanced flavor, including orange juice, yogurt, and more.
Raw spinach is likely the most often used leafy green in green smoothies for its mild flavor, but did you know you can use collard greens in a smoothie, too?
Sometimes left with excess after cooking Instant Pot collard greens, I started experimenting to see if I could make a collard greens smoothie that was...actually palatable. I didn't exactly have high hopes that their stronger, bitter-leaning flavor could mellow out in a smoothie.
My first couple of batches proved that right, but upon further tinkering I landed on this iteration that is really good. From being a big skeptic, I can honestly say that I crave it when I have collard greens in the house - wow!
What Makes This Smoothie Special?
- Collard greens have a strong flavor that doesn't want to blend in quietly when served raw. Being intentional about the other smoothie ingredients is crucial in taming the flavor beyond just "fine" to crave-worthy.
- Nutrition is one of the benefits of using collard greens in smoothies. They're a good source of vitamins C and K, calcium, and other nutrients.
- Collard greens are fine to eat raw, but can be tough and overly chewy. Blending them in a smoothie is a great way around that issue and retains their nutritional benefits.
- Never waste leftover collard greens again! Making a collard greens smoothie is a quick and easy way to use them up.
- Collard Greens: Use a standard bunch or bagged shredded collard greens. Make sure to rinse well and remove the very tough center stem from the leaves.
- Orange Juice: Freshly-squeezed has the most vibrant flavor, but for convenience your preferred store-bought kind is fine.
- Greek Yogurt: I highly recommend a vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt, which adds a nice flavor and touch of sweetness.
- Banana: It's best to use a frozen banana as you won't need to add ice.
- Almond Butter: Almond butter provides a nice background flavor to a smoothie and extra nutrition; almond butter is a good source of vitamin E and unsaturated fat. A different nut butter can work, though I'm not a fan of peanut butter here as the flavor is too strong.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon really levels up a smoothie and makes the flavor more complex and fancy-tasting, if you will.
- Gather all ingredients - Pour orange juice into a blender, then add the collard greens, yogurt, almond butter, cinnamon, and banana.
- Blend - Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Tips and Tricks
- Time-saving tip: Save time by buying bagged shredded collard greens. I still wash them, but not having to chop them is big for convenience. Remove any errant pieces of thick stem that are in there.
- Blend efficiently: Start by adding the liquid, then the greens, then everything else. End with the heaviest ingredient (banana in this case) on top. Liquid is necessary to get a vortex going, while the heavier ingredients help press down on the greens to blend them up.
- Follow the recipe closely: This sounds silly, but adding stronger flavored leafy greens to a smoothie takes away wiggle room if you want to temper their presence and make a reliably delicious smoothie. Smoothies aren't the kind of recipe that always require measuring (I'm no stranger to throwing a little of this and that in the blender), but I break out the measuring cups to be precise any time I make this.
Smoothie Variations and Testing
- Almond Milk - I tested this smoothie with vanilla almond milk but found the mild flavor not impactful enough when using collard greens. Orange juice's punchier citrus note has a key role here.
- Different Fruit - I've used a variety of frozen berries (strawberries and blueberries) in place of the banana, but they didn't taste as good and also muddied the bright green color. If you'd rather not use banana in this smoothie, I'd go with frozen pineapple or mango chunks for their more pronounced sweetness.
- Extra Protein - Your favorite unflavored or vanilla protein powder would be a nice addition.
- Other Greens - I've made this smoothie with baby kale and while it was tasty, I really preferred the collard greens. Their stronger flavor just blends in so well with everything else to strike a nice balance.
More Smoothie Recipes
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Collard Greens Smoothie
- 2 cups raw collard greens packed
- ¾ cup orange juice freshly-squeezed recommended
- ¾ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons almond butter
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 frozen banana or fresh
- Thoroughly rinse collard greens under cool water. Slice away the thick center stem running through each leaf, then discard it or reserve for another purpose. Slice the remaining leaves into medium-large pieces.
- Add orange juice to a blender, then add the collard greens, yogurt, almond butter, cinnamon, and banana.
- Start blending on low speed, increasing to medium speed until smooth and fully blended. Stop to carefully scrape down the sides as needed. Add additional juice if you'd like a thinner consistency.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer