It took me a long time to understand green juice. It always seemed like a silly health food fad to me, and I'm not interested in detox—I just want delicious food. But then I got a high-end blender and started making smoothies with a little spinach, a little kale, a bell pepper, just to experiment. To my surprise, I really liked them.
If you're looking for a quick, vitamin-packed breakfast or a feel-good snack, these recipes will come in handy, whether you want to start out with a fruit-sweetened smoothie or go adventurous with juices made from fennel, parsnips, or even garlic. (Don't knock it till you've tried it.)
Gateway Green Smoothie
If you're a little skeptical of drinking your veggies, this green smoothie is a good place to start. The vegetables come in the form of mild baby spinach or bright, lemony sorrel, sweetened with a ton of tropical fruit: banana, pineapple, and mango. All the ingredients are soft enough for a basic blender, so try this out before investing in high-end equipment.
Balanced Green Juice
For a deeper dive into the world of vegetable drinks, try this juice that's packed with kale, celery, cucumber, and cilantro. The greens get sweetness from apple, brightness from lime, and a little spice from ginger. Pay attention to the order in which you add ingredients to the juicer—finishing off with watery celery helps flush the other ingredients through.
Refreshing Green Juice
This cucumber juice is perked up with celery, bell pepper, fennel, and lemon. Despite using an entire fennel bulb, you won't find the anise flavor overpowering. The idea of seasoning drinks might seem foreign to you, but this one definitely needs a pinch of salt to bring out the cucumber and keep the juice from tasting flat.
Buffalo Green Juice
This juice starts off with kale, carrot, and celery, but then gets a little adventurous with a savory punch from garlic and Frank's Red Hot. Yup, this is Buffalo wing green juice—without the chicken and blue cheese, thankfully. Feel free to add as much or as little hot sauce as you'd like.
Spicy Red Juice
Vegetable juices don't have to be green to be good for you. This gazpacho-inspired number gets its beautiful red color from bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and carrots. Horseradish and garlic give the drink just enough heat to make things interesting, and a salted rim brings it all together.
Pineapple Parsnip Blood Orange Juice
This simple juice is made with vibrant-red blood orange, sweet pineapple, and earthy parsnips. While that last ingredient may seem like an outlier, starchy root vegetables are an awesome way to make a thin juice rich and creamy.
Gingery Sweet Potato Apple Juice
Like parsnips, sweet potatoes do a great job of adding body to juice. Their mellow sweetness also pairs wonderfully with tart apples and spicy fresh ginger.
Simple Orange-Carrot Juice
You don't necessarily have to have any surprising ingredients, like potatoes or garlic, in your juice—sometimes it's best to stick with the tried-and-true. This simple, refreshing juice is mostly just orange and carrot. We do give the juice a little extra flavor by adding ginger, but we use a small amount so as not to overwhelm the other ingredients.
Spicy-Tart Kale Limeade
Kale juice can be a little intense, so for this drink, we tame the greens with sweet apple juice and coconut water. By this point, you can probably tell that ginger is one of our go-to vegetable juice ingredients—we love its bright kick, which balances the sweet and tart flavors of the other components here.
Root for Mint
For this juice, we return to parsnips, combining the sweet root vegetable with kale, apple, and plenty of mint. Lime juice added to the mint makes this drink super refreshing. Try to find mint that comes in big bunches, rather than in those plastic containers—you need a lot of it for this recipe.
The Kale Mary
This nonalcoholic cousin to the Bloody Mary is made with kale, tomato, celery, and lemon, plus just a pinch of horseradish and a dash of soy sauce for an umami kick. The juice would be excellent with ripe, in-season tomatoes, but this time of year you'll have to go with grape or cherry tomatoes.
Asian Pear, Basil, and Lemon Juice
Apples are known for making fine juice, but one of my favorite ingredients for this purpose is crisp Asian pear. And, while spinach and kale are great greens for juicing, here we mix things up by using basil. Add celery and lemon and you've got a complex, unusual, and incredibly tasty juice for days when you're tired of the standards.
Green Grapefruit Ginger Juice
Though this grapefruit juice is fortified with spinach and ginger, the fruit manages to really shine through. Simple and invigorating, it's a satisfying treat on a winter day. Pack the spinach in tight for the most efficient juicing.