Green Monster Smoothies 101 + Basic Recipe

It’s sweet, it’s refreshing, and it’s…GREEN? Yup, it’s a Green Monster Smoothie!

If you’re a Green Monster (GM) expert or enthusiast, you may be wondering if you could learn from this post. I don’t think you’ll learn anything you don’t already know. But, I do think you could offer your GM expertise. You can share tips for those less familiar with the wonderfulness that is the GM.

This post is actually written more for my other friends and readers who are new to GMs. Many of my Zumba participants, “real life” friends, and blog/twitter friends aren’t as familiar with Green Monster Smoothies.

So, if you’re wondering what the heck a “Green Monster Smoothie” is, then read on. And if you’re a Green Monster guru, then leave some comment love. Please share some of your tips and favorite GM recipes.

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

{So beautiful and green}

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

What is a Green Monster Smoothie?

A Green Monster smoothie is a healthy smoothie. It is bright green in color, thanks to the star ingredient: spinach! Yes…I said “spinach.” Don’t cringe. Honestly, once it’s all blended up with other ingredients, you cannot taste it! Have you ever tried eating just a spinach leaf plain? I have. It didn’t taste like much of anything. So, especially when you blend the spinach up with fruit and milk, you won’t taste it. Mmmkay? ;)

Some people use kale instead, but I prefer spinach.

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Green Monster Smoothie Ingredients

There are endless combinations, but the most basic and common ingredients are:

  • Spinach/Kale – This is the KEY ingredient. You can use fresh or frozen (I’ve tested it – check out this post).  And, as I mentioned above, you can substitute the spinach with kale.
  • Bananas – usually 1 to 2 are used per smoothie. I go with 1 per serving, and I prefer frozen bananas because it makes the texture thicker. This is also a good way to save bananas before they spoil. Simply freeze and save for a smoothie later! Brown bananas aren’t just for banana bread!
  • Milk of choice – dairy milk, soy milk, vanilla rice milk. You can use your favorite milk, but  a sweetened milk will yield a sweeter smoothie. I prefer to use unsweetened and add a natural sweetener, like honey.
  • Ice – to help make the smoothie cold and frosty.

Other common GM ingredients:

  • Yogurt – makes the smoothie thicker and provides protein and add probiotics.
  • Honey/Agave – liquid sweeteners if you need more sweetness in the smoothie. I think the bananas are sweet enough. If you use a sweetened non-dairy milk, you probably won’t need either of these.
  • Chia Seeds – a health-food ingredient. If you let it sit in liquid for several minutes, it will plump up and become gelatinous (like a tiny tapioca pearl, for bubble tea fans).
  • Nut Butters – peanut butter, almond butter, etc. Add this for creaminess and healthy nut nutrition.
  • Other fruits – feel free to add your other favorite fruits. See the next section on ingredients to avoid when selecting (mostly for color).

Ingredients to use in small portions when making GMs:

*Edited: After reading some of the comments, I decided to edit this. Instead of avoiding them all together, I’ll warn against using too much of these ingredients. Thanks guys! :) *

  • Berries – blueberries, raspberries, etc. If you use too much, the berries will change the color of the smoothie. It won’t be green or as green. Sometimes berries turn the GM brown!
  • Other – Pretty much anything with a lot of color that will change the color of the smoothie away from green. Trust me, a brown smoothie is not as appealing visually, even if it still tastes amazing. Not to mention, I wouldn’t call a brown smoothie a “Green” Monster Smoothie. I’d call that just a smoothie with spinach in it. :lol: We should come up with a name for these, right?!)

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Once you’re ready to blend, there are a couple tips to keep in mind.

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Green Monster Smoothie Blending Tips

I like to layer my ingredients in the blender in the following order*:

  • Spinach/Kale – putting this at the bottom helps ensure the leaves are blended instead of flying around the blender and sticking to the sides. If I use frozen spinach/kale, I don’t always add that first since it doesn’t have the same texture as fresh
  • Dry ingredients – like flaxseed meal, matcha, etc. Add first for the same reason as spinach – so it doesn’t get stuck to the sides/lid
  • Nut Butters – so it’s less likely to fly up and stick to the sides
  • Liquid Sweetener – same as nut butters
  • Other small fruits – goji berries, etc.
  • Bananas – to weigh spinach down
  • Other large fruit – cantaloupe, etc.
  • Ice
  • Milk of choice

*All of these ingredients are not always used, but if I were using them, this is the order I’d follow.

And every blender is different, so settings will vary. I usually just blend away until all the fruit/ice is smooth and all the spinach leaves are blended so small. Instead of seeing individual pieces, I look for smooth greenness. This usually only takes 1 or 2 minutes for me.

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Why Drink Green Monster Smoothies?

First of all, they’re fun to look at and just plain delicious.

I spent a month with my Project Veg-Up challenge focusing on eating lots of fruits and veggies every day. I know that it can sometimes be a struggle to “eat your greens.” This is especially true on your busiest days. Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to consume fruit. And now thanks to the GM, they can be the easiest way to consume some vegetables, too!

So GM smoothies feature spinach, and here’s why spinach is good for you – a quote I’ve shared before from whfoods.com:

Spinach is an excellent source of bone-healthy vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and calcium; heart-healthy folate, potassium, and vitamin B6; energy-producing iron and vitamin B2; and free radical-scavenging vitamin A (through its concentration of beta-carotene) and vitamin C.

Side note: This is just general info. I know some people are supposed to avoid spinach (doctor’s orders), so obviously, you may want to avoid the GM if this is true for you, too. And, you should always consult with your doctor before making dietary changes. But, I trust that you know what’s best for you. ;)

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Basic Green Monster Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Green Monster smoothies are beautiful to look at and delicious to drink. And if you’re not sold yet, they’re good for you, too! Drinking GM smoothies is the easiest way I know to get a vegetable serving in for the day. Also, I don’t typically add extra sweeteners to my smoothies, but I’ve included directions below in case you would like to add some to yours. :)
*Vegetarian, Vegan if you use vegan milk* Serves 1
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ – 2 cups loosely packed spinach (or sub ¼ cup frozen spinach or sub kale)
  • 1 banana (a frozen banana will give you a thicker consistency, but non-frozen works, too)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (dairy, non-dairy, vanilla non-dairy, etc.)
  • 2 cubes ice
  • sweetener of choice, to taste, optional (liquid sweeteners, like honey or agave, will work best)
Instructions
  1. Place spinach, banana, milk, and ice in the blender.
  2. Cover and blend until banana/ice is processed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste test and if desired, blend in sweetener of choice to taste.
  3. Enjoy!
Notes
This single serving recipe is easily multiplied to serve more!

***
Here are more fabulous GM smoothie recipes you may enjoy:

*And be sure to check out this site for hundreds of other tasty Green Monster recipes: http://greenmonstermovement.com/ *

Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

Green Monster Virgins: Are you scared of Green Monsters or do you think you’ll try one soon? Why or why not?

Green Monster Gurus: What are you favorite things to add to your GM smoothies? And if you have any GM smoothies (of your own or of others) that you love, please leave the link in a comment! :)

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Comments

  1. says

    You are so right – GM’s are the perfect way to squeeze in some extra veggie goodness when it’s tough during the day! I like kale in my GM’s because I’m not a fan of it, while spinach I could eat on everything…so to vary my nutritional content I’ll slip kale into the smoothie where I can’t taste it!

  2. says

    Ahhh, great post!!! I have been making the Fitnessista’s green-a-colada a lot recently! Coconut, pineapple and mango, plus spinach, SunWarrior, yog and almond milk. Delicious! Thanks for the links!

    I’m curious though — what conditions would cause someoen to not be able to eat spinach?

    • says

      I almost made a Pina Colada Green Monster smoothie the other day! I was going to post the recipe till I realized I need pineapple! Once I get my hands on some, I’m tots making it.

      The person who was supposed to avoid spinach was a friend of a friend. I can’t remember exactly why they weren’t supposed to eat it. I thought maybe it was a thyroid issue, but I tried doing a quick google search and didn’t find anything about it. :(

      • says

        I worked with a man with a liver condition that was impacted by his vitamin k levels. I cannot remember the exact condition, but we had to keep his green content consistent and he had to have his liver levels tested before and after any diet changes. That could be a reason to avoid spinach =-)

      • Christina says

        I absolutely love spinach! I recently had a thyroid lobectomy and in researching I learned spinach had goitous properties so was to be avoided. I later learned cooking spinach took away that issue. I was thinking that I could cook a batch of spinach and freeze it in an ice cube tray so I could continue to make green smoothies and enjoy it other healthy benefits

  3. says

    Thanks Diana. I’m getting bananas this weekend so I can try it. I grew spinach for the first time this year (and hoping for a fall crop … we’ll see), so I’d love to try the GM.

    Question: can you make a batch of them (ex: make in the morning and drink for lunch or later in the day?) … or will it affect the consistency/texture. Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Hey Paula! Glad to hear your first GM worked out (read it on twitter). And with your own spinach no less. Niiiiice! :)

      I personally don’t like making smoothies in advance and then eating them later. I’m not sure how it would work with this recipe. Blueberries are the only ingredient that I’m aware of that will change if you let it sit (makes the liquids and solids separate).

      Have you tried making a batch yet?

  4. says

    I love me a good, cold, Green Monster! While yes, they are supposed to be green, I highly advise to go ahead and ADD BLUEBERRIES! My favorite GM at the moment is spinach, ice, milk, banana and blueberries. It is delicious, packed full of antioxidants and frankly… who cares about the color when it tastes so good, right?!

    Great post!
    Christie

  5. says

    Avoid blueberries?! The horror! I put a handful of blueberries in my Green Monster every day and they don’t really change the color much at all, and I love to know I’m sticking a superfood in with an already extremely healthy smoothie! Now- I should say that I’m currently making my GMs in a little single serving blender, so I’m using about 1/4 c blueberries, but I honestly can’t imagine my smoothies without them! They add a little sweetness and a little tang that I don’t get from bananas/almond milk combo.

    Thanks for spreading the Green Monster love :)

  6. says

    Great helpful post. I usually use frozen spinach since if I buy it fresh it would go bad before I use it all, and I love that you can’t even taste it when blended with everything else!

  7. says

    Great green monster smoothie additions:

    - Orange Juice (I will use 1/2 cup OJ, 1/2 cup milk) – you definitely don’t need sweetener if you use OJ

    - frozen peach slices

    - 1 or 2 strawberries – I promise, it won’t detract from the bright green!

    Beautiful pics!

  8. Pam says

    Frozen fruit (I like bananas and blueberries best), a splash of almond milk, yogurt, spirulina, wolfberry Tera’s whey, chia seeds, and spinach. I only use a small amount of the spirulina powder because of the smell.

    • says

      How do you store Spirulina and how long does it last? I’ve been considering buying some to put in my smoothies, but I just haven’t had the chance yet.

  9. Serena says

    Ok, you convinced me, I made one for me and the hubs today – pretty tasty (I added a tbps of all natural peanut butter), thanks for the layering tips!

      • Serena says

        I’ve been making them all week! Ive been using almond milk and adding strawberries and non-fat Greek yogurt and its been delicious (though a bit swampy in color)!

  10. says

    I know I’m kinda late to this post, but I am determined to try this green monster thing! I see it everywhere on everyone’s fitness blogs, so – that’s it – I’m gonna do it! (I even posted about it on my blog the other day when I found your blog.) I appreciate your recipes and all the different flavors and combinations that you added, but I think I’ll tackle the basic green monster for my first try. :) I was supposed to do it yesterday but forgot.. so I will do it today for sure!! Anyways, just wanted to stop by and say a quick thank you for this post and compliment you while I’m at it. ;) I really like your blog and will be an avid follower!

    Thanks!
    Gwen

    • says

      Hey Gwen! Thanks so much for stopping by. There’s nothing to fear with the Green Monster. If you’re really worried you won’t like it, you can just put a smaller amount of spinach than what most recipes suggest and increase the amount in future smoothies. Thanks for your kind comment. :)

  11. Holly says

    Hey Diana, is there anything you think would be a good substitute for bananas? I tried my first one this morning, and the flavor was overpoweringly banana, which I’m not a huge fan of. I also used 4 strawberries, 1/2 cup of blueberries, and a whole peach, but all I tasted was banana. Thoughts?

    • says

      Hey Holly – you can use any fruit you want to substitute for the banana. Depending on the pigment of the fruit, the smoothie may come out more or less green, but it should still taste good. If you want to keep the green color, go for fruits with less pigment (or at least use more of those). Or, you could possibly even sub more vanilla yogurt if you want a more creamy/yogurt based smoothie as opposed to more fruit-based. Hope this helps! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Weight loss says

    Filling? I am looking for a breakfast smootie to get myself going in the morning becuase i honestly dont want to eat anything solid in the mornings.

    • says

      When I want to make my smoothies more filling, I try to make sure I add a fair amount of protein. You could add yogurt or even tofu (silken would probably be your best bet). You could also use protein powder. Hope this helps! :) Diana

  13. says

    Love your smoothie recipe! I added almond butter and wow, the texture was smooth and so delicious. Thanks for the tips about the order to add the ingredients too.

    • says

      Hey Denise! So glad to hear you enjoyed the smoothie. I love that you checked out the almond butter addition. I bet that would be great with a little cocoa powder, too. Mmm. Thanks so much for checking out my recipe! :) Diana

  14. Megan says

    I’ve been wanting to try the green smoothie craze again. I tried it once by throwing a few things in the blender and it was aweful. Normally it is hard to go wrong with a smooth but I did. But, now I have some research behind me and I’m ready to give it another shot.

    They just look so healthy it makes me want to try them.

  15. Deb says

    I found a blog talking about the Green Monster smoothie over the weekend and was skeptical, but intrigued. I gave it a whirl yesterday with PB and banana and I’m hooked!! This morning I tried some soy yogurt, banana & frozen raspberries. So tasty. I can definitely see this being a staple for me. I can’t have dairy, and can’t always find soy yogurt (and if I do it’s never plain), so seeing your post about using tofu has me thinking! I can’t wait to get back to the store for more supplies, and I can’t wait to get my kids drinking them. My one year old took a sip this morning and I didn’t think i was getting it back. Such a great way to get them eating extra fruits & veggies. Thanks for sharing!

    Deb

  16. Alexandria says

    So, I literally just found out about GM’s yesterday and I went to the store and picked up some spinach (even though I love it in salads I didn’t like it much any other way) and tried this recipe. And I have to say you have made me a believer, I think this will now go into my daily routine, and as a teen I don’t really have the time at 6 in the mourning to really eat a good breakfast and I think this will make an easy replacement to cereal. Also I will defininatly be experimenting on my own to make new exciting versions of this smoothie :)

  17. HisPixie says

    People who have to be careful of eating dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are those who take warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner. Vitamin K is the antidote to the medication so you don’t want to cancel out the effect of the blood thinner with too much Vitamin K. In the case of the liver disease patient, the liver is responsible for blood clotting factors so that may be why they needed to watch their Vitamin K; but I haven’t seen Vitamin K precautions with them, personally.

  18. coffebean says

    Wonnderful smoothie!
    Tried it with kale and found it was the most delightful way to eat kale, and I HATE kale.
    thx for the awesome recipe

  19. Mikki says

    So I’ve heard a lot about everyone trying all these different Green Monsters but I’m a SUPER picky eater so I’ve always hesitated when it came to actually trying these. I LOVE fruit but I don’t like yogurt, at least not by itself. I’ve been working on toning and losing some inches for my upcoming wedding *JUNE 15th!* and I’m wondering if using these GM will help boost my energy and help with my bad eating habits! Even though I’m still super nervous about trying this and not liking it therefor wasting a large chunk of ingredients I’m going to try one tonight! I really think I’d like peanut butter in mine. Any suggestions for a first time GM trier?!

    • says

      Hi Mikki, Congrats on your upcoming wedding! :) Do you already drink non-GM smoothies? If so, I’d try to replicate one of those and maybe just add a small handful of spinach to it. I know peanut butter is a popular ingredient in GMs for many people, so I think that could be tasty. If you don’t already have a regular smoothie fave, maybe just think about your favorite fruits, or stay conservative and do something like the basic recipe in this post. If you’re worried about not liking the GM, I’d suggest being conservative on how much spinach you add the first time and just add a little. Maybe use 1/2 – 1 cup of loosely packed spinach at first? Hope you like it! Let me know how it goes if you try it tonight. :)

  20. Mikki says

    Thank you! I made one this morning, first one ever. I used spinach, almond milk, frozen bananas, a couple chunks of fresh pineapple, and a little bit of honey. It turned out beautifully green and has good flavor but I think the 1 whole banana makes it TOO banana-y for my liking, I drank it with no problem but would prefer less banana flavor…. Any suggestions? I think I’ll definitely try the all natural peanut butter and see if that helps….

    • says

      Hi Mikki! Glad your first GM was (mostly) a success! :) I actually like to keep my banana frozen for smoothies. I’ll use fresh if I have it, but when bananas start to get too ripe and I don’t have time to make banana bread, I’ll peel it, break it into smaller chunks and put it in the freezer for later. I’d suggest doing that so you can pull out just a half of a banana or so when you make your smoothie and save the other half for the next one. Hope this helps!

  21. says

    Hi! I just wanted to give you a giant thank you! I am a big chicken, but after several days of studying your site and reading everyone’s comments I went to the store on my scooter and bought the only blender they had , but it worked!
    I started with 1 c spin ache as you suggested for people like me, 3/4 frozen banana, 3/4 c almond milk 2 ice cubes and had the honey ready.

    It was amazingly good, I dog tested first, one walked away, the other devoured it. I then added the rest of the banana. Ippy was right there for more. Better. Then I added 6oz container of vanilla yogurt and wow! Ippy was already waiting for his bit and I poured my glass to the top, what a beautiful color. I was really scared of the green… Don’t know why, silly.

    Ippy devoured and looked at me as I drank my delicious glass. There was some remaining do I gave Lula a retry keeping Ippy away and she sucked it down!! Ippy got one more taste and I finished it off. I had been feeling not so well as I was low on sleep and had made daquaris the night before and I Rarely, as in years go by, drink alcohol.

    I immediately perked up and will use all the spinach next time and maybe later on in the week throw in an avocado.

    I thought also perhaps you might already have done this, so I’d ask first: do you have dog treat GM? I’m ging to experiment if not. Peanut butter, etc.
    I NEVER thought I would or could drink this as all I have done is basically make fruit I team shakes in the past! A big thank you from me, ippy, and Lula!

    • says

      I haven’t made homemade dog treats yet, but I think GM dog treats could be a great idea! I just googled, and I found a couple sites saying spinach is good for dogs, in moderation.

      If you try avocado in the GM, you may not want to give it to your pups. According to the ASPCA, it’s one of the human foods to avoid giving your dog: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx

      Let me know how your GM dog treat experiment works if you try it out! Thanks for stopping by!

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  25. Desleighjane says

    I just had one with watermelon, green grapes, apple, lots of spinach, a little protein powder and a dash of maca powder, with coconut water for the liquid. It was fabulous and a beautiful fresh shade of green. I add ½ avocado if I want creaminess. I usually use apple juice &/or coconut water for liquid. They help me enjoy things like apples and spinach and lettuce (I have tossed lettuce in sometimes for a change) because I don’t really love eating them very much. I have been too scared to try kale yet. :-) There are lots of recipes out there – I looked up the manuals online for the single serve blenders like Sunbeam and Kambrook for some great ideas as well as doing green smoothie searches.

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