Kale Smoothie

by Andie Mitchell on May 28, 2013

kale smoothie

Does this scare you? A little?

It’s OK; it scared me at first, too. My mom saw it and, well, I don’t think I should share this part publicly, but you know how good I am with keeping a tight lid on things that should remain private. She stared as I sipped it—eyes wide—then immediately turned away and covered her mouth, gagging at what she’d just witnessed. “Andrea it looks like…” Stop.there. 

kale smoothie

But honestly, it’s not toxic sludge, even if that’s the impression you got. I’m really selling it, aren’t I?

freezing banana for smoothie

Let me start by telling what it is: a [harmless] green smoothie. Frozen banana, almond milk, yogurt, and kale—the ingredient that imparts that lovely Hulk-green hue.

*To freeze a banana for your smoothie, peel it, break it into chunks, seal it in a small plastic baggie or an airtight container, and toss it in the freezer until you’re ready to blend.

I also added chia seeds because I recently bought a wacky amount of them on Amazon after reading so many of their amazing health benefits online (among other virtues, they’re a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids). I really enjoy the crunch they add to my oatmeal and smoothies lately, but I chose not to include them in the recipe because I do not expect anyone to run out and purchase such a pricey ingredient only to use one tablespoon in a single-serving smoothie.

kale smoothie


*Hassle: my Magic Bullet won’t blend my kale? I’ve been popping it in my food processor first, then add it to the rest of the smoothie ingredients in the Bullet. Does this happen to anyone else?

Here’s what I love about this drink—a shake, if you’ll indulge me: it’s essentially good health in a glass. So many nutrients, so little time to consume them. We’ve all heard about what a superfood kale is. It’s THE most popular of vegetables right now. Kale salads, kale chips, kale juice…all kale, all the time. But for most of us, unless we’re cooking this tough, slightly bitter green, or massaging the leaves to break down it’s cellulose structure (essentially wilting it), it’s rather hard to consume it truly raw, or at least—in large quantities. So blending a few generous handfuls into a smoothie makes ingesting this superfood a cinch. It also adds bulk to the drink, making it feel more substantial, and a low-glycemic dose of fiber, making for slower digestion and more even blood sugar levels than using banana alone.

kale smoothie

Things to keep in mind: this is not sweet. Trust that I will not be the health zealot who swears to you it tastes “just like a milkshake!” Because it does not. It tastes good, yes, and satisfying in that wholesome kind of way that eating well always does, yes, but it’s also a bit earthy in flavor, too. And it’s even got some grit to it. But I have to venture a guess that if you’re indeed going ahead and making this smoothie, you’re likely OK with these things.

If you do, however, find yourself needing some sugar (and don’t we all?) ain’t no shame in adding a teaspoon or two of sugar or a few drops of stevia, if that’s your thing. I just found liquid stevia at Trader Joe’s, obviously impulse bought it, and this week I sampled it for the first time. Initial thoughts? Not bad.

heritage ball jars


These gorgeous blue heritage Ball jars—sent to me by the company—are what I’ve been serving all of my smoothies in lately. Love.

Kale Smoothie

Yield: 1 Smoothie


  • 1 medium banana (freezing it beforehand is optional)
  • 2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly torn into pieces
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or sweetener of choice (optional)


  1. If frozen, add the banana to the blender first and pulse until smooth.
  2. Add the kale, yogurt, almond milk, and optional sugar to the blender. If your banana is not frozen, add it to the blender now. Blend until all ingredients are well combined and the mixture is smooth and light green in color. Serve immediately.


Nutrition Information for 1 Smoothie (Entire Recipe, Not Including Optional Sugar/Sweetener): Calories 300, Total Fat 4.9 g, Total Carbohydrate 49.6 g, Dietary Fiber 9.3 g, Sugars 23.7 g, Protein 22.2 g


{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy May 29, 2013 at 4:59 am

Looks yummy to me! Perfect for a post-run breakfast, and then I might feel a little less guilty for the cookie that’s bound to find it’s way onto my plate later in the day :)
A healthy diet includes a wide variety of foods, right? ;)


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

You bet it does. Cookies are obligatory in my diet :)


Sparks13 May 29, 2013 at 6:43 am

I’ll stick to kale in all my soups. Love it that way. I don’t understand all this recent fascination (certainly on nearly every food blog I follow) with green smoothies. Don’t get me wrong, I love smoothies…with fruit, Greek yogurt, flax seed and a bit of nonfat milk or OJ. I like my veggies too, mostly cooked though and spinach and kale are two I’m definitely not liking raw.


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I hear you. This kind of thing is really not for everyone and I respect that. As far as cooking kale– I LOVE sauteeing it in olive oil and garlic. And I think what makes spinach so great (other than its nutrition profile) is that it can be tossed into just about anything while cooking without really affecting overall flavor.


Lauren @ The Highlands Life May 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

I tried the whole green smoothie thing 3 years ago and while it wasn’t terrible, I just don’t think I’m a smoothie person. It comes down to a texture thing for me.


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I kind of agree with you in the sense that I’m not as big a smoothie gal as others seem to be (there are some pretty intense fans out there). I like them, but I still much prefer to chew my meal, you know?


Susana May 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

Try adding pineapple to your green smoothie. It sweetens it up perfectly!


Julie May 29, 2013 at 9:32 am

I also found a tip somewhere to solve the kale blending issue. Blend kale in advance, add enough water to make it blend nicely, then freeze in an ice cube tray, you can pop them out and put them in zip lock bags so that you always have the ingredients handy and it saves on prep time. Alsoooooo, when i notice that banana’s are just on the verge of being over-ripe, i peel and freeze them for smoothies so they don’t go to waste, they are also at their maximum sweetness then also :o)


Julie May 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

Also, I just realized that i began and ended my sentence with the word also… o_O


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

YES! Now I feel like I have another use for my on-the-verge of rotting bananas (besides banana bread)! Also THANK YOU for the awesome kale tip. I have some wilting in my fridge right this very minute, actually…


Donna May 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Not only are bananas at their maximum sweetness when they are on the verge of being overripe, but they are also said to be at their maximum nutritional value! I peel & freeze them for smoothies then too. :-)


CYSFDgroupie June 9, 2013 at 12:51 am

Another FANTASTIC use for on-the-verge bananas: Peel, break, and freeze as you mentioned. When you need dessert, pull one out and use an immersion blender (or NutriBullet, or whatever) to blend it. It tastes *just* like banana flavored soft serve, no sugar needed! Something about letting it over-ripen and freezing it brings out the natural sugar. You can’t refreeze it or it turns into a block. Sometimes a touch of baking cocoa or some chocolate chips don’t hurt either (haven’t tried a touch of peanut butter yet), but you really don’t need them. DELICIOUS!


T. August 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I have to reply to the soft serve comment also! Yes! I’m doing Andie’s Mom’s diet so we did this two nights ago. It’s a lovely substitute for ice-cream and super healthy. My kids saw it on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and they call them Banana Swirls. So that’s what we call it now. :) I ate mine with a dusting of cinnamon and sliced almonds.


T. August 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Yep, that’s what I do too. Blend the kale first with a small bit of liquid, then add the other stuff. The beauty of the smoothies to me is that they are so much faster to eat(drink) than a salad. Similar nutrients, but fast to make and drink. Love it!
And to me the bananas make it sweet enough, but I’ve also added applesauce and a cranberry/applesauce mixture after Thanksgiving and love those too.


Carrie @ Season It Already! May 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

It’s very similar to one I make and love! I call it a Magic Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup (handful) spinach)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon (or Chinese 5 spice powder)

Whiz away in a food processor or blender. I’m going to try it now with kale as a substitute for the spinach. Thanks for the inspiration!


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Oooo using Chinese 5 spice in it along with a nut butter sounds so, so great. Gives it depth, I bet. And your choice smoothie name–”Magic Smoothie”–completely trumps my lame “Kale Smoothie” :)


J9 May 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

I was wondering if you were into green smoothies! I just started the green smoothie thing a couple weeks ago and came across this website simplegreensmoothies.com which has changed my life! They have amazing recipes! I have also started adding coconut oil to my green smoothies, and also chia seeds, which you are right about being kind of awesome.


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

You know, I was thinking about doing a whole post about my new-found love for coconut oil. I’ve been using it in everything, but haven’t thought of adding it to smoothies. Good idea :)


Andrea May 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

I LOVE Green Smoothies although I haven’t tried one with Kale yet! I make one almost every day. My basic recipe is big big handful of spinich, almond milk, Whey protein powder, strawberries and peaches. YUMMO!

Have you checked out Simple Green Smoothies (http://simplegreensmoothies.com/)? They recommend mixing the greens with the liquid first for a smoother consistency. Works great! Also they have a TON of fabulous green recipes.



Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Makes sense now to blend the kale with liquid first; I’ll definitely be doing that from now on because this two part blending trick I’ve been doing is kind of a pain! Thanks for the advice and the link–now I can’t stop browsing all the recipes they have!


Kelly B. May 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

I’ll second adding pineapple to sweeten, or try some dried dates. In regard to the kale not blending in your Magic Bullet, try upgrading to a Nutri bullet! Higher wattage means more power! Mine will liquify almost anything in seconds.


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for the tip! Pineapple and dates are on my shopping list. Also kicking myself that I didn’t research the Nutri-Bullet sooner :(


Hootie May 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I decided to take a mental break from work and graduate courses to pop over and see what you are up to and I LOVE it! One day you will be ready to upgrade to the ninja system i keep telling you about for more wattage, flexibility, and power, perhaps ask for this for Christmas from all of your relatives?! I have one and the single serve cups are my most used kitchen tool http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BQM4PLG/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1369846909&sr=8-4&pi=SL75


Sandie May 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I just finished a 30 day green smoothie challenge. I learned alot of new ideas and as
Kelly B said—add a good organic date for a natural sweetner. My favorite smoothie
is 1 cup kale or spinach, l cup frozen mango,1/2 cup pineapple, little cilantro or parsley &
coconut water. Hemp seeds or chia can be added for extra healthy goodness.


Andie Mitchell May 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm

This sounds like such a good mix; I never would have thought to add herbs! Question–what brand of coconut water do you like to use?


Reanna May 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm

What a well timed post! I did not eat clean this last memorial day weekend and also ate way to much and upset my stomach. I need a good nutrient rich smoothie to get back to happy.


Donna May 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I start my day every day with a green smoothie for breakfast!! LOVE IT!! My current favorite is as follows: 1c almond breeze milk (has a touch of coconut milk in it too), 2c kale roughly torn as you mentioned, a handful of baby spinach for a little ‘sweetness’, 1 med banana, 1c frozen blueberries, 1TB unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1TB chia seeds. Those chia seeds that I’ve only recently learned about/added make the difference between this smoothie sticking with me ALL morning long til lunch, and me reaching for something else by mid-morning. I am so hooked!


Jillian May 31, 2013 at 5:19 am

If you find kale too gritty or earthy, I think spinach is a little smoother. I was a green smoothie skeptic, but drink them regularly these days. In addition, adding half a peeled, chopped apple or a handful of green grapes is a great sweetener!


Andie Mitchell May 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

Good advice! I love the idea of adding green grapes!


Cari June 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm

This is my first visit here. I literally just started this week with green smoothies. The first one I loved with frozen mixed berries and pineapple, peaches and mangoes, (all my faves) spinach, a little fat free milk (I need to get almond milk).

Today I made with half of a ripe avocado. I had heard of this. Talk about a shake! It’s very thick and smooth. Not bad on the taste, either. Fortunately, I love avocadoes. I’m surprised no one mentioned avocadoes as an addition.


Donna June 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hi Cari! Yes, I too have added avocado to my green smoothie I listed above sometimes just to change it up. So yummy!


Sacha June 8, 2013 at 1:10 am

I’ve been intrigued by green smoothies but had never really gotten into them until I tried this recipe today. It was shockingly good!! It didn’t smell like cooked kale, it just smelled like BRIGHT GREEN awesomeness. Thanks for the post, I feel like it really simplified the mystique around green smoothies for me :)


Olivia June 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Mmmm, I just made a kale smoothie. I used frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, and freshly squeezed orange juice. So good! :)


Marla June 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

I’ve been having almost this exact smoothie every single day for the last week! One great way to make it taste a little less earthy while keeping it super healthy is by adding a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. It sweetens it up beautifully while providing an awesome dose of iron when combined with the kale… I’m pregnant with twins so I’m always looking for a way to up my iron like crazy without living on beef. :)


Susan August 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

Why nonfat yogurt? The full fat kind is full of healthy,good for you fat,minus the chemicals that is used to replace the fat.


Nina August 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I am addicted to kale smoothies…I love the hint of kale in my smoothie…


renee August 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi, I like your simple kale smoothie recipe, but can u please tell me… does the sugar counts (23) include the optional sugar. I am reducing the sugar in my diet, so I need to know how many sugars are in the smoothie without the “added” sugar. Thx.


Cortney September 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Just wanted to throw this out there, but i don’t peel my bananas before I freeze them. I throw them in the freezer as is. When I’m ready to use them, I let them sit in a bowl on the counter for a half hour or less, cut the top off, and squeeze out the fruit. Very simple and no wasting of the precious, precious ziplox. :)


Kath October 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Gorgeous smoothie!!


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