We love getting some leafy green goodness into our daily smoothies. But, there are also other veggies out there that add amazing nutritional benefits to smoothies. We've had requests for adding more veggie smoothie recipes. So we're here to help with some tips on how to make vegetable smoothies that taste great and provide maximum health benefits to keep you feeling in tip-top shape.
We often add carrots, beets, pumpkin, sweet potato, and cucumber to our smoothies, but did you know you can add almost any veggie? It’s true! And we know there are a few of us out there that would rather drink veggies than sit down to a plate of them. Or maybe you just want to add as many veggies into your day as you can, and smoothies are a great way to go.
It can be tempting to just start tossing a bunch of veggies into the blender and hope for the best. (We totally used to do that before we came up with our tried-and-true green smoothie rawkstar formula.) We’ve saved you the trouble with a list of the best veggie and fruit combos for smoothies and how to add them in for the tastiest blends.
ALL ABOUT THE VEGGIES – WHAT TO ADD, WHEN
Just about any edible leafy green can be used in smoothies.
- Bok choy
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Leafy veggie tops – beet and turnip greens, carrot and radish tops, celery greens, etc.
The only issue you can run into is spiciness and bitterness from some greens, for example: mustard greens, radish tops, mizuna, watercress, and bok choy.
Pro tip: pair a smaller amount, maybe ½ cup, with milder greens so the taste isn’t overwhelming. Once you’re used to the flavor, or if you’re a flavor daredevil, up the amount to your preference.
We love, love, love our root veggies! They are a great addition to smoothies. Most are naturally sweet and add great dietary fiber and other rawesome nutrients.
Other root veggies you may not have thought to add in are:
- sweet potatoes
Pro tip: Because some root veggies can be very hard and fibrous, it’s a good idea to steam them first, or finely chop so there’s no danger of harming your blender blade.
Root veggies go splendidly with citrus, pineapple, berries, and stone fruit. Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup of root veggies for one of the fruits in a recipe. Click here for some of our favorite smoothies made with carrots (and tops!)
- squash (winter and summer)
- bell peppers and chiles
If we want to get technical, squash and cucumbers are really fruits. But we eat them like veggies, so we’re categorizing them as such. We quite often use pumpkin puree to add a delicious, creamy, vitamin A-rich element to fall smoothies. But butternut and other winter squashes work great too. If you’ve roasted up a big pan of squash, be sure to save some to add into smoothies.
Cucumbers have a high water content, and they are one of our favorite veggies to add to green smoothies. They go well with just about any fruit, but particularly pineapple, mango, strawberry, and blueberry. Cucumber can count as part of the fruit ratio, or as a veggie/leafy green. We suggest lowering the amount of water a bit so the smoothie doesn’t get too watered down.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, pair with veggie smoothies, or team them up with strawberries (trust us – it actually tastes really good!)
Sweet, juicy peas are so delicious on their own, and if you’re a fan, you should consider adding them into a smoothie. They add a nice, mild flavor. They pair well with berries (blueberry and strawberry).
Feeling adventurous?! Peppers are super high in vitamin C and other nutrients. Blend up some bell peppers or chiles, like jalapeños in your smoothie for a spicy kick. It’s a shame to leave them for your fajitas and salsa. A little bit of red pepper adds a fresh flavor and goes well with strawberries, grapefruit, orange, cucumber, fennel, and sweet potato.
Pro tip: Some of these veggies have a higher water content, such as cucumbers and tomatoes. When adding to smoothies, decrease the liquid 1/2 to 1 cup, or eliminate completely if using one whole cucumber. Blend with greens first and use tamper for easier blending.
Stalks, Stems, and Bulbs:
Celery adds a refreshing flavor to smoothies. It is naturally high in sodium, making it a great addition for all veggie smoothies. It’s great paired with apples, cucumbers, fennel, citrus, and pears.
You’ll sometimes see fennel labeled as “anise.” The stalks are edible, but we typically eat the white bulb at the bottom. (p.s. We have a GREAT fennel smoothie recipe in our book that is so good you can’t believe it!) Fennel goes well with tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, apples, pears, citrus, and berries, particularly strawberries.
Broccoli and Cauliflower could go with leafy greens, but they also fit nicely with stalks and stems. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and anything of the other cabbage veggies give off a sulfury smell, but they actually taste better than they smell! That’s the case with raw broccoli and cauliflower in smoothies. We get it – it sounds pretty scary – but don’t be scared off yet!
Pro tip: add ½ to 1 cup of frozen broccoli or cauliflower to smoothies. The taste and smell is greatly diminished when frozen is used vs. fresh. 🙂 *fist bump*
Rhubarb is plentiful in the spring and summer, and if you're lucky, you can find it in the fall as well. The leaves are toxic, but the bright red stalks can be eaten raw or fresh. The tartness is greatly diminished by combining with a sweetener, such as maple syrup or dates. I love rhubarb in smoothies that contain berries and/or carrots to help tame the sour flavor. Rhubarb is a good source of vitamins K and C, calcium, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Pro tip: rhubarb freezes very well. Slice and freeze during a plentiful harvest to enjoy in smoothies all year long. It can also sometimes be found in the freezer section near the frozen fruit.
Herbs (They're Not Veggies, But Add Some Anyway!):
If you want to kick your smoothie up to even another level, adding fresh herbs is the way to go. Herbs taste great with fruits and/or veggies, but are particularly nice with veggie smoothies when you want to add that little something extra. You only need to add ¼ to ½ cup for flavor and nutrition benefits.
These are our favorite herbs to add and why:
- Cilantro – great for helping heavy metal detoxification, goes well with tomatoes, peppers, pineapple, mango, avocado; can use leaves and tender stalks
- Basil – refreshing taste that pairs well with almost every fruit and veggie we can think of! Particularly good with berries, melon, citrus, and tomatoes. Use leaves.
- Rosemary – adds a nice savory flavor that goes well with sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips, apples, and pears. (note – only add the needle-like leaves, not the wooden stem!)
- Parsley – adds loads of vitamins C and K, great fresh flavor, can use leaves and tender stalks
- Mint – there’s nothing better than fresh mint in a smoothie – seriously! It adds a refreshing flavor that goes well with just about everything too. We love it with tropical fruits, citrus, berries, melon, veggies, and cucumber especially.
- Chives – add an onion-y flavor that isn’t overwhelming, goes well with all veggie smoothies, particularly tomato
Pro tip: Start with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh herbs and add more to taste. Leafy herbs like parsley, basil, and mint can be substituted for up to half the leafy greens called for in a recipe, but the flavor will be very strong. Start with less and work up to your preferred amount.