Popeye would be proud. This spinach and spirulina smoothie is a lightly sweet, nutrient-packed way to fuel your day and build healthy muscles. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe, HERE.
Popeye was known for drinking his spinach down straight out of the can, but I bet he would have preferred it in smoothie form.
But let’s be honest here. While we all know spinach is good for us, it’s not really the most protein-dense food. Those little green leaves aren’t actually going to bulk up our muscles the way they did in the cartoon. (Although wouldn’t it be awesome if they did?)
I’ve always thought that the real Popeye food would be spirulina. Spirulina is a deep-green powder made from a kind of algae (sounds appetizing, right?). This algae really is a super food, though. It’s packed with b vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants… can help boost your immune system and lower blood pressure… and it’s more than 65% protein!
I’m pretty sure Popeye would approve.
(You can read more about how amazing spirulina is here.)
Because spirulina is so nutrient dense (and also because you don’t want the flavor to become overpowering) all this smoothie needs is one little teaspoon. So, to amp up the protein even more, I added a half scoop of unsweetened plant-based protein powder. This ingredient is completely optional. You can leave it out all together, or add a palm-full of chia or hemp seeds for a small but natural boost of protein instead.
There are a ton of good plant-based protein powders available these days, but I personally like this one from Garden of Life. I’m not sponsored by them (I wish I was!) I just like that their powders are made from a variety of plant sources, and have lots of probiotics and vitamins mixed in for better gut health. It does add some grittiness to smoothies, but that’s kind of to be expected, I think. Do you have a favorite protein powder?
As green as this smoothie looks, it actually tastes quite tropical. The main ingredients are mango and kiwi, lending it a delicate, lightly sweet flavor.
If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, you can add in half a banana, a drizzle of maple syrup, or a drop or two of stevia if you wish. As I mentioned in this post, my sweet tooth seems to have taken a vacation, so this barely-sweet version is perfect for me just the way it is.
This has been my breakfast for the past few days now, and I must say, I can feel my muscles getting bigger already!
I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam!
(Yes, this really is my hulking man-arm, and yes, I have trouble buying lady shirts with sleeves big enough. Also, has anyone noticed that Popeye had no biceps? That guy is all forearms!)
- ½ cup baby spinach, loosely packed (roughly one small handful)
- 2 kiwi fruit, peeled (reserve a slice or two for garnish if you like)
- 1 slightly heaping cup frozen mango (about 120g.)
- ½ cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange) -- you can also use grapefruit juice, mango juice, or other juice you like
- 1 tsp. spirulina powder (I recommend looking for organic spirulina, like this one)
- Optional: 2-3 TBSP unsweetened or vanilla protein powder (you can use whatever kind you like, I use this one) and / or a spoonful of chia or hemp seeds, for extra protein
- Add everything to the blender in the order written (having the spinach at the bottom will help it blend smoothly). Blend until completely smooth, adding a splash more orange juice or liquid of choice if needed. This smoothie is mildly sweet from the mango, kiwi, and orange juice. If you'd prefer a sweeter smoothie, see the recipe notes below.
- Pour into a glass, and enjoy!
You can change up the fruit in this smoothie with pineapple, peaches, bananas, etc., but keep in mind that adding berries (especially blueberries) will muddy the color and give you a grey / black smoothie. It will still be tasty, but the looks can be an appetite killer. You've been warned!
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