Overheaad shot of vegan green smoothie with almond milk, banana, and spinach.

As noted in a recent post, a trend I’ve observed among the spring 2019 cookbooks is plant-based cooking. I’ve seen lots of vegetarian riffs on classic meaty dishes — buffalo cauliflower, moo shu vegetable wraps — and vegetables and legumes in general comprising the bulk of main course meals: zucchini noodle pad see ew, chickpea chopped salad, black bean and quinoa burgers.

Several of them bring a strong smoothie game, too, and two in particular — Healthier Together and Well + Good — have totally transformed my blending routine.

A few weeks ago, I shared the coffee smoothie recipe from Well + Good, which I’m still making and loving. 

But I’ve been loving another one, too. In Healthier Together, Liz Moody offers a simple framework for making green smoothies and says the secret to making a smoothie truly filling, is to pack it with with healthy fats and protein. Feeling inspired, I started adding spinach, hemp seeds (a fat and a protein), and chia seeds (also a fat and a protein) to my longtime favorite smoothie recipe: Violet’s Big Blueberry Smoothie.

If you’ve ever added spinach (and perhaps other greens) to your smoothie, you know that the spinach essentially disappears, imparting a very subtle vegetal flavor. I found my new vegetable-packed smoothie just as satisfying as before with the added bonus of keeping me fuller longer.

After several weeks of making spinach + blueberry smoothies, I swapped out the blueberries all together for a heap (3 ounces!) of spinach instead. And to compensate for the missing sweetness lent by the berries, I added a date. Without the berries in the mix, this combination whirls into a vibrant green hue. It’s delicious, nutritious, and satisfying. Here’s the basic formula:

Green Smoothie Formula

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  •  a heap of spinach
  • almond milk or milk of choice
  • almond butter or nut butter of choice
  • 1 date
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional add-ins: chia and/or hemp seeds
  • ice

Friends, are you into green smoothies? If so, what do you add to yours?

All of the ingredients for the green smoothie on the counter ready to be blended in the blender.

A blender filled with green smoothie, finished blending.

A tall glass filled with a green smoothie.

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Overheaad shot of vegan green smoothie with almond milk, banana, and spinach.

Green Smoothie with Spinach, Almond Butter, & Dates

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A few tips/notes:

  • I’ve gotten in the habit of slicing bananas and freezing them in an airtight container. I lay a sheet of parchment paper over the slices of one whole banana, so I know how much to use for each smoothie.
  • Nut butter: use what you like. I always buy/use salted.
  • Depending on the size of the Medjool dates, you may only need one. If you like things a little sweeter, you may need two. You may not need them at all. My blender is old and does not do a great job whirring ingredients into a smooth purée, dates in particular. If you have the time, you can soak the dates in the almond milk, which softens them and makes them purée more smoothly. I do this first thing in the morning: pour a cup of almond milk into a 1-cup liquid measure; break up my date and drop it in. (UPDATE: I splurged on a Vitamix, which makes the whirring process a whole lot easier.)
  • I bought hemp seeds on a whim after reading about them in books and blogs, and I now add a tablespoon to each smoothie. Hemp is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, contains iron, magnesium, and vitamin E, and is a complete protein.
  • Chia seeds. I always have chia seeds on hand because of this muesli, but I now add a tablespoon of chia seeds to each smoothie as well. Chia seeds have a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, minerals, and are also a complete protein.


  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen (unfrozen is fine, too)
  • handful of ice
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter or other nut butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 Medjool dates, pitted and torn into pieces, see notes above
  • 2 to 4 ounces spinach (I use 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, optional
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If blender gets stuck, stop it, jostle the ingredients with a knife, and purée again. If smoothie is too thick, add water or more almond milk till the purée is the consistency you like.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American