Popeye’s Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie

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's Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free) | Will Cook For Friends

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.)

Popeye's Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free) | Will Cook For Friends

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?

Popeye's Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free) | Will Cook For Friends

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!

Popeye's Spinach & Spirulina Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free) | Will Cook For Friends

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!)

What do you add to your green smoothies? Share in the comments below!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Popeye's Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: vegan, gluten-free, raw, whole 30
Serves: makes 1 smoothie
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. Pour into a glass, and enjoy!
This smoothie has a light, delicate sweetness from the mango and kiwi. If you prefer a sweeter smoothie, you can add ½ a banana, a drizzle of maple syrup, a couple drops of stevia, etc.. Any kind of sweetener you like will do. If you're using an unsweetened protein powder (depending on the kind you use) you may find adding half a banana helps to smooth out the flavor and texture.

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!

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you follow a link to amazon.com and make a purchase, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. Win-win! I am not sponsored by any of the products or brands that I link to, they are only things I personally use or would recommend.

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28 Responses to Popeye’s Spinach And Spirulina Smoothie

  1. Allison - Celebrating Sweets January 22, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    I have been wanting to try spirulina. This smoothie looks fabulous! Love that color.

    • Willow Arlen January 22, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Allison! Definitely give it a try. It’s so good for you, and I can’t get over the color either! I know some people find the flavor overwhelming, but I actually feel like it blends into things really beautifully. :)

  2. Sharee Hill January 22, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Love this bright green smoothie! Those colors are amazing! And love the strong green muscles lol!

  3. Kim @ Three Olives Branch January 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Wonderful pictures! And I love all of the flavors you have here, such a great combination!

  4. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry January 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    How healthy does that smoothie look! You just know it is doing you good as you drink it

  5. valentina January 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    In addition to Popeye, my mom would be proud! ;-) Sounds good and looks so pretty!

  6. thalia January 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    i love green smoothies! for sure adding kiwi to mine next time, i absolutely love the colour! Xx

  7. Aysegul Sanford January 23, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    HA ha.. I love that last photo. :))
    I have never used spirulina before. Though it sounds an ingredient so up my alley.
    This smoothie looks and sounds so healthy. Well done my friend.
    PS: I hope you will take some time off after 31 days of posting recipes.. You are my hero. For reals. :)

    • Willow Arlen January 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

      Aw, thank you, Aysegul! I cannot wait to take a loooong nap come February, haha! January is really flying by, though, so not much longer now.

  8. Alana January 24, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    hahaha to the popeye only having forearms comment. yes yes yes. what’s up with that!? as for these smoothies…so into this gorgeous color and so much yes to all the spirulina!!

    • Willow Arlen January 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      Seriously, I had totally forgotten until I looked up pictures of the cartoon. “Eat your spinach, kids, it’ll give you MASSIVE forearms!” Hahaha!

  9. michelle @ hummingbird high January 25, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    i am late to the spirulina party; i first had it a few weeks ago in a banana smoothie. it had turned it a pale blue! ever since then, i’m obsessed with the stuff and always looking for recipes that incorporate it. definitely bookmarking this one for the future!

    • Willow Arlen January 25, 2017 at 9:23 am #

      Ooh, yes! I’ve seen blue smoothies floating around the web for a while now and they look so freakin’ cool. I keep telling myself I need to go through my (massive tub) of green spirulina before I splurge on the blue stuff… we’ll see if I can hold out.

  10. Kitty January 26, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

    So wonderfully green! Looks tasty too!

  11. Abby @ Heart of a Baker January 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    I’m still maybeee a bit intimidated by spirulina, but I really need to try it! I’ve found lately for me, greens> sweet smoothies, so I’m putting this in my rotation right away.

    • Willow Arlen January 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

      Don’t be afraid! Spirulina has a very “green” taste to it, but with fruit and oj I hardly notice it. If you’re worried you can always start with a 1/2 tsp. and work your way up, but if you’re already a fan of green smoothies, I doubt you’ll need to. I hope you like this one!

  12. Tessa | Salted Plains January 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    Haha, that last photo is awesome! And so true, he was all forearms! I have yet to try spirulina but have been wanting to for some time now. I started adding chlorophyll to my water in the mornings, and now I need to step it up with a smoothie like this! I find I crave those tropical flavors when it is freezing outside. :)

    • Willow Arlen January 29, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      Oh yes, I used to drink chlorophyll all the time in my water, but it’s been ages. I actually remember really liking the flavor of it — I should get back on the chlorophyll bandwagon!

  13. Claudia | The Brick Kitchen January 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    Yesss I’m a big green smoothie fan too! Love how you used kiwifruit – one of my daily fruits but I’ve never put them in smoothies before. x

    • Willow Arlen January 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

      Thanks Claudia! I think you’ll love kiwi in smoothies. They’re so good with mango!

  14. Agness of Run Agness Run April 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    Such a palatable and healthy recipe! Keep up the great work, Willow!

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