Righteous Smoothie, and How to Do the Pumpkin Part

This is my favorite Righteous Smoothie right now. Start with:

  • 4 T. (1/4 cup) rolled oats
  • 2 T. flax seeds or flax seed meal
  • something like half a T. of sugar

Use the blender to blend those into flour (10 seconds or so). Then add:

  • some nasty bitter expensive 100% cranberry juice, about 1/2 cup
  • some milk, about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup 
  • a big firm handful of raw spinach, and then another big firm 4-fingered pinch of it

You can use a different juice; it’s good with orange juice, too. I like to use the bitter cranberry because I’m supposed to drink it anyway as A Preventative, but it’s difficult to drink it straight. In the smoothie, it adds a pleasing tartness. But it’s seriously $5/quart, so if you don’t need The Benefits, orange juice might be a better call. If you use a sweeter juice, you might not need sugar.

Blend. You might have to open the (NON-RUNNING) blender and shove the spinach floof down a couple of times. It goes from this:

to this:

Then add:

  • plain yogurt, about 1/3-1/2 cup
  • a frozen spoonful of pumpkin (see below)
  • half a banana
  • frozen peach segments, about 5 or 6 of them
  • frozen blueberries, about 2/3-3/4 cup

Blend like heck. If it seems resistant/thick, put in another couple of tablespoons of milk or juice.

The blueberries are what hide the spinach. You can see the change in this next picture: the top half of the blender is still splashed/coated with the spinach step, but the bottom half shows the color the smoothie has turned with the blueberries in it.

And, done! It’s not going to win a beauty contest even with that casual “Oh hi, I’m a zinnia” in the background, but it just looks like a smoothie, not like a SPINACH ALERT:

This makes an amount of smoothie known as “Gah, I don’t really want any more, but I don’t want to WASTE it.” (That’s a little over half of it in that cup there.) If Henry drinks a nice big cup of it, it’s just right. So….serves two, I guess.


The pumpkin thing started way back when I was pregnant with the twins and was trying to eat-eat-eat all the nutrition in the world. Yellow/orange fruits and vegetables was a difficult category to satisfy. So I looked for the easiest way to fulfill it, which looked like it was canned pumpkin: very dense in vitamin A. An ice cube’s worth or two in a smoothie was easy to incorporate.

And that’s what I still do now. When I make muffins, I use the big can of pumpkin, but I only need 2 cups of it; the can claims to hold more like 3.5 cups. After I measure 2 cups into the muffin batter, I scoop the remaining pumpkin onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper:

That’s a soup spoon in the picture, for scale. I made eight lumps of pumpkin with about 1.5 cups of pumpkin, so I guess that’s about 3 tablespoons per lump? But it seemed more like 2 tablespoons, and I’ve noticed that nutrition labels don’t seem real accurate with measurements. Each lump is about the size of a cookie, when flattened a bit with the spoon. (Edit: These were a bit much for the blender, as it turned out. They worked okay, but I’d make ten lumps next time, instead of eight. Or sixteen lumps, and use two per smoothie.)

Then the tray goes into the freezer:

After awhile, they’re frozen solid and can go into a baggie:

Then when you’re making a smoothie, plunk one in! They barely have any flavor, but have TONS of vitamin A! Which is good! For stuff! Allegedly!

16 thoughts on “Righteous Smoothie, and How to Do the Pumpkin Part

  1. Denise V.

    Nice tip with using the pumpkin. I currently do something very similar but am going to now add leftover pumpkin.

  2. Christy

    I’m glad that your freezer looks like mine: booze readily accessible. I might use the pumpkin trick since none of us likes squashy-stuff, but we do eat pumpkin muffins, especially this time of year.

  3. vanessa

    so. does the smoothie taste like spinach? because i never eat as much of that nonsense as i’m supposed to, and smoothies seem like they’d just have a spinach-y after taste…

  4. herself

    Detox I did once recommended ‘Cranwater’ – 8oz pure cranberry juice + 2 sachets of stevia (or sugar) + 56oz filtered water. Drink it throughout the day. I make it up all the time and love it.
    By the way Trader Joe’s cranberry juice is so much less expensive than other places.
    Oh and I always throw a bunch of spinach into my kid’s fruity smoothie – he has no idea it’s there.

  5. Swistle

    vanessa- I can’t taste the spinach at all. But I LIKE spinach, so I’m not a good judge. The kids don’t like spinach, though, and they don’t notice it in the smoothie.

  6. Anonymous

    Swistle I LOVE you pink mixer….I wish mine was pink. Also, glad to see your freezer is well stocked with booze!

  7. Swistle

    Anonymous- I sometimes wish I’d gone for the aqua or the apple green instead—but of course then I’d be wondering if I should have gone for the pink!

  8. Nicole

    Awesome! I love spinach smoothies, and I find that they will never, ever win beauty contests, but yet I feel so POPEYE STRONG AND SMUG when I have them!

  9. Heather

    I do the same thing with the leftover pumpkin from making muffins! My pumpkin smoothie is simpler but the pumpkin taste is pretty evident:
    1 banana
    1/2 apple (although today I used half a nectarine instead)
    1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
    1 blob of frozen pumpkin
    1 smaller blob of almond butter
    cinnamon and nutmeg

  10. Melissa Haworth

    I JUST pulled a batch of Swistle pumpkin muffins from the oven (for a Brownie meeting tonight). I was wondering what to do with the leftover pumpkin. now I know. I’ll be in the kids’ smoothies starting tomorrow!

  11. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    Favorite bits: “Allegedly!”

    “Oh hi, I’m a zinnia.”

    “This makes an amount of smoothie known as ‘Gah, I don’t really want any more, but I don’t want to WASTE it.'”

    I am very suspicious of smoothies that contain spinach/other greenery. Despite the claims that the taste disappears. Still suspicious.

  12. Brightondeering

    I need to try this recipe. I am addicted to smoothies.
    I recently discovered that flax seeds have a nut like flavor and are better incorporated into recipes, if ground in coffee grinder. Even ground, they still tend to adhere to sides of blender and glasses. But, I figure it is more likely my digestive system can break them down and make use of the nutritive values.
    Pumpkin – if you have cats or dogs, add a little bit of the pumpkin to their wet food.

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