Smoothie Basics

I’ve been making daily green smoothies for more than two months now as of this post. Here are the things that I find successful. I encourage you to experiment and see what you like.

Ratios for a smoothie:

I like smoothies made with 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 2 cups (60 g) baby spinach, and 140 g fruit.

  • Elizabeth Rider recommends blending 1 cup liquid, 2 to 3 cups greens, 1 cup fruit, and 1 Tablespoon nuts, seeds, or nut butter. She says, “Keep your green smoothie to at least double, preferably triple, greens to fruit ratio to keep the sugar content of your drink low and reasonable (no blood sugar spikes here!)”
  • 100 Days of Real Food recommends using 40% greens: 1 cup base, 1 cup greens, and 1.5 cups fruit to make a 16 oz. smoothie.

For example, a pineapple smoothie recipe calls for 1 cup nondairy milk, 2 cups pineapple chunks, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, and garnishes of coconut flakes and cacoa nibs. I would remake this recipe to be a green smoothie with have 1 cup nondairy milk, 2 cups (60 g) baby spinach, and 1 cup pineapple chunks; omit the maple syrup and garnishes. Adding 1 Tablespoon of cashew butter might make this smoothie feel very tropical.

  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (preferably fresh; otherwise use
    drained unsweetened canned pineapple (reserve juice for other use)
  • 1 cup vanilla nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon use maple syrup or agave nectar, or to taste
  • Shredded coconut flakes  for topping, optional
  • Cacao nibs for topping, optional


  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (preferably fresh; otherwise use
    drained unsweetened canned pineapple (reserve juice for other use)
  • 1 cup vanilla nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon use maple syrup or agave nectar, or to taste
  • Shredded coconut flakes  for topping, optional
  • Cacao nibs for topping, optional


Smoothie base: Water, coconut water, or milk
About 4 oz. to 1 cup total milk or yogurt before you add protein. Some combinations I like:

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk with 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) coconut water with 3 oz. yogurt

Milk: The choice of milk is up to you: Almond-coconut milk is sold refrigerated in a paper carton. You can also use vanilla coconut, soy, almond, or dairy milk. Canned coconut milk is better for cooking or for making whipped cream. I prefer unsweetened almond or coconut milk.

Yogurt: I prefer plain, fat-free Greek yogurt in my smoothies. Non-dairy yogurt also works well.

Protein: Instead of vanilla protein powder, I use 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese. Cottage cheese also thickens a smoothie, so it has the consistency of a milkshake. I found that protein powder gave me stomach aches and didn’t sit well with me. If you like protein powder, use it. You can use any of these ingredients for protein:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 serving Ricotta cheese
  • 1 serving silken tofu
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons nut butter

Nut butters: Peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, any nut butter you like is fine. Use a Tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to measure out the nut butter: it’s very easy to measure that way!

Oats: Some smoothies are thickened with oats. I usually purchase the organic rolled oats from the bulk section. Grind the oatmeal into a powder in the blender (I used the “crumb” setting”), and then add the rest of your smoothie ingredients. Puree until smooth. (Tip from

Greens: 1 to 2 cups total washed greens (as noted above, I like 2 cups). Cut the stems out of kale. Weigh the spinach on a kitchen scale. Baby spinach and kale weigh about the same.

  • 1 cup baby spinach = 7 calories = 30 g = 1 oz
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach = 45 g
  • 1.7 cups baby spinach = 50 g
  • 2 cups baby spinach = 60 g
  • 1 Persian cucumber with peel, chopped into chunks. Cucumber “adds a light melon flavor without added sweetness,” says vegan author Dreena Burton.
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce (about 30 g)

Frozen banana: peel and slice the banana, weigh out 2 oz. portions in a snack-size bag, and freeze it. You can then just grab one bag for “half a banana” or two bags for “a whole banana”. You can also just cut a banana in half and not weigh it!

Creamy fruit: Banana (1/2 each), avocado (1/4 each), pear, and mango all make the texture creamy and smooth.

Fruit: All fruit should be without added sugar. Weigh the fruit on a kitchen scale. I think it’s important to keep the proportions balanced so the smoothie isn’t too sweet and it doesn’t taste like a liquified salad. “Try adding carrot with mangoes/oranges/peaches,” says Dreena Burton.  Berries will change the color of your green smoothie to purple or even muddy.

  • 2 oz. frozen banana slices (1/2 banana)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen berry blend, such as Berry Medley from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 cup (15 ea) green or red grapes
  • 1 medium Gala apple, cored and seeded (about 5 oz.)
  • 1 medium pear, cored, with peel (about 6 oz.)
  • 100 g frozen peach slices without added sugar (8 slices)

Ice: I rarely add ice, which can water it down. I prefer to use frozen fruit in the smoothie instead of ice. Sometimes, I’ll add a few ice cubes on top if it tastes better cold.


When blending, start with the liquids, then add the greens. A standard blender is fine for this job. Be sure to put the lid on tightly !

Place all ingredients in a blender, starting with the liquids. Put the lid on, and puree until the smoothie is creamy. Blend for 30 seconds at a time, so you don’t overwork the machine. Use the ice crush feature as needed to break up frozen fruit.


VegKitchen list of green smoothies:


DISCLOSURE: This post is not sponsored by anyone. I paid for the products listed here and only share the names of products I enjoy using in my own kitchen. This is my personal blog, and I am not compensated to create posts.