This green smoothie is not magical. It will not detoxify you (your liver, lungs and digestive system do that just fine) or cleanse you (food doesn't make you clean or dirty) or fulfill the overblown promises inevitably made about one food or another right after the New Year's ball drops.
What this smoothie is, however, is a delicious and healthful breakfast or snack which can serve as a mental reset for a fresh start to the year.
Its beautiful celadon hue immediately signals "healthy," reinforcing that it's a step toward your best intentions for wellness in 2021. Sipping it is a reminder of how that goal can be achieved with absolute pleasure.
It's cool, creamy and gently tangy with a base of plain yogurt (providing calcium, protein and probiotics) softly sweetened with whole fruit — a very ripe pear and few dates (adding fiber, vitamin C and minerals) — and with a refreshing zing of ginger root. A handful of almonds adds a layer of texture (plus more protein, fiber and healthy fat), and spinach leaves provide that gorgeous green color and nutritional benefits without any detectable flavor, making this smoothie an ideal way to stealthily incorporate leafy vegetables.
You can play with variations on its basic formula, using Greek or non-dairy yogurt, a ripe banana or chunks of pineapple instead of the pear, a different type of nut or seed, or baby kale instead of spinach, for example, adjusting the thickness and the level of sweetness by adding a little cold water and/or honey to taste.
Now that I think about it, considering this smoothie's many assets, and given the idea that even the most ordinary things in the world are actually quite miraculous, it might have some magic to it after all.
Green Smoothie With Yogurt, Pear and Ginger
- ¾ cup ice
- 1 cup lightly packed spinach leaves
- 2/3 cup plain yogurt (low-fat or whole milk (see note)
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 very ripe medium pear (any variety), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 3 pitted dates, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
- Honey, to taste (optional)
Place the ice into a blender and process to crush it. Add the spinach, yogurt, almonds, pear, dates and ginger and blend until smooth and frothy, with a little texture remaining from the almonds and dates. Taste, and then blend in a little honey to taste, if desired.
Makes 2 servings.
Note: Can use ½ cup Greek yogurt plus 2 tablespoons cold water.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 280 calories, 10 g protein, 13 g fat, 35 g carbohydrate (23 g sugar), 5 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.5.