Even though this post’s title is, ahem, slightly derogatory in nature towards the flavor of kale, rest assured that kale is actually, really, truly honestly something that I like to eat. I love it sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil. Toast it off in the oven for some yummy kale chips. Toss it in any great chili or stew for extra veggie power – I get it. Kale is awesome, and I definitely am a kale lover, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of it in smoothies.
Cause y’all? That slightly bitter dark-green flavor that I devour in savory dishes just gets a little nightmare-ish when it comes to smoothies. I get it. Bitter and dark green just aren’t the adjectives I look for when I think of a great morning smoothie either.
BUT HARK! I bring forth from the depths of my blender something I think we can all enjoy!
I remember when I first heard of smoothies with spinach it was back in the olden days of 2009. I thought people were crazy and, while that is true – people ARE crazy – I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of my first spinach smoothie. It was super scary for me to step out into the spinach smoothie world, but ever since that first sip there was no turning back.
And then people started drinking kale smoothies and I got way more scared this time around. And yet. I still tried to make a kale smoothie and tried to drink it up right nice-like and promptly choked on it.
See, spinach is super tender and blends really easily. Kale takes a little time. It takes a little TLC. It’s not one to just let itself be blended into oblivion without putting up a fight. With that, I must tell you that in addition to not tasting like bitter dirt, this smoothie has worked in literally every blender option that I’ve tried, none of which is a Vitamix or Blentec. Trust me, I have nothing against those companies; I would actually really love to own one of those blender options, but let’s be honest: momma’s not spending hundreds of dollars on a blender. Nope.
So what’s the TLC for kale that requires no blender-with-a-hemi, you ask? Y’all, it’s so easy - you freeze the kale!!!
Here’s what I do in 8 easy numbered steps:
- Get home from the store.
- Take the kale out of the bag.
- Wash the kale.
- Remove the kale from the stems.
- Stuff the kale in a huge gallon-size Ziploc bag.
- Stick the bag in the freezer.
- After the kale has frozen, manhandle the bag to break up the kale into itty bitty pieces.
- Blend as desired.
I have discovered that freezing the kale does a few things for the smoothie making process: it takes away the bitterness and the smelliness, it helps keep the smoothie cold, and it keeps us from having to spend our lives chopping away at kale to get it into the blender. When I make this I literally add 2 cups of frozen kale, which ends up being about 1/2 of a standard bunch.
And y’all? In case you didn’t know that’s a TON of kale to be putting in a smoothie. I know it’s a little scary. But you should know that I genuinely will not eat something that tastes gross. So let’s all freeze some kale and get our health on with a great smoothie, mmmmK?
STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE KALE SMOOTHIE
Makes 1 smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup slightly thawed frozen strawberries
- 1 cup fully frozen pineapple
- 2 cups frozen crushed kale (per the directions above)
- 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon stevia (if desired)
Throw it all in a blender and blend. Be advised that, depending on the blender, it may take a few tries for the mixture to really get going, but once it starts to blend smoothly just let it go until the kale is completely blended in. Serve cold!
***Note: I know that the strawberries & pineapple certainly help mask the kale flavor, but I have also done this with just an apple and avocado, or one that just had mango in it and the kale flavor was nonexistent there as well!***