Cookbook Review: Green Smoothie Magic – 132+ Delicious Green Smoothie Recipes That Trim and Slim by Gabrielle Raiz
Lots of leafy greens are important to incorporate into your diet for health reasons (vitamins! fiber!) but it can be difficult to work them in. Enter the green smoothie. Blend up the greens with other ingredients to give yourself a delicious sweet or savory drinkable treat and get 1 to 2 cups of leafy greens into your belly in the time it takes to drink a drink! Raiz walks you through all the steps to incorporating green smoothies into your life from the basics of what greens to use and how to what makes a good blender to recipes to how to tweak and personalize the recipes.
I picked up this cookbook when I spotted the kindle version on sale for 99 cents because I wanted exactly what it promised. A way to work in more leafy greens into my life in a delicious way.
The cookbook is organized into sections entitled: introduction, the magic of the green stuff, not all green smoothies are green, don’t get stuck with the same green, greens, how green should my first smoothies be?, green smoothie magic basics, the pragmatic approach to health nutrition and everything!, freezing fruit, green smoothie rescue — what to do if a recipe doesn’t work out!, about blenders and blending, about drinking and storing your smoothie, green smoothie magic 101: instructions at a glance for blending any smoothie, and green smoothie magic recipes. If that sounds like a lot of sections, it’s because it is. Raiz has a lot of information to give the reader. She clearly knows what she’s talking about, and I found a lot of what she had to say very useful! Particularly how to pick the right blender, the different flavors of greens and how to pick which ones to use, how to store greens, how to save a smoothie that doesn’t taste quite right, and the basic elements of a smoothie. Also, the recipes of course! But how this valuable information is organized is a bit haphazard and can sometimes be repetitive. I’m glad I took the time to read it all and glean out the important bits, but I’m not sure everyone would stick it out through such a disorganized and long introduction. A more concise introduction to the hows and whys of green smoothies is needed.
The recipes themselves are creative without going too far off the deep-end in exotic ingredients. For instance, even though Raiz recommends making your own nut milks, she provides substitutions for those of us who would rather not do that. The recipes are easy to read, fully utilizing bullet-points and simplicity. I really appreciated that. There are also full-color illustrations throughout the cookbook , although they are primarily of the ingredients and not the smoothies themselves. I get it that green smoothies tend to be, well, green colored, but a few more smoothie pictures would be nice.
So I read through the whole book and was ready to try a recipe. I knew from reading the book that my low-powered food processor wasn’t ideal for blending but would work with a recipe with less tough ingredients (for instance, the beet smoothie might be a bit too much for my food processor). I also followed Raiz’s newbie caution and went with a recipe with a more traditional smoothie taste to ease myself into it. Below is the recipe I tried out with a picture of the result.
“Cinnamango Smoothie (location 1558)
1 cup water with 1/4 cup almonds (soaked overnight) OR 1 cup nut milk OR 1 cup coconut water
1 cup mango (frozen)
cinnamon, salt, and vanilla
2 cups spinach leaves (or any combination of mild greens)
1 T chopped mint leaves
Ice and extra water to get your desired temperature and consistency.”
You can see how simple the instructions are. It is a smoothie after all. I left off the introductory paragraph, which is primarily featured in the earlier recipes and talks more about the ingredients, and skipped right to the actual recipe. The ingredients introduction is nice and makes it more conversational, but it is a smoothie after all. You just put in the general ingredients to fit your tastes and away you go, and most of the recipes utilize this simpler style I chose here.
I used coconut water for the base of my smoothie, and my mango had kind of defrosted by the time I got home from the grocery store. I also didn’t have spinach, but I did have swiss chard from my CSA, which was listed as a mild green in the cookbook, so I subbed those in. When I took the first taste, it felt too strong and not smoothie-like enough to me. So I read over the section on how to fix your smoothie and noticed that Raiz states that the temperature of the smoothie affects the taste. Perhaps my mango being defrosted mattered? So I added in ice, blended again, and voila! An incredibly delicious green smoothie! It was, admittedly, a bit less well-blended than I would have preferred, but I was well aware that was the fault of my food processor, not the recipe.
So what’s the verdict? Well, I got so excited about green smoothies after this cookbook that my partner got me a blender for my birthday (using the recommendations in Raiz’s book to help him choose which one). So I’d call it a success! The recipes are easy, adaptable, and Raiz arms you with troubleshooting techniques to help you learn to get it right. The beginning of the book needs more focus, organization, and clarity to help Raiz’s true expertise and talent shine through but if you want to start incorporating green smoothies into your life, this book is a great place to start. It both explains greens and green smoothies and blenders AND gives you a bunch of adaptable, easy recipes to get going.
4 out of 5 stars