Chow Town

March 22, 2014

Drink your greens to celebrate the new season

If the calendar had corresponding colors for each month, it would speak volumes about the mood and diet of people in those times of the year.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

If the calendar had corresponding colors for each month, it would speak volumes about the mood and diet of people in those times of the year.

March would certainly be the color green — the first gasps of spring’s fresh air coming at long last.

Gone are the white and gray hued months of January and February, and with them the cravings for a heavier diet to fortify our hibernation-like patterns.

In March, green dominates everything from the green beers and revelers of St. Patrick’s Day to trees beginning to fill with greens.

Our tastes evolve with the season, ready to embrace the bounty of spring as it comes. We aren’t quite there yet, but you can still celebrate the splendor of the new season with a drinkable glass of green.

By this, I am not referring to those ubiquitous dyed beers or even McDonald’s version of seasonal foods — the Shamrock Shake.

No, I am referring to making a charming smoothie that is as healthy as it is tasty, and achieves its color and charms from vegetables like kale and carrots.

Juicing and smoothies have become a hot trend in healthy eating and diets. The concept is fairly simple, combine a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, juice or blend them smooth and presto … you have a meal in a glass.

Smoothies have been around for a good while, long enough to be co-opted by big companies and corrupted with added sugar or other ingredients that make them as calorically dense and unhealthy as that Shamrock Shake.

When you make your own, you can control the content and flavor, making sure you are getting your dietary money’s worth while customizing the exact taste to suit your desires.

Another benefit is the ability to add other ingredients like seeds or protein powders to further fortify the healthy properties, which helps to make for a more well rounded drinkable delight.

This recipe features flax, chia and hemp seeds that add vitamins and protein to an arsenal of ingredients like kale, lime, ginger, apple and carrot juice. While it is sweet, it is also has tart and spicy flavors from the lime and ginger and a boatload of vitamins, minerals and fiber from all of the ingredients.

The result is thicker than juice, but pleasantly smooth and fulfilling on a spring day.

Green Spring Smoothie

For this smoothie, I use an extremely powerful VitaMix blender, which blends at very high speeds and can pulverize just about any ingredient. For a standard blender, make sure to chop your ingredients small to keep them from catching.

1 apple, chopped 3 cups of kale, stems included, chopped finely 2 cups of carrot juice (water or apple juice can be substituted) 1 lime, zested and juiced 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped 2 tablespoons of flax seed, ground 1 tablespoon of chia seed 1 tablespoon of hemp seed

Put apple, kale, lime juice, zest and ginger into the jar of your blender with carrot juice and blend until ingredients are incorporated, about 30 seconds. Depending on your blender, you may want to go slow and then build up. Add seeds and continue blending another 30 to 45 seconds.

If mix is too thick, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of additional carrot juice or water to thin it.

Tyler Fox, personal chef/event caterer who emphasizes ‘nose-to-tail’ cooking philosophy as well as vegan and local/farm to table foods.

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