I don’t normally take my dietary cues from Starbucks but when the temperature climbed upwards of 100F earlier this week, I was reminded of a little discovery I made last year.
It was a glorious late spring day when I found myself out and about (that’s oot and aboot for my American friends — see how much I’ve learned in the short time that I’ve been living here? Who knew that the way I would pronounce these two small words would be akin to having a maple leaf stamped on my forehead. I do feel compelled to note for the record however that I’ve never actually heard a Canadian say oot or aboot – not even a Maritimer – but I get that there is a slight difference in emphasis and I’m happy to go along with the chuckle. Canadians can be kind that way, wink).
Right. Where was I?
So I found myself on the road longer than planned and popped into the closest establishment — a Starbucks — to purchase a bottle of water.
After some small chat, the barista proposed one of the store’s brand new smoothies. Starbucks is in the smoothie business now? I was polite but reluctant and skeptical. Starbucks makes a mighty fine cup of coffee but I anticipated getting strapped with a supersized cloying bevy — you know, dripping with excess sugar on a hot, tired day and I really wasn’t in the mood.
So I asked a lot of questions (I can be like that) and finally decided to try the Sweet Greens Smoothie. Well, not only was it not overly sweet (actually just the right note) — the bigger clincher was that it actually tasted good. Really good. Fresh and perky. How did they pull that off?
It turns out that last year, Starbucks teamed up with Evolution Fresh to test a line of smoothies in select stores (since Evolution Fresh is CA based, I guess we were one of the lucky ones).
Cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices sourced from farms and orchards here in California are used in combination with creamy Greek yogurt and banana to create the Starbucks featured smoothies.
What struck me most about the Sweet Greens Smoothie was the grassy, vibrant taste of the greens – so bright and refreshing. It felt like something I could build right from my garden. So I did.
I’m in no way associated with Starbucks (nor Evolution Fresh) – I just happen to like this drink and I hope you do too.
You just never know where you’re going to get your inspiration, eh?
- 2 generous cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 4 large Romaine lettuce leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 handful fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
- ¼ of whole English cucumber, skin-on and coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup apple juice
- 1 cup mango chunks, fresh or frozen
- 1 banana, fresh or frozen
- Generous ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, I used 2%
- 2 shakes ground nutmeg or grated whole nutmeg
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (if you are using a smaller machine, work incrementally adding ingredients as you go along and scrapping the sides of the blender down with a spatula as necessary).
- Add more fluid as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Nutmeg & Parsley: The nutmeg and parsley are not for garnish! Don't be tempted to skip them -- they are an integral part of the delicious grassy taste of this beverage (and if you have whole nutmeg, even better, grate some up).
Dairy Free: If you want to make this smoothie dairy free, almond milk might be the best sub for the yogurt in terms of mild flavor but you could also experiment with hemp and/or rice milk.