Adding healthy greens to smoothies is an easy way to add vitamins and minerals. These vibrant and nutrient-packed leaves can help you to blend even more nutritious smoothies (yet hardly add any calories).
In this article – we outline 15 different healthy greens for smoothies and their benefits (plus a few you need to avoid).
We’ve tried adding all sorts of vegetables to our smoothies over the years. After much trial and error, we’ve figured out which ones blend well and which aren’t so great. We’ve also researched which ones pack the most punch in terms of nutrients, to ensure we get the best possible health benefits.
Benefits of Adding Leafy Greens to Smoothies
Leafy greens provide a number of health benefits, making them an excellent addition to your smoothies. Here are some advantages…
- Vitamins & Minerals – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, along with essential minerals like iron and calcium. They also provide antioxidants that support overall well-being.
- Fiber – These greens are rich in dietary fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. Including them in your smoothies can contribute to a balanced diet and support healthy digestion.
- Low Calorie – Leafy greens have a high water content and very few calories, which makes them ideal ingredients in weight loss smoothies.
So, what’s not to love? Well, since you asked…
Disadvantages in Smoothies
Despite their numerous benefits, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to be aware of. Both are a matter of personal preference rather than definitive reasons not to add leafy greens to your smoothies…
- Strong Flavour – Some leafy greens, such as kale or mustard greens, have a ‘robust’ or slightly bitter taste. If you’re new to incorporating greens into your smoothies, start with milder options like spinach or romaine lettuce.
- Texture – Certain greens can be fibrous, resulting in a thicker consistency in your smoothies. Blending them well or using smaller, tender leaves can help minimize this. Alternatively, you can strain the smoothie or use a high-powered blender for a smoother texture.
Top Healthy Greens for Smoothies
Here’s a list of healthy leafy greens that work really well in smoothies…
- Swiss Chard
- Romaine Lettuce
- Arugula (Rocket)
- Collard Greens
- Beet Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Bok Choy
- Dandelion Greens
- Celery Leaves
Let’s look at each of them in more detail…
Spinach is a mild leafy green that blends well with various flavours. It’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, along with iron and folate, making it a nutritional powerhouse.
Kale is a nutrient-dense green with a slightly stronger taste. It provides ample vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants. Kale adds a boost of colour and nutrients to your smoothies.
Swiss chard features vibrant, colorful stems and leaves, offering a rich array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as magnesium and potassium.
Romaine lettuce is a refreshing leafy green with a crisp texture. It’s a good source of vitamins A and K, providing a hydrating base for your smoothies.
Arugula, also known as rocket, adds a peppery kick to your smoothies. It’s a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium. Arugula’s unique flavor can provide a delightful twist to your blends.
Watercress offers a slightly bitter and peppery taste. It’s incredibly nutrient-dense, packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron. Adding watercress to your smoothies provides a refreshing boost.
Collard greens have a hearty texture and slightly bitter taste. They are high in fiber and contain vitamins A, C, and K. Collard greens are a great addition for those seeking an especially nutritious green element in their smoothies.
Often overlooked, beet greens are the leafy tops of beetroot. They offer vitamins A and K, along with antioxidants. Utilizing beet greens in smoothies allows you to reduce food waste while enjoying their nutritional benefits.
Mustard greens have bold, spicy flavors and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain antioxidants and can add a zesty kick to your smoothie creations.
Bok choy features tender leaves and crunchy stalks. It’s a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and potassium. Bok choy adds a refreshing and mild taste to your smoothies.
Microgreens are young, tender greens that are harvested when the first true leaves appear. They come in a variety of flavors, such as arugula, radish, and broccoli. While microgreens can be added to smoothies for an extra nutritional boost, keep in mind that their flavors can be intense and may overpower the other ingredients. Start with a small amount and adjust according to taste.
Cabbage, particularly green or purple cabbage, can be used in smoothies. It has a mild flavor and offers vitamins C and K, fibre, and antioxidants. However, cabbage can be quite fibrous and may result in a slightly thicker texture in smoothies. For smoother consistency, consider blending it well or using smaller pieces.
Dandelion greens have a slightly bitter taste but are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They can be added in moderation to provide additional nutrients.
The leaves of celery are often discarded, but they can be used in smoothies. They offer a milder flavor compared to the stalks and contain vitamins and minerals.
While not a traditional leafy green, basil leaves can add a fresh and aromatic element to smoothies. They pair well with fruits like strawberries or peaches.
Each leafy green brings its own unique combination of nutrients, flavours, and textures, allowing you to experiment and find your favorite combinations in smoothies.
Leafy Greens to Avoid in Smoothies
While most leafy greens are safe and beneficial for smoothies, there are a couple that should be avoided…
- Rhubarb Leaves – Rhubarb leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be toxic when consumed in large amounts. It’s best to avoid using rhubarb leaves in smoothies.
- Poisonous or Toxic Greens – Some greens like nightshade family plants (e.g., tomato leaves) and certain wild greens can be toxic. Stick to known and safe leafy greens for your smoothies.
Tips for Enjoying Leafy Greens in Smoothies
So, have we convinced you to try out a few new greens in your smoothie recipes? If so, here are a few tips to ensure you get the best out of them…
- Flavour Balance – Pair stronger-tasting greens with sweeter fruits to balance the flavors.
- Quantity – Start with a small amount of greens and adjust to your taste preferences.
- Creamy Ingredients – Add avocado, dairy-free yogurt, or nut butter for creaminess and taste.
- Citrus or Acidic Additions – Squeeze in lemon or lime juice to brighten the flavors.
- Natural Sweeteners – Use dates, honey, or maple syrup to sweeten your smoothies naturally.
- Mix and Match – Combine different leafy greens for a diverse nutrient profile and flavor.
- Boost with Superfoods – Use healthy add-ins like chia seeds, flaxseeds, spirulina, or matcha powder for extra nutrients.
Adding leafy greens to your smoothies is an easy way to boost their nutrition and make them even healthier. They provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while supporting digestion too.
Experiment, have fun, and create your perfect green smoothie by incorporating them! Whether you choose spinach, kale, or more adventurous options like arugula or watercress, your taste buds and body will thank you. So, go ahead, blend up a green smoothie, and enjoy the tasty benefits!
Green Smoothie Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 3 ingredient kiwi apple green smoothie
- Pineapple & spinach green smoothie
- Pear, cucumber & spinach smoothie
- Tangerine & kale smoothie
- Mango blueberry green smoothie
- ABC green smoothie
Microgreens can be a nutritious and tasty ingredient in smoothies. They do have quite a strong flavour so add a few to begin with and see how you like the taste before going all in.
Yes, green or purple cabbage can both be added to smoothies. They are quite fibrous so will likely make your smoothie a bit thicker than other leafy greens.