Matcha-Spiked Pear Zucchini Kale Smoothie (gluten free, vegan option)
Posted Oct 16 2009 10:03pm
On the heels of my Seven Days of Green Smoothies post, I'm posting the recipe for the smoothie I made this morning. I decided to spike my kale-zucchini-pear combination with a scoop of matcha (green tea powder). The results were amazing! It was sweet, with that tasty, nutty hint of matcha flavor, and very creamy. Raw zucchini purees very well and takes on a smooth, rich texture that is almost dairy-like. In fact, if you puree raw zucchini, then bring the puree to a boil in a pot and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, you can use that liquid as a milk substitute in recipes. Seriously, it works like a charm. and it freezes really well, so you can make a ton and keep it in the freezer to have on hand. Just peel the zucchini first if you want your substitute white and not green.
Anyway, back to the smoothie. I'm going to geek out here for a minute about the awesome energetics and benefits of the ingredients. This is a super kidney nourishing, cooling, detoxifying start to to your day, and provides a great balance of foods and flavors to help harmonize the systems of the body. Both green tea and zucchini help to clear heat from the body, and are good choices if you suffer from inflammatory conditions, acne, rashes, fever, or if it is just a darn hot summer day. Zucchini is also high in natural sodium, so it functions as a diuretic and helps to clear fluid and water retention, and helps nourish the kidneys. Green tea is also a great source of antioxidants, and when used in moderation, has been found to help reduce the risk of cancer. Pears are high in fiber and all sorts of good vitamins and minerals, but their cooling energetic quality and sweet/sour flavor help to reduce mucous and move fluid in the body. Ume vinegar* provides a saltiness, which is also nourishing to the kidney, and provides a punch of probiotic goodness. Kale, as we know, is a powerhouse of iron, vitamin C, and other great vitamins and minerals, and has a warming energy that is strenthening to the stomach. This quality provides a good balance to the cool and cold of the tea, zucchini, and pear. Additionally, like all dark leafy greens, kale helps to nourish the blood, which also strengthens kidney energy. What a delicious - and beneficial - combination!
One more thing. I like adding a little high quality, lemon-flavored cod liver oil and flax seed oil to my smoothies. Why? Because we need healthy fats. While too much of any fat can inhibit digestion, moderate amount of healthy fats - like those found in cod liver oil, flax and other seeds, nuts, olives, coconut, and avocados - are necessary for the body, and can actually help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and proper metabolism. Fats are most easily assimilated when eaten with easy to digest foods, so adding them to smoothies is a great solution. Conveniently, all the vitamin C and vitamin A in those veggies and fruits are most easily absorbed when eaten with fats, so it works both ways! If you aren't vegan, I totally recommend cod liver oil - it is high in healthy omegas and full of vitamin D.
I like drinking half a batch of smoothie right away, and saving the rest for a mid-morning snack. Yum! So, get out that blender, whip yourself up a smoothie, and know that you are nourishing your body with every dreamy, creamy, greeny sip.
MATCHA-SPIKED PEAR ZUCCHINI KALE SMOOTHIE (gluten free, vegan option)
yield: about 30 oz, give or take, depending on how much water you add...
1 ripe pear
about 1/2 large zucchini
3 kale leaves
1 scoop vanilla rice protein powder
2 tsp lemon cod liver oil ( omit if vegan )
1 tsp flax oil
1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder
a few drops ume vinegar
Wash and coarsely chop up vegetables.
Place in blender, along with other ingredients. Add just enough water to get things moving, pulse a few times, then blend on high until smooth and creamy, stirring and adding additional water as needed.
Serve immediately, or throw in a jar and take with you to work or school! Refrigerate leftovers or put in a thermos; it will spoil quickly at room temperature.
* Ume vinegar: Ume vinegar isn't really a vinegar at all - it is the leftover salty brine from making umeboshi plums, the naturally fermented, vinegar free, cure-all pickled plum used in Japanese and macrobiotic cuisine. So, if you need avoid vinegars, and are looking for a healthy, tart alternative, you might be able to tolerate ume vinegar. I love it, and often use it as an alternative to vinegar, salt, and lemon/lime juice. Sometimes I just put a drop or two in water.